Whitley Williams-Arthur, alumna, Midwifery, 2018
“I spent 10 weeks in Rwanda on a community-based mission trip, and it was during my trip I decided to study midwifery, not because the work I was doing was related to midwifery, but because I knew I wanted to help people. I felt being a midwife would give me the fulfilment and joy I was looking for. I decided later on in the year to study at LSBU - I only just made the UCAS deadline. I was originally pursuing a career in psychology, but realised I wanted to be hands-on in whatever role I chose, and once I discovered midwifery was half-practical and half-theory, I knew it was the right choice for me.
The right choice
There are a few lecturers who inspired me during my studies. My personal tutor, Rosebel Ramason, was so supportive. I went through a bereavement in my second year, and Rosebel was so understanding and I’m grateful for the support she gave me. Michelle Steptoe was amazing too - she helped me see by boosting my confidence in practical examinations, allowing me to trust my own skills.
I felt close to the people I learned alongside. We were a tight-knit circle, and our experience was different to those not studying non-medical courses being as we spent half our time learning off campus. Since LSBU isn’t a typical campus university the campus experience is a little different, but, I would always keep my eye open for any social activities going on at LSBU to meet new people.
Life was busy for me during my studies. I was a carer for my grandmother before she passed away, as well as being actively involved in my church community and youth groups. There I would help run groups exclusively for young people to speak on current issues and to discuss difficult conversations like peer pressure, world issues, self-esteem and personal boundaries.
Something I’m grateful for is receiving the Lawrence Borough grant of £3000 at the start of my studies. It was specifically for BAME students and it was a huge help for commuting and materials for my course.
I'm proud of achieving a first degree but I still like to be modest about it! My placement was great but the trust I trained with didn’t have any jobs at the end of placement, meaning I had to look elsewhere for a job. After graduating, I had five interviews and got two offers, and I chose to work at Kings College Hospital, I’ve been there amongst the busy rush for almost two years now - and I've enjoyed every moment.
My relationship with my mother has been the most influential in my life because of how caring she is. She serves people well and I think that’s where I get my want to be compassionate from. My dad, too - his hardworking attitude has given me a similar attitude. My uncle, a headteacher in a secondary school, is a source of constant inspiration.
I have grown to realise that procrastination causes me stress. I don’t always identify it straight away, but, when I do, I have to motivate myself and insist on a personal sense of urgency. You have to give yourself time to learn and grow, and I am learning to give myself the space to develop.
I’m motivated by giving back - when I went to Rwanda with the Tear Fund charity on the International Citizenship Service programme, the voluntary group worked throughout local churches and would give support to local communities. We researched what they needed and communicated with them directly so we could better support them, allowing us to offer the best help we could whilst being culturally sensitive.
Believing in yourself
The advice I would give to any LSBU student is to always believe in yourself. Even when things don’t go to plan, there is support for you, and often a way to turn situations around and to learn from tough times. I found LSBU greatly supportive - I got counselling from Mind through LSBU services, so don't be afraid to seek the support you need.
Personally, I sometimes have a fear of failure, but I try to reflect on my achievements and my goals, despite any doubts and fears I might have. Don’t neglect or ignore your achievements and the successes you’ve made because they keep you going.
We feature alumni each month who have had an interesting journey. To nominate someone email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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