Aberdeen student Donna March had cause for an extra special celebration when she graduated from Robert Gordon University (RGU).
The former Kincorth Academy pupil turned 30 on Friday, December 13, the same day she graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing degree at Aberdeen Music Hall.
Donna, who studied Mental Health Nursing at RGU, is also planning her wedding after getting engaged to fiancé George in the New Year.
The Northfield resident is the first in her family to attend university and completed the ‘Access to Nursing’ programme at North East Scotland College to gain before progressing to the degree course.
Donna, who worked part-time throughout her studies, was also nominated for the School of Nursing and Midwifery’s annual Jennie Parry Prize Award which is given to graduates who have demonstrated academic and clinical excellence.
She said: “It’s a fantastic feeling to have graduated and it’s even more special to be able to do so on my 30th birthday. I’ve always wanted to be a nurse and it was always an ambition of mine to gain a degree so to be able to combine the two is a perfect mix.”
Donna worked as a carer for several years before beginning her studies at RGU where she worked with service users with mental health issues which encouraged her to pursue her studies. She has now gained full-time employment in a behavioural management unit in a mental health setting in Aberdeen.
She said: “It was nerve racking leaving full-time employment at the age of 25 to become a student again but I knew that it would be worthwhile and that the resulting opportunities would change my life for the better. I’ve always had a profound interest in mental health as it’s a complex subject with many theories and ethical issues to consider.
“Studying at RGU has taught me a number of new skills including effective time management and the ability to speak in public. The opportunity to work in groups also gave me the confidence to openly discuss my thoughts with others which is necessary for effective team working.”
After marking her time at RGU with a holiday to America, Donna is aiming for a long and successful career in nursing and hopes to gain as much as experience as possible, potentially with a view to going into teaching in order to pass on the support she received from her RGU lecturers.
She said: “I feel I can now go into my thirties with enthusiasm as I have plenty to look forward to in life and my career. Celebrating my graduation is a good way to mark the end of my twenties and I’ve very been lucky to have had a great support network at university including my teachers, fellow students as well as placement mentors and staff.
“My fiancé has also supported me every step of the way throughout the course. I’d like to thank them all as I don't think I would have come this far without them. Studying at RGU has been one of the best experiences of my life and one I would do all over again in a heartbeat.”
Communications Officer | Health and Sport