Daniel Hunter, Level 5 Health and Social Care
Throughout the pandemic, we have been gathering stories from our students about their college experience in what has been a time like no other.
Level 5 Health and Social Care student, Daniel Hunter tells us in his own words how he coped with balancing studying, life at home and a new addition to the family!
My Name is Daniel Hunter I am 28 and I am currently studying Level 5 Health and Social Care. I am a carer for my partner and I have two children aged 4 and a new born baby who is 7 weeks old.
When I was younger I had a real passion for computing and I loved it, I thought that would be my dream career, but it became too familiar and I started to become bored.
In my twenties I worked in warehousing. I was there for six years, but on my 27th Birthday I decided that I wanted to do something completely different with my life.
I wanted a career that would actually make a difference, so I applied to West Lothian College to do a course in Health and Social Care.
What surprised me was the amount of support on offer for carers. I received a message from support for learning offering me extra help and support right from the start.
I was advised if I needed time off due to my caring responsibilities I would be supported with that too and I was given Carers of West Lothian details for additional assistance for me and my family.
I started college in October 2020. The first lock down was over and I certainly didn’t think we would be heading towards another.
The term started as normal and I was attending college three days a week. My partner and my mum looked after my four year old son. He was in nursery until 12.30, so it wasn’t too bad.
Then the second lockdown hit.
In many ways, the second lockdown actually helped me. I was able to be in the house full time, I didn’t have to travel to college and the college day was shorter. Our lecturers were giving the class work, which I could complete when the children were in bed, which made my life so much easier. It wasn’t a 9-5 slog. As a result, I am now actually ahead in my work.
This made being a carer so much easier although I don’t look at myself as a carer, I just look at it as my responsibility to help someone I love.
My partners support networks were also cut off due to the pandemic, which added pressure on me.
In addition, she was pregnant with our second child, who was born 7 weeks ago, a beautiful healthy baby boy.
I was able to complete all of my work online and only missed one class on the day my son was born, it was so flexible. Working online was fantastic and I was able to be on call anytime.
I have a PC which helped. I am also outgoing so that also really helped, but I could see that some quieter students were struggling and didn’t get involved much. I think they found it harder to develop relationships online.
But for me and my circumstances, online was great. I am now ahead of my course work and achieving my units.
I also applied to work with the Student Association and became an Ambassador. This role has been fantastic.
We meet as a team online, once a week, to discuss college matters and represent the student voice. I have been involved in creating a social space for students, health and wellbeing campaigns and listening to student experiences and supporting them.
Looking forward,I have applied for level 6 NC Health Care Clinical Support Work course and have received a conditional offer. I want to be a pupil support worker when I am qualified.
I think having a flexible approach to learning offers so much support.
Looking at student needs and varying circumstances gives students from a variety of backgrounds the ability to return to study and change their career.
If you are returning to study after taking a break or want a career change, please don’t let being a carer or having children be a barrier to changing your life. There is so much help and support available.