By Kim Law
A young single mum walked out of her exams two months ago, ready to quit university and give up on her dream of becoming a nurse.
Melissa Huntington, aged 28, started studying Adult Nursing at Hull university last September, after gaining inspiration from personal experiences with her daughter.
Ella Rose, who has a mobility disability, is the drive behind her Mum’s dream. The nurses who look after Ella throughout her regular visits to hospital, inspired Melissa to start university, as she wanted to help other disabled children.
Succeeding is important to Melissa, but when she walked out of her exams 45 minutes early, she knew she had failed.
The University encouraged her to re-sit them in January, which she did but left feeling adamant she had failed again.
However, after passing all of them she is now on her way to completing her degree, achieving her dreams and providing for Ella Rose.
Melissa, who lives in Goole, said: “The re-sit exams in January put me under a lot of pressure and I knew this was my last chance because if I failed them again I would be kicked off the course and my dreams would be ruined.”
Feeling the pressure of exams made Melissa feel like she had failed the re-sit exam before she even started it. Convinced that her dream career was over, Melissa got a new job in preparation for leaving University.
As Melissa moved on and made changes to her life, she almost forgot about results day as she thought it was all over.
Seven-year old Ella Rose and the rest of her family continued to support her, trying to make her think positive.
But Melissa was disheartened and ready to move on, expecting results day to confirm her expectations, that she had failed and her dream was over.
“Leading up to results day I kept having nightmares about the realisation of having to think of a different career path and my nursing dream coming to an end. I was 100% positive that my dream was over,” explains Melissa.
On the 24th February, results day finally arrived and Melissa got a big shock when she found out she had passed her exams!
“I did not tell anyone when results day was, so when I called my family to share the good news they were all shocked but over the moon!” said Melissa.
In the past few weeks Melissa has got back on track with her University work and has been celebrating her surprise results.
Studying and the pressure of being a student is just one part of Melissa’s life. Behind the student nurse is a young single mum of seven-year old Ella, who is her priority in life.
Ella Rose was born with many health problems, including a disability in her feet which has effected both their lives constantly.
Melissa said Ella Rose inspired her to become a nurse and is really supportive of her studies.
Setting an example of ‘chasing your dreams’ to her daughter is important to Melissa, but originally she was concerned how her studying would affect and change her relationship with Ella.
“My daughter is my world, above everything else. University and all other aspects of my life come second to Ella,” she said.
Trying to balance University life with parenting was a struggle for Melissa at first, but after the first year her and Ella had settled into a routine. Their relationship has not suffered as Melissa studies when Ella goes to bed, so it does not affect their time together.
Now that Melissa is half way through her degree, she has settled into a routine and feels like her dreams are possible.
Despite the recent pressures and worries, these results have provided Melissa with the encouragement she needed to boost her confidence.
“I feel like everything is getting back on track now, I’m focusing on my career and most importantly my role as a mother. I hope i have a long successful nursing career ahead of me which can provide for Ella as she grows up,” says Melissa.
Ella Rose is very proud of her mum, and described Melissa as ‘wonderful and fabulous’.
When asked what advice she would give to anyone trying to balance been a parent and a student, Melissa said: “Anything is possible, just because you’re a single parent should not stop you achieving your dreams. It sets a good example to your child and will benefit their future.”
Do you know any inspiring women who balance different aspects of their life well? Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below…