Few students have had to face the challenges that BSc (Hons) Mental Health Nursing Graduate Andrina Begg has endured to complete their degree.
The 49-year-old suffered a near-fatal brain aneurism in the final year of her course which led to her spending three weeks in hospital and having to take extra time to complete her studies.
Andrina, who has spent 30 years working in the care sector, decided she wanted to take her career to the next level and went on to enrol in her course at Abertay University.
Andrina had previously started a university access course in 1999 but left as she wanted to spend more time with her children.
She went on to complete an SVQ3 in 2016 at work, which allowed her to enrol on her course at Abertay University.
Andrina said: “At first coming back to full-time education after such a long time was a bit of a struggle.
“Although I had lots of skills from my experience in the healthcare sector, I didn’t have all the skills I needed to be able to take on the academic side of my degree.
“Luckily my lecturers were fantastic in supporting me to develop these skills to be able tackle the rest of course head on.”
Andrina progressed through the first three years of her course well and formed great relationships with her lecturers and staff in industry who guided her through placements as part of her course.
However, in her fourth year, Andrina was rushed to hospital after suffering from a ruptured brain aneurism causing a bleed on the brain, which had to be operated on to insert coils.
She said: “It was a really scary time. I was hospitalised for three weeks and don’t remember anything from the first week of being in there.
"Doctors weren’t sure for a while if I would survive, and my family were told to prepare for the worst.”
She added: “The covid-19 pandemic meant that I couldn’t see my family throughout the whole ordeal which was very upsetting when you’re so unwell.”
Andrina, who already had a grandson, was expecting the arrival of two new granddaughters when she fell ill.
She said: “both of my son’s partners were pregnant with my granddaughters at the time and both my sons were worried their daughters would have to grow up without their granny.
“It was then I knew I had to get better and finish my course. I wanted to be a positive role for them and show them they could do anything they put their minds to.”
Andrina needed at total of six months off from her studies to fully recover before returning to Abertay.
Lecturers and staff ensured Andrina got the support she needed and extra time to complete work and placements which allowed her to successfully finish her course.
She is now working as a nurse within NHS Tayside having secured a job before Graduation.
Andrina says: “I am on cloud nine now that I’ve finished university and started working as a nurse. I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved.
“If you’re considering going to university but you’re unsure my advice is to go for it. You’ll get all the support you need to succeed no matter what life throws at you.
“I wouldn’t be working in my dream role if I hadn’t taken the chance and enrolled in university.”