Thirty-year-old Denise McNair came to study for a HNC in Social Services and leaves the College having received the Marston Citizenship Award for a Health, Wellbeing and Social Science student as a result of her work which benefited the college and wider community. Read more about Denise’s time Edinburgh College Experience.
How do you feel about being recognised at Graduation?
I was quite surprised to be told I had been put forward for a prize, I felt very grateful. It makes you feel your hard work didn’t go unnoticed.
What made you choose Edinburgh College for your studies?
Edinburgh College was familiar to me having studied there previously before, it is also very convenient for me travel-wise and offers a good choice of courses.
What were you doing before starting at the college?
Before starting my HNC social services i had taken a year out to focus on my children having completed my NC health and social care previously, along with two years of hairdressing before that.
What has been the best thing so far about studying at Edinburgh College? Any highlights?
Constantly building on your knowledge and learning. One of the best parts was my placement which I went on as part of my course. I loved being on placement and it just further reinforced how much I wanted to be doing that particularly as a career. I was very lucky to work alongside some really nice staff which made all the difference. The young people I had the pleasure of working with put a lot into perspective and they really make it all seem worthwhile. I was so sad to leave them. Placement let me see first-hand why the care services offered are completely paramount in being readily available.
If you could give one piece of advice to a student starting at the college now, what would it be?
If you’re struggling or don’t understand something ask for help, the college are there to support you, they want to see you do well. We don’t all walk in there knowing exactly what we are doing or there would be no point in being there, you never know everything and you never stop learning. Never think you are the only one possibly feeling the way you may be feeling about an assessment or deadline and so on, chances are the majority of your class is feeling the same way.
Have confidence in yourself even on the days you may lack it and make up for it on other days, most things are achievable with the right level of determination and effort even if it may not seem like it at the time.
What are your plans for the future? Are you going on to further study after college or into employment? What is your end goal?
I have been successful in securing myself a locum job as a residential care officer within children units across Edinburgh. This was a massive achievement to me as I hold a lot of this area of work close to my heart on a personal level.
In the future I would like to go on to university, possibly to study social work, but at the moment I’m eager to focus my attention on building on my experiences and knowledge in this area of work. It is a very rewarding position to be in where you can try help support or better a young person’s life at some of the most vulnerable times in their life.
Do you have any messages for the lecturers?
I think having a good lecturer makes all the difference and I was lucky to experience a lot of this, I have no idea how they do it year after year you can tell a lot of them are of course very passionate about the areas of knowledge the teach. The patience, guidance and understanding from the lecturers can go a long way in encouraging you in what you are doing.
Looking back, is there anything you would do differently?
Part of me may have not put so much pressure on myself, but in another way this is what pushed me through at times, I think I was my own worst critic. I gave up some things at the time in order to stay on track but it is important to find a balance and still try to find time to do stuff out with your studies.
Describe your Edinburgh College experience in three words.
Improved my life.