Hometown:  Prestonpans, Scotland

Year of Course:  1


About You

Tell us a little about yourself such as your hobbies/interests that are related or not related to your course of study

I am a father of four wonderful children! A lot of my spare time is spent watching them grow, learn and develop. However, I also volunteer some of my time to help out with community based projects such as Support from the Start, promoting improvements in the health and education for 0 - 8 year-olds, and the Dadswork charity which works with male parents and guardians to provide support, opportunities and trips to develop their skills and improve their time with the children under their care. My main project is the development of a community based parent cooking skills group within Prestonpans, working with other interested health promotion providers. This involves providing help and support in the practice of cooking family meals in a relaxed and enjoyable environment.

I also manage to squeeze in time for the gym, occasional fishing trips, hill walking and gardening. I do like to grow my own fruit and veg to help feed my family.

How did you come to choose this course and why QMU?

Throughout my career within the NHS, meeting student nurses over the years I was always interested in finding out their views on the universities in which their studies take place. Queen Margaret was always given a good reputation from their students and it gave me confidence that when I decided to apply for my chosen course of Dietetics that QMU was the university for me.

Why did you choose to study in Edinburgh/Scotland?

In some respects, the option of being close to home was a major consideration. However, the fact that Edinburgh is a fascinating and exciting town - with activities available from a night out in a safe and vibrant environment to a wonderful historical and dramatic engagement with Edinburgh and its dark history - is a major appeal to living and enjoying this great city.

Living Away from Home

I am lucky enough to be living at home with my family, and I commute into QMU each day. The options for me to commute into the university are vast, from the five-minute train journey (10 minutes from Edinburgh) to using the bus, cycling and occasionally the car. It is really easy to travel to university and the encouragement of being green in my commute allows me to ease my conscience in regards to my carbon foot print.

I prefer my cycle to QMU - I have improved my health, got my time down to 25 minutes for the five-mile journey, along a wonderful seaside route which includes a woodland countryside section and a river side final leg before I reach the university. QMU provide excellent shower, locker and changing facilities to encourage cyclists.

Life in Edinburgh – what’s the best experience you’ve had so far in Edinburgh? Are there any hidden ‘gems’ you’d like to share?

Edinburgh is bursting with potential. t there is something to interest everyone! Where I live in Prestonpans, East Lothian is a relaxed and enjoyable countryside environment, within a half hour journey in any direction you can go from beautiful sandy beaches, hidden ancient woodlands, castles and even Rapunzel’s tower (well that’s what I convinced my six-year-old daughter it was).

"For me, the highlight of my course so far has been the amazing support and encouragement from both staff and fellow students. I have learnt a lot about my own potential and abilities, surprising myself with how much I have enjoyed and coped with studies as a mature student."
Iain Scott

The Course

Did you attend an Open Day? If so was there any aspect of the University which made up your mind for you?

Attending the open days is vital to any place you wish to apply for!! When I attended QMU’s open day I was shown a wonderful modern university, that feels safe and comforting. The university offers both enough space to be able to work in peace, yet has a small community feel which encourages and supports your learning journey.

What’s been the highlight of the course so far? What have you learnt, or which particular activity has been the most interesting?

For me, the highlight of my course so far has been the amazing support and encouragement from both staff and fellow students. I have learnt a lot about my own potential and abilities, surprising myself with how much I have enjoyed and coped with studies as a mature student. It also amazes me the opportunities offered to students within QMU, which are abundant and if you are willing to embrace these opportunities, your experience and enjoyment of university life will be enhanced.

Any advice for students who might be interested in this course?

Dietetics is a specialised, healthcare professional course. It is essential to know what it is you are wishing to gain before applying for this course. Get some experience behind you, whether it is a shadow experience or voluntary knowing what a dietitian does in the working world, is key to applying and participating in this course!

As a mature student, however my advice is if you get on a course like this then guess what? You are good enough to be here and you deserve your chance to enjoy this learning opportunity.

Any future plans after graduation?

After graduation, I hope to become a qualified dietitian, working within the NHS. However, I don’t think I would plan on leaving QMU anytime soon! At this point in time I have the QMU Bug (his name is Bertie), What I mean to say, is I am enjoying university life and I would like to work towards becoming a lecturer in the future, sharing my experiences and this amazing knowledge I am gaining being here at QMU.

Life as a Student at QMU

Are you a member of a QMU club or society? If so, what was the reason behind your choice and what do you enjoy most about it?

Starting at QMU as a mature student, for a time I felt isolated, joining a society makes the transition into university a lot easier. Societies allow the social interactions between people with similar ideals and interests, after joining a society I feel more settled and comfortable within student life.

If like me, however, there is not a society that suits you! QMU’s Students’ Union make it really simple to begin your own society - this is what I decided to do after realising there was not a Dietetic society within the University. Well there is now: within my first year of becoming a QMU student, I set up a society for dietetics and now have over 38 members. I am happy and settled and frequently have the opportunity to speak with other Dietetic students from all levels, enhancing my learning journey and my day to day activities.

What’s your ‘top tip’ for making the most of being a student?

My top tip for being a student at QMU would be enjoy your learning journey, relax into university life and be proud in the fact you have been accepted into a wonderful and supportive university!


Story published 2016-2017