Amy Woolley, BSc (Hons) Human Nutrition
Personal circumstances led Amy to rethink her career; now she's found something she's truly passionate about and looking forward to a rewarding role as a dietitian
LSBU students join us with all kinds of motivations for studying their chosen degrees. Amy Woolley’s reasons for wanting to study BSc (Hons) Human Nutrition are very close to her heart indeed.
“I was diagnosed with a chronic medical condition which affects my ability to absorb nutrients, and has resulted in me spending months in hospital in order to stabilise my health,” she explains. “During those hospital stays, I was exposed to the work of a wide range of medical professionals, including dietitians. I’d often find myself talking to them not about myself, but about other conditions and the importance of diet. It was something of a light bulb moment when I realised I was in the wrong career.”
Amy, who was working as a beauty therapist at the time, decided it was time for a career change and has never looked back since. “I just had this driving passion to want to help other people facing situations like mine that were beyond their control,” she says. “I studied an access course, and gave it my all to make sure I got the grades I needed to reach the university degree I was dreaming of.”
With her qualifications under her belt, Amy attended one of our Open Days, and was impressed by what she found. “Seeing the different buildings and the time and money that LSBU was investing was influential,” she recalls. “The facilities are excellent, and the central London location is fantastic too, with excellent transport links."
The fact that the course is accredited by the Association for Nutrition was another big plus for me, as it helps if you want to pursue a career as a registered nutritionist.
Amy secured a scholarship through the National Scholarship Programme, but still felt a little nervous about returning to education after a few years out. “I needn’t have worried,” she says looking back, “because the lecturers were very supportive. In particular, Dr Adam Cunliffe, the course director, has been a big help to me. He pushes you to reach your full potential and motivates you to do your best – and he’s always there if you need help and support.”
In a competitive employment market, Amy’s course has allowed her to gain some work experience as part of her studies. “I was encouraged to approach NHS hospitals by my lecturers, and the work experience I completed at Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust really enhanced my knowledge and my confidence,” she says. “You learn so much being on work placement – two patients may have the same disease but not two circumstances are the same. I’m hoping my experience will help me with my intention to study dietics at postgraduate level.”
When it comes to her future career, Amy is in no doubt that she is in the right place to fulfil her ambition of becoming a dietitian, and is looking forward to making a real difference. “People under-estimate how important diet is closely related to their health,” she says. “Up to 70 percent of cancers are attributed to diet, and we are living in a world where there are fast food outlets on every corner. They are selling foods high in carbohydrates and the wrong fats, so it is no wonder that children and many adults are developing type two diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity and cardiovascular disease. I am interested in obesity in children who I think we can help whilst they are still young, so potentially a role as a paediatric dietitian in obesity or a gastroenterology dietitian within the adult population would really suit me."
If people just looked at their diet and changed it, even slightly, they would be in a better position to help themselves.
Anything is possible
Amy feels that the combination of the committed academic staff, scholarship and the prospect of becoming a dietitian has inspired her to put her all into her studies. “It’s encouraged me to apply maximum effort to every piece of work I produce,” she says. “If the University believes I can do it, then I believe I can do it. If you want something, it won’t come to you – you have to work hard to prove that anything is possible.”
Read more about studying BSc (Hons) Human Nutrition.