Nicola McMaster left GCU in 2014 after her first year studying International Business. She then found her way back five years later as a direct entrant to the Business Management programme – with an HND and a new found confidence behind her.
Now in her final year, Nicola wants to share her story and encourage others to make themselves a priority while studying.
“Initially, I really wanted to do International Business and basically the grades I had from school matched up to the grades needed to get into GCU. When I first came, I didn’t really have the confidence. You go from the school system, where everything has a structure, and then you get to University and it’s all independent learning.
In all honesty, I didn’t have the confidence to talk to lecturers and ask for help – It definitely was too much at that point for me. I struggled with mental health issues and I just felt swamped at times. I started failing and didn’t know how to bring it back, so I ended up dropping out.”
After leaving University, Nicola spent the next few years working in a number of different jobs before deciding to give higher education one more shot:
“I decided I would go down the route of eventually becoming an administration assistant and went to study an HND at Ayrshire College in 2017.
When I finished, the teaching staff really encouraged me to go to University because of my grades. Hearing that they had that belief in me really gave me a confidence boost, so I applied to GCU and here we are!”
Nicola has now thrown herself into the whole University experience, despite the challenges of a pandemic over the last year.
“[…]I know a lot of people aren’t keen on online learning but I’ve actually really enjoyed it. What I would say is that I don’t miss the travelling at all! I can just get up and I’m lucky that I’ve got space to work at home and the opportunity to concentrate.”
Nicola is also very thankful for the support shown to her by family members and her personal tutor, Dr Julie Thomson.
“Without Julie’s support I wouldn’t have felt as comfortable being back at GCU – she’s so funny and down to earth. It’s amazing that she manages to be your personal tutor but also someone you can have that all important connection with. You can literally talk to her about anything, which is really good.”
With her time at GCU coming to an end, Nicola doesn’t regret any decision she’s made in her educational journey and even had a word of advice for anyone else who finds themselves struggling.
“I left originally because of mental health and I think I would tell anyone who’s struggling to simply do what’s best for them. If dropping out is the best option for you, then that might be the decision you have to take. You can always defer a year and GCU is a really welcoming place – I’m sure they’d have you back!”
Story from Student Newsroom
GCU – BA (Hons) Business Management Info:
- Year 1
Scottish Higher: Standard entry requirement: ABBBB (incl English) or another essay-based subject (History or Modern Studies) Nat 5:C (Maths)
A level: BCC GCSE: C/4 (Maths and English)
- Year 3
College HND: Business/Administration and IT/Retail Management/business-related HND – graded units AB/ABB
Help GCU Foundation raise funds for
Scotland’s Virtual Kiltwalk!
Walk, run or just have fun: take part in the Kiltwalk and support the Common Good Campaign
Scotland’s Virtual Kiltwalk will take place from April 23 to 25. The GCU Foundation is now calling on the GCU community, who are able to, to join them and get involved in the Kiltwalk and raise funds for the Common Good Campaign, providing much-needed assistance to students most harshly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can take part in a Kiltwalk-inspired challenge; be it a sponsored walk, cycle or something fun such as a dancing marathon, baking competition or a family scavenger hunt. The choice is yours!
Every penny raised will support the Common Good Campaign, with funds being directed to student mental health and wellbeing services, enhancing employability through match-funded internships and alleviating financial hardship for our students most in need. Thanks to incredible support from the Hunter Foundation, all funds raised will be topped up with a 50% bonus.
Feel free to contact us by email: UKROenquiries@gcu.ac.uk
or by following our GCU Journeys accounts via the links below: