Cara
16 June 2022

#ECPrizeGiving - College helps Cara change career direction

Following the pandemic, Route to Health Professions student Cara McLeod wanted to leave the corporate world behind and come to College to change career direction so she could help make an impact in the mental health sector, and has now been awarded the Route to Health Professions Award at our annual Prize Giving ceremony for all her hard work.

We caught up with the twenty-three-year-old to find out more about her experience at College and what she has planned for the future:

“I was honoured and emotional when I found out I was being recognised at Prize Giving. I’ve put my heart and soul into my time at Edinburgh College, and to have that recognised makes me feel seen and validated for my efforts in my work and studies.

"I’m from Edinburgh and had a stint studying at Edinburgh College when I was 16, so I was familiar with the standard kept by the College. They offered all the opportunities to obtain the qualifications I needed to reach the next stages in my academic goals.

"I was a digital marketer down in London. I spent four years working on my career in corporate, and then the pandemic hit. My goals realigned as I realised I didn’t feel fulfilled in my 9-5 role. I wanted to aid action for change within the mental health sector.

"Learning has been the highlight of my time at College. I’ve always enjoyed expanding my understanding of new topics and found I could sink my teeth into my course. Especially the Psychology module.

"To say the whole becoming a mature student has been an easy ride would be a lie. I’ve struggled immensely with self-doubt at times and trying to achieve perfection. I’ve been frustrated and disappointed at times, but overcoming those feelings has made me better at self-assurance. Indeed, the pandemic hasn’t helped and has heightened my fears for the future, but knowing we’re out the other side (nearly) has ignited my desire to continue to work for my future.

"If I have any words of advice for a student starting now it would be to just get the work done! I’ve been there and done it: procrastination. There’s a theory that motivation for work is found so that you can start the work when really motivation is triggered once you start the work. It sounds like the ‘same ole story’, but a little bit every day is better than none. I surprised myself at times by how much I retained by reading, watching and writing a little bit here and there.

"To all of my lectures, you’re terrific. Thank you for standing by for all my ‘I’m just curious’ questions. You’ve made me appreciate the broader picture of learning and what it can do for your self-esteem. To Kelli Noble, Hollie Blanks and Rosin, thank you for providing words of affirmation when I’ve had those moments of self-doubt. And Callum Buchanan, we found some unusual ways to explain the biological process, but I’m sure I’ll forever retain how to remember HDL and LDL via the mining analogy.

"I start my mental health nursing degree in September and my primary goal for the future is to work towards being a child developmental psychologist. I feel early intervention and education are the best hope for preventing disordered mental health.

"Looking back, there’s nothing I’d do differently other than to trust the process. I’d have more confidence that I know what I know and that it takes time to understand a concept fully. Before you know something, you have to read x3, write x3 and speak x3. It takes time, but the certainty I felt sitting my exams made it worth it.

"Grades don’t define your value, but they did boost my self-esteem when I was told I’d obtain a high percentile A in my higher Care prelim. It came during a tough week in my personal life, so knowing I pulled it out of the bag certainly boosted my confidence.

"My College experience has been exciting, stimulating, and encouraging.”

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