When Sara Corbin missed out on her University Entrance by three credits, it was the first time she had experienced failure. But rather than wallow in self pity and disappointment she tackled the challenge head-on and through a Gateway course found her true path in life.
Sara Corbin loves a challenge. In 2010, as a Year 13 student at Southland Girls’ High School, she deliberately chose difficult subjects, as she weighed up her options of a career in one of three areas: the arts, psychology or law.
But her plans to go to university came crashing down when the criteria to get in, changed midway through the year. “I was aiming for merits and it wasn’t going to be enough because I hadn’t prioritised my internal assessments.”
So when her results came through and Sara was three credits shy of UE, she found herself in unfamiliar territory – she had failed to achieve her goal. With that came a rethink of her plans for the future and she soon determined that, with a strong family background in nursing, she would remain living at home, in Riverton, and study at SIT.
But she immediately hit another barrier. “To do the nursing degree, I had to have University Entrance. At the interview I was told I needed to go back to school – and so I did.”
In fact, Sara gave herself a completely fresh start and enrolled as a Year 14 student at James Hargest College, in Invercargill, in 2011. She was offered the chance to do a Gateway course in nursing and immediately seized the opportunity.
“Once a week, for a whole day, I got to work alongside medical staff at Gore Hospital.” She was buddied up with a registered nurse each time and got to do general observations, take blood pressures and talk to doctors.
As part of the course she also did a laboratory paper - the highlight being a tour of the histology area at Southland Hospital – and she had work experience at Rowena Jackson resthome. “There I was buddied with enrolled nurses and care assistants and I learnt about the relationships in a multi-disciplinary team.”
Finding herself increasingly passionate and motivated about a nursing career, Sara flew through Year 14 and passed her University Entrance. She applied for – and was accepted into – the Bachelor of Nursing at SIT, in 2012.
Now in her second year, Sara is adamant that her failure to get UE the first time round was the best thing that every happened to her. “A nursing degree is an amazing qualification.
“Yes, it’s hard work and a big work load, but it’s worth it.”
And with her Gateway experience behind her, Sara has been able to pick up a paid weekend job as a health care assistant at the Longwood resthome, in Riverton.
“I’d recommend Gateway to anyone. It gave me the chance to test out my career choice. Now, here I am, studying to be a nurse under the Zero Fees scheme and working part-time. I should graduate with no student loan and no debt.
“And, along the way, I’ve learned how to turn failure and disappointment into something positive.”
Great attitude, Sara. You deserve every success!