Sometimes a challenge is exactly what you need!

backlit-bright-dawn-697243By Leanne Hall, an NTU Law Alumni

Like a lot of 18 year olds, I set off for my first year at NTU full of excitement, anxiety and apprehension about what I was about to experience. The first term passed in no time at all. I had a good set of flat mates, loved studying Law and had made some really good friends on my course. During the Christmas holidays I was diagnosed with glandular fever. I made sure I used the holidays to rest as I was eager to get back to university for the start of term. However, in the first week back, I discovered I had an undiagnosed ear infection and I was sent home on the Friday of the and was in hospital by the Sunday night. The infection had spread to the bones in my right ear and I also had an abscess in my neck. After an operation on both my neck and ear and a nine day stay in hospital I was ready to be discharged. But I was under strict instructions that I had to fully recover and have my stitches taken out before I could return to university. The healing process took a long time and in the end I was unable to return to NTU until the end of February. I spoke to the Head of the Law School who advised I may be better to stop the year and start again the following year, rather than take my exams and risk failing. It was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make. I had made so many good friends and I was worried about having to start again. I made the difficult decision to withdraw the year. I packed up my room, said goodbye to my flat mates and headed back home.
Fast forward to the following September and I went through the whole process again. I had new flat mates and new course friends, with the added bonus of still having my old friends around as well. I knew all the good places to go out and I absolutely loved freshers’ week/fortnight!
Initially I dreaded giving up the year and starting again but it was actually the best decision I could have made. I was so much more motivated after the break and determined to succeed; I wanted to show the Law School that they had made the right decision to let me back in and prove that I could do well. The whole experience taught me that challenges can be good for you. Sometimes hard decisions turn out to benefit you more than taking the easy option, and with hard work and determination you can achieve the results you want no matter what obstacles are thrown your way.
I graduated with a 2:1 degree in Law and have been working as a trade mark attorney for 10 years this year. 

The five things I took away from this experience were:
1. Take time to recover – if you don’t you will end up taking more time off in the long run.
2. Speak to friends and family – they are there to support you, both in the decision you make and also with how you’re coping. A problem shared is a problem halved!
3. Focus on the positives – it’s really easy to only see the negatives in a situation but there are nearly always positive things to take out of bad situations.
4. The university is there to help – they want the best for you so make sure you discuss your decision with the relevant people. They can help you reach that final decision and may be able to put provisions in place to help you with the rest of your degree.
5. Never give up – I strongly believe that determination is the key to succeeding and is also a very desirable attribute to employers.


For help and advice whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.
Support from NTU
Silvercloud: SilverCloud is our online system designed to help with a range of mental health issues.
Depression advice
Wellness in Mind: Advice and support for anyone in Nottingham experiencing issues with their mental wellbeing
Struggling at Uni? Go to Student Minds
10 Keys to happiness
This post is part of our regular NTU Alumni feature. Over the next few weeks we will be posting guest blogs written by our Alumni Fellows sharing their experiences and tips on their student journey while here at NTU.
If you are an NTU graduate and are interested in writing for us contact:
You can find more information about our Alumni Fellowship volunteering programme via the alumni website


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