ALumna OF THE MONTH -  september 2020

whitley williams-arthur, midwifery, 2018

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Whitley has a strong appetite to help people and found that midwifery was the best career option for her. A hands on role that gave her that do-good feeling of having helped and supported someone through one of their most important moments in life. Whitley mentions the support she received from LSBU when she was going through a personal tough time in the middle of her studies.

“I spent 10 weeks in Rwanda on a community-based mission trip, and It was during my trip I decided to study midwifery, not because the work I was doing was related to midwifery but because I knew I wanted to help people and felt being a midwife would give me the fulfilment and joy I wanted. I decided late in the year to study at LSBU, thankfully I just made the UCAS deadline, I think I sent my application in on the last possible day to send it. I was originally pursuing a career in psychology but realised I wanted to be hands-on in whatever role I did and as midwifery was half-practical and half-theory, I knew it was right for me.

There are a few lecturers I remember who helped and inspired me during my studies; my personal tutor Rosebel Ramason, she was so supportive. I went through bereavement in my second year with my Nan passing away, Rosebel was so understanding and I’m grateful for the support she gave me. Michelle Steptoe was really amazing, she helped me see the evidence that if I trusted myself I could do what I set out to do which boosted my confidence with practical examinations.

I felt close to the people I learned alongside, we were a tight-knit circle as our experience is different from those not studying non-medical courses as we spent half our time learning off-campus. Since LSBU isn’t a typical campus university the campus experience is a little different, but, I would always keep my eye open for any social activities going on at LSBU so I could meet new people.

Life was pretty busy for me during my studies. I was a carer for my Nan before she passed away and actively involved in my church community and youth groups. At church we would hold Friday meetings with young people and speak on current issues, we made it important to not shy away from difficult conversations like peer pressure, world issues, self-esteem, boundaries and anything young people wanted to talk about. I enjoyed helping run these groups.

Something I’m definitely grateful for is receiving the Lawrence Borough grant at the start of my studies which totalled £3000, equal to £1000 per year. It was specifically for BAME students and I was so grateful for it, it helped me a lot. Because my course was NHS funded and I didn’t apply for a maintenance loan as I didn’t want the debt so I used a lot of the grant for travel, travelling to placement was very pricey so this helped a lot.

I achieved a first degree but me being modest means I don’t like to brag, but my course was intense and I am very proud of myself for getting through it, it shows I can manage more than I think I can.
My placement was great but unfortunately, the trust I trained with didn’t have any jobs for us at the end of placement so I had to look elsewhere for a job which was upsetting. But, after graduating, I had five interviews and got two job offers and chose to work at Kings College Hospital, I’ve been there almost two years now, it’s a very busy place to work but I really enjoy it.

My mum has been the most influential relationship in my life because she is so giving and very caring, she serves people well and that’s where I get my compassion from and the heart to want to help people. My dad, who is so hardworking, I get my ‘keep going’ attitude from him. My uncle, who’s a head teacher in a secondary school inspires me with the work he does and is always a voice of reason. I have a great family who support and inspire me.

I have grown to realise that procrastination causes me stress, I don’t identify it straight away but when I do I have to motivate myself and give myself a sense of urgency. I’m a perfectionist and put high standards on myself which is good as you want to work to your best capability, but, you have to give yourself time to learn and grow and I am learning to give myself the space to develop, you need to follow your instinct.

I’m motivated by giving back, when I went Rwanda with the Tear Fund charity on the International Citizenship Service programme, the voluntary group worked through local churches and would give support to local communities. We would ask them what they wanted and needed and did lots of research so we could better support them and not just give them what we thought they needed based on our own cultural standards. We went from teaching English to helping look after chickens. I have a passion to help others and actively look for opportunities to put myself in situations where I’m helping and meeting new people.

The advice I would give to any LSBU student is always believe in yourself, stay hopeful, even when things don’t go to plan there is support for you, there is always a way to turn situations around and learn from tough times. I found LSBU so supportive, I got counselling with Mind through LSBU services, so seek the support you need.

Personally, I have a fear of failure which works against me but pushes me to work hard at the same time. I always reflect on my achievements and the goals I’ve achieved the things I’ve overcome despite the doubts and fears I allow myself to look back and be proud of how far I’ve come. Don’t neglect or ignore your achievements and the successes you’ve made because they keep you going."


We feature alumni each month who have had an interesting journey. To nominate someone email alumni@lsbu.ac.uk.

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