Tag Archives: University

Considering Calling Clearing? Why Wait?

By Mitch Gregory

Clearing. That dreaded word that every A-Level student shudders at the sound of, especially on Results Day. Clearing is so often associated with failure, rejection, and as a last resort; but how far from the truth that is!

I’ve been working in the University of Plymouth’s call centre for Clearing this year, and as a result I’ve seen would-be-students given another chance to go to University and study something they’re really passionate about, even when their A-Level results told them they couldn’t. The misconception that Clearing is for the desperate students who want to go to University and the desperate lower-tier Universities trying to fill their spaces is inaccurate. Throughout the Clearing process the University makes sure they’re filling their spaces with students who they see potential in, and similarly the student is just as critical and rigorous with their choice of University as they were in the first instance when they made their application on UCAS Track.

So how do you do it? Are you considering phoning up a University Clearing service in a change of heart bid to get into University, but unsure how or when or what to say? Let’s see if I can help.

When you phone up Clearing all you need are your grades and an idea of what course you’d like to study. Your helpful call-handler (who is probably a student at the university already!) will take some details from you and check that the course is available and you fit the entry requirements in some way. If that all goes smoothly then voila! You’re given an invitation to apply to the University via UCAS Track and hopefully, all being well, you’re accepted! Even if you don’t quite meet the requirements for your course – maybe you don’t have that elusive B in a science or your GCSEs were a bit lower than the University would like – they don’t give up on you just yet. You’ll probably be put through to an Academic from that course, or maybe through to another section of the admissions team for their consideration. They may take into account your work experience or offer you a Foundation course so that you can learn the basics before starting your BA/BSc/BEng. The absolute last resort is that the University has nothing available, but even then there’s always another University just down the road!

All I really wish to say is that CLEARING IS OKAY. If you’re going through, or considering going through, Clearing, it isn’t the end of the world. Instead it is the start of something that will probably change your life. I’m about to go into my third-year of University and although I didn’t go through Clearing, I know a lot of my friends did. When you’re all there studying together and having the time of your life, whether you went through Clearing or not is irrelevant.

Opinion: Are we living in our very own apocalypse?

By Lily Smith

As an English Literature student at Plymouth University I have the opportunity to read and study a wide variety of books and genres. We’re taught to analyse, look for the deeper meaning, examine the context. This year I’ve taken a module called ‘Apocalypse and the Modern World’ and enjoyed it so much it became a starting point for my dissertation.

Consequently, I’ve recently been reading a lot more apocalyptic texts, including Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. The novel is set in the apocalyptic setting of the Republic of Gilead. Fertility rates have plummeted ‘past the zero line of replacement’ and so-called Handmaids (fertile women) have been placed in the homes of those deemed worthy to reproduce. I cannot recommend this book highly enough; Atwood’s writing is sublime and the topic so interesting and scarily accurate in our ever-changing political climate. Atwood’s clever style of writing gives us glimpses into the laws and ways of Gilead in which abortion has been outlawed and those who go against authority are subjected to public punishments and shaming.

Is anything sounding familiar? I’m the first to admit I’m not exactly politically minded but I don’t think the recent US abortion ban has passed many of us by. Five American states including Alabama and Georgia have recently banned abortion to some degree; removing the right for a woman to make a decision about her own body. The abortion ban is based on pro-life arguments in which the “baby’s” right to life is considered before the circumstances of the pregnancy and the wants of the woman. This has of course sparked debate on at what point a fetus should be regarded as a human life and has resulted in various bans being more or less extreme than others. Alabama is seen as having one of the most extreme bans, with doctors who perform abortions facing possible charges of 99 years of imprisonment.

Abortion was made legal in most US states in 1973 (via Roe v. Wade), meaning that abortions rights in the US have been recognised for a noticeably short time period spanning less than 50 years. Human rights group Amnesty International conducted an independent poll and found that 73% of Americans support the right to obtain an abortion and therefore disagree with the ban. This sentiment can be witnessed by many people my own age via their social media platforms.

Such widespread disapproval leads to the question: how have these laws been passed? The Washington Post suggests that abortion bans have been spurred on by evangelical supporters (who made up a majority of Trump’s election votes) and the appointment of pro-life judges. Much of Atwood’s novel hints at a religious precedent leading to its apocalyptic setting, which scarily mirrors debates within the US. Are we, therefore, living in our very own apocalypse? An apocalypse shaped by the political climate and shifts in those in positions of power and decisions.

Perhaps more importantly, we should be asking what we can do to help. Abortion is not just an issue debated in the US but discussions are taking place closer to home in Northern Ireland and across the globe. Ultimately every woman should have the freedom to make a decision about her own body. By supporting groups such as Amnesty International and the Centre for Reproductive Rights we can create a conversation, be heard and demand a response.

You can find out more about these groups here:

https://reproductiverights.org/
https://www.amnesty.org/en/what-we-do/sexual-and-reproductive-rights/

The Life of a Cardiac Physiology Student

By Katie Stote

Imagine being an undergraduate student, in your second year at university, operating technology which is crucial to a live operation happening on a real patient. As a second year undergraduate Cardiac Physiology student, that is just one of Kayleigh Slocombe’s day to day responsibilities while on placement at Derriford Hospital. As a humanities student, I had never even heard of ‘cardiac physiology’ before meeting Kayleigh. When Kayleigh begun to tell me about her course, specifically her role on placement at Derriford Hospital, it quickly became clear to me that this undergraduate course deserved more recognition. To find out more about the life of a Cardiac Physiology student at the University of Plymouth, Kayleigh was kind enough to sit down with me for an interview.

“Being on placement in my first year was quite different to second-year. In the first year, the placement was a lot shorter than second-year, so the main thing I was doing was ECG’s (a test which measures the electrical measure of your heart to check it is working correctly) and shadowing. Now in second year, there is a lot more responsibility and one-on-one time with the hospital staff. My responsibilities this year include: making sure the defibrillators in the Cath Lab (where tests and procedures regarding the heart, arteries and veins are conducted) are working, ensuring the emergency trolley is all stocked, including emergency temporary pacing boxes (so that if a patient’s heart stops beating we can put in a temporary pace maker), and I also make up pressure bags which are used to take pressure from inside the blood vessels and heart.”

“When the patient comes in, I put an ECG on them and a SATS probe to check their oxygen saturations. Throughout the procedure in the Cath Lab, I’ll be watching the screens, making sure nothing is going wrong, noting all the medications and equipment used, whilst one of the qualified cardiac physiologists observes me. Outside of this, we also lead a variety of other procedures to test heart physiology and function. These include equipping patients with monitors, which are like ECG’s but will stay on the patient for 24 hours or a week. When the patient brings their monitor back, I analyse the data to then hand on to the doctor. I am also responsible for calling the emergency arrest number if the doctors are unable to get a patient out of a cardiac arrest, to get another team down to help with the patient”.

Despite the struggle of leading a very different lifestyle to her friends whilst attending her placement, Kayleigh has not let this stop her from making the most out of her experience. She has even decided to base her dissertation research on a live trial which is starting at Derriford Hospital in July, which could reshape the future of stent implantation by creating more effective and efficient treatments for patients with narrow arteries. Kayleigh explained, “What’s good is that this does need researching, so my research will actually be useful to the hospital. It’s a good feeling that with the everchanging services that the Derriford Cardiology Ward offers, even as a student I can be a part of that and potentially make a difference.”

Finally, Kayleigh told me what inspires her about her course and her future career: “I think my course is a hidden gem, because it is a really specialised, specific course but at the same time you have loads of different pathways and opportunities you can take after graduation; you aren’t just tied down to one career path. As science and technology is advancing, cardiac physiology can only grow. Our specialism is technology and diagnostics, so with all of these technological developments it is so exciting, we have no idea where this area could grow from here.”