Clearing stories: Laura

Autumnal trees next to an LJMU entrance

During my school years, I suffered with numerous mental illnesses, predominantly depression. Throughout my A Level study, this became very severe, and thus I struggled with the workload and the immense pressure that I put on myself, leading to me resitting Year 13 and my A2 exams. 

Although I had lived in Liverpool my whole life, I’d never really considered going to a university in the city: my first, “firm” choice was the University of Leicester, with my insurance Coventry. On results day, I actually received a place at both of these Universities, but in a panic I asked to be released into Clearing: I was suddenly very scared of leaving everything and everyone I knew, especially the psychiatrist and nurses I was receiving weekly care from. The idea of being on another waiting list, and explaining the way I felt all over again to a stranger absolutely terrified me, for I was starting to see progress with the treatment I was receiving.

As soon as I made the (rather hasty) decision to not leave Liverpool, I called LJMU, before I’d even requested being released into Clearing. I was worried that if I waited then any places they may have had left on the course would have been taken. Speaking to someone over the phone had always been a fairly nerve-wracking experience for me, but I found the Clearing hotline very helpful: within minutes they had offered me a place on the course, and the woman I spoke to on the phone was wonderful, understanding my worries and congratulating me on the grades I had achieved.

Suffering from severe depression obviously caused a lot of fear, and I was worried that it wasn’t just leaving Liverpool that I feared, but starting university in general. I don’t really feel that I had a specific way of dealing with this fear, but just settling into university, speaking to my personal tutor about my worries, and focusing on enjoying the course really helped.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Be proud of yourself and your accomplishments without comparing them to others. Your best is always enough, and holding out for perfection just leads to unhappiness.

LJMU was definitely the right choice for me; I cannot put into words how much I have enjoyed my time here. 

I’ve grown so much, and developed a confidence that I would not have if not for coming here. I am liking the content of my course massively, and find the help offered by my lecturers amazing. If I'd done anything differently it would have been applying to LJMU in the first place, even if it was just as my insurance choice.

It’s very hard to choose just one thing I love about LJMU, but I would definitely say the willingness of the lecturers and teaching staff to help you no matter how little your problem might seem.

Laura ThurgoodLaura's Top 3 Tips for Clearing:

1. You are not any less deserving of your place just because it wasn’t your original plan

2. You’re allowed to change your mind

3. There are always options, and what may seem like a last resort might lead to an amazing change in your life

For more information about student support at LJMU get in touch with the Student Advice and Wellbeing Team.

Looking for a Clearing place at Liverpool John Moores University? Check our Clearing courses for the latest opportunities.


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