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“I’ve been given a second chance to live my life”

A person writing a letter

Over the summer, we received a letter from one of our students. A letter about the power of education, the power of generosity, the power to change lives. We wanted to share this letter with you, to share the amazing difference that you, our alumni community, are making to the lives of our students. This is Rachel’s story. 

“My life has been turned around since starting at Nottingham”

I’ve just completed my first year as an undergraduate student here at Nottingham. I’m studying biochemistry – and it’s thanks to the scholarship I’ve received from Nottingham that this has been possible.

In order to understand how truly significant the scholarship I have received has been, I’d like to tell you a bit about myself. While I was in year 11 at school studying for my GSCEs my first child, a son, was born. My daughter followed a year later. As you can imagine, it wasn’t easy being a mother of two children at 16. 

At the age of 15, I was placed into foster care with my son due to difficulties at home and a lack of support. After my daughter was born when I was 16 however, I was given the opportunity to prove that I could live independently and support myself and my children when I was placed into a mother and baby unit. At age 17, I was able to rent a council home for my children and I, and our home life became much more stable. Despite the difficult circumstances I faced, I believed it was extremely important to carry on my education. With this in mind, I ventured back into education to complete my A levels and after studying for three years, I achieved AAB grades and secured a place at Nottingham. 


“It’s exceeded all of my expectations”

The University was always my priority choice because of its locality. But since I’ve started here, it’s exceeded all of my expectations regarding University life. The academic environment that Nottingham creates has enthused me further to fulfil my education and achieve something with my life that I, and my children, will be proud of. Studying biochemistry here has been a life changing experience. I have developed academically and personally, and being taught by researchers at the forefront of their fields is truly inspiring. I absolutely love my course! Being at Nottingham feels as though as I have been given a second chance to live my life and become a positive role model for my children. 

The scholarship has enormously helped me throughout this first year. I’ve been able to purchase a laptop, which has made it so much easier for me to study and gain access to the University student portal and the scientific information I need for my course. Although this might seem quite basic, without the scholarship I wouldn’t have access to a computer at home. It would have been very difficult for me to keep up with my lectures when my children have been off school due to illness for example. 

The scholarship has also had a big impact on our quality of life. Being at University has given me the confidence to take part in activities outside of my course, and having this extra income has meant that the time my children and I spend outside of school and University has been quality time together. For example, my son and I attend kickboxing classes together. As he’s currently being assessed for autism, taking part in extracurricular activities over the past year has really helped him to gain in confidence when interacting with other people.  


“My life is moving in a positive direction”

The generous support that has been given to me by your donors has been truly amazing. I feel that my life has been turned around since starting University and is moving in a positive direction. I am deeply grateful for this, and stress that my scholarship has had a significant positive impact not only for me but also my children. I am sure that there are only good things to come over the next few years of studying at Nottingham! Thank you so much. 



Alumni Relations

Portland Building
The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0)115 823 2408
fax: +44 (0)115 951 3937