John Darlington, 25, from Kelso, graduated with a first class BSc (Hons) Podiatry from QMU in 2014. (Note, the course is now called Master of Podiatry, an integrated undergraduate degree - 2022/23)
He left high school in 2009 with few academic qualifications. However, through the encouragement and support he received at QMU, John gained qualifications that have now allowed him to enter a degree course in medicine.
John believes that this would not have been possible at many universities and feels lucky to have chosen QMU.
Why did you choose to study at QMU?
“I chose QMU for several reasons including the new purpose-built campus and facilities, as well as its location on the edge of Edinburgh, one of the world’s most beautiful cities.
“However, the main reason for my choice was perhaps less obvious. As someone who experienced a number of disturbances throughout my high school career, I lacked confidence in my ability to succeed in higher education.
“My concerns and anxieties about entering University level education were almost enough to put me off applying entirely. However, the staff at QMU were supportive and accommodating, often taking time to meet with me and talk things through – even coming up with strategies to smooth my transfer into education at University level.
“QMU staff looked beyond my immediate academic achievement and assessed more widely my abilities and potential. This was of vital importance for someone in my position, having until this stage underperformed academically due to a number of extenuating circumstances.
“Encouraging wider participation from those who might not perhaps have previously considered attending University is an area where QMU shows real strength through its welcoming, accommodating and confidence-building approach.”
Why did you choose to study Podiatry at QMU?
“I always wanted to do something in healthcare but was never quite sure what. After attending an open day at QMU and seeing the various healthcare degrees offered, I opted for podiatry.
“With its small class size, podiatry at QMU almost felt like you were being taught one-on-one, getting to know each lecturer well throughout the years of study. This was very important to me in terms of both gaining reassurance and helping to focus my studies.”
What were the highlights of the course for you?
“Patient contact started within the first couple of months of the first year. This may sound daunting but with the help and support of teaching staff it proved to be a lot of fun and introduced some essential clinical skills early on.”
Top tips for future students?
“For any prospective student interested in studying podiatry, I would highly recommend QMU. You will have access to first rate, modern facilities with patient contact and skills being taught from early on in the first year. The relatively small classes make learning more personal and interactive. Overall, you will have a great time whilst getting an excellent education.”
What were the benefits for living on the campus in your first year?
“During my first year I stayed in the Halls of Residence, which are situated right next to the University building. This made those 9am lectures so much easier to attend, as I could literally roll out of bed and be straight into class – helpful if you are a bit of a party animal!
“The proximity was not just useful for early mornings though: after classes, I was home before others had even got on their bus. This proved to be an advantage for getting work done early, leaving more time in the evenings for socialising.
“Lastly, being situated so close to the University library made accessing learning materials much easier.”
Did you enjoy living in Edinburgh?
“After first year, I rented accommodation in the city centre of Edinburgh with friends. With an excellent bus service going directly to the University and the train station on campus, getting to and from the city centre was no hassle.
“Living in Edinburgh really was a privilege – well recognised as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with its historic Old Town and modern west end, all overlooked by Arthur’s Seat, it is a truly stunning place, and an inspiring location for study.”
What has life been like after graduation?
“During my degree, I developed an increasing interest and enthusiasm for medical studies and was always encouraged in this by my lecturers.
“After graduation I went on to apply to medical school and am now studying medicine at Glasgow University. I’m not entirely sure which area of medicine I’d like to specialise in. medicine and neurology have both caught my attention. Having lived in Edinburgh, I know this is the place I would like to return to work as a doctor.
“The staff at QMU will support you every step of the way. You never know where you might end up – perhaps in places you never dreamed you would.”
"My concerns and anxieties about entering University level education were almost enough to put me off applying entirely. However, the staff at QMU were supportive and accommodating, often taking time to meet with me and talk things through – even coming up with strategies to smooth my transfer into education at University level."
[Story published in 2018]