When I was about 18 years old, I left my home country and came to the UK in search of myself. I felt that Barcelona, the place where I grew up, was becoming too small for me. The area I lived in was very rough, and I was in an environment that was dragging me down and preventing me from looking forward with hope. My family life was also strained, adding to my overall dissatisfaction. I felt down and wanted to find myself, so I decided to apply for a job that would allow me to travel and explore a new place.
I came across an advertisement in a newspaper that offered an opportunity to work and live in the UK. They provided language learning opportunities, weekly pay, and accommodation for a six-month period. Although I had to pay a fee to the agency, I decided to apply.
Upon arrival in the UK, I worked hard to improve my English skills. I enrolled in a local college to study English. Through that experience, I met new people who offered me different job opportunities, such as hospitality jobs, administrative work, and childminding.
After working for a few years, I found myself reflecting on what I wanted for my future. I got married and had four beautiful children. However, my marriage wasn't equal. I gave more than my ex-husband did, and trust issues and actions outside of our marriage caused deep pain. Despite being a mother, I felt like a single parent, taking care of everything on my own. However, I recognised the need to live for myself and be a role model for my children. I knew that I didn't want to spend my entire life without pursuing further education.
Looking back, I noticed that during difficult times, I found solace in giving back and helping others. It gave me a sense of fulfilment that money or personal achievements couldn't provide. I wanted to make a difference in people's lives and contribute to their well-being. It became a calling for me to work in the healthcare sector. The more I got involved, the more I became motivated to improve my knowledge and skills. Hence, I kept searching for opportunities to progress.
I came across the University of East London, which offered a short part-time course that allowed me to prove my Level 3 student status and transition to Level 4, starting my journey as a Nursing Associate and advancing to the BSc Adult Nursing degree the following year. Within just a month and a half of starting my Level 4 course, I was chosen among 160 students as the student representative. It shocked me because I thought there were younger students fresh from A-levels who would be better suited for the role. However, I took the responsibility and embraced it with dedication. I also had the opportunity to participate in selecting new lecturers for the university. As one of the chosen students, I listened to candidates' mini-lectures and provided feedback. Being involved in such decisions was an honour, and it made me feel appreciated.
This journey isn't just about my career; it's also about personal growth and setting an example for my children. I take my studies seriously, and I want them to see that and find inspiration in it. By pursuing my dreams and overcoming obstacles, I hope to show them that with determination and perseverance, anything is possible.
To those who may be facing their own challenges, I offer this advice: stay positive and persevere. Even if the long-term goal seems out of reach, focus on what you can do now. Take small steps, like improving your maths and English skills or volunteering in your field of interest. The key is to take it step by step, find your path, and never give up. Opportunities are out there, but you just have to search for them.