Reflecting on my time at Aston University, and more recently my final year placement, the words ‘confidence’ and ‘growth’ spring to mind.

My journey into Audiology was most definitely associated with a lack of confidence, as a studious 16-year-old with no idea of what path to take in life – only knowing that she wanted to make a positive impact on others.

Upon getting a glimpse of the world of Audiology after a mere two days of shadowing at a hospital department, I felt like I had found my calling. I ended both days feeling fulfilled and with my spirits lifted; so much so that my mum even commented on the beaming smile I had across my face once I got home.

My time at Aston can only be summarised as rewarding. The course itself had presented so much extensive knowledge and many opportunities to push me beyond my comfort zone. I often found myself getting involved, whether it was as a Student Representative or assisting with open days and giving advice to aspiring students. The team at Aston offer a plethora of networking opportunities that instil motivation and always circle back to what matters most; the patients and how we can strive to provide the best care possible.

Admittedly, at the beginning of my final year, I felt out of my depth having moved to a new city for my placement and unsure of what the year ahead could bring. When introducing myself to patients, I often felt the need to clarify that I was “just” a student in the fear that I wouldn’t be able to provide them with the level of care they deserved. Thankfully, those fears were quickly dispelled as I received a great deal of reassurance and support from patients and colleagues alike. Day by day I was developing my confidence whether it be competently performing clinical tests and fittings or actively communicating with patients to help them restore their confidence to enjoy their lives to the fullest, irrespective of impaired hearing. I often felt a sense of pride knowing my efforts were recognised, with patients cheering me on and wishing me well in my future career. Over time, the urge to introduce myself as “just” a student dwindled and was replaced by “student audiologist” as I became more self-assured in my abilities. This, however, was short-lived, as while I had expected my final year to come with its challenges, a global pandemic most certainly surpassed what I had in mind.

Before I knew it, my time on placement and at Aston University was over, and I was faced with sitting my final exams in front of my laptop screen. It’s safe to say everyone’s experience of lockdown was unique and yet there was comfort in knowing that all of us as students were in the same boat and having to adapt our techniques to navigate such a confusing time. Within that, Zoom calls became the new library sessions and baking turned out to be a surprisingly effective stress-buster.

After an exam season like no other, I can proudly say I graduated with a First Class degree and the Otometrics award for the Overall Highest Mark. I feel confident that, despite these uncertain times, the future holds great things for myself, my fellow students and the ever-evolving field of Audiology.