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Joanna's story

Joanna Mach
Mental Health Nursing student

Joanna Mach is a mature Mental Health Nursing student and you can read her story below.

My name is Joanna March, and I am a 2nd year Mental Health nursing student. After my degree I hope to study the MSc in Professional Nursing at Queen’s to hopefully become a perinatal mental health nurse in the future.

I am originally from Poland, and came to Northern Ireland when I was 16. I had just completed my GCSEs, and started working afterwards so I had no A-Levels. I had two kids during my Access course – one of which was a 9 month old - and I was also working full time, and doing the Access course in the evenings. Luckily my husband was a stay at home dad at the time, but it was still definitely a juggle, but it was doable.

The best bit was getting back to academics and studying after so long. It was also great getting to meet new people. I felt the Access course prepared me well for university. The intense workload helped me make the transition to university.

It was a struggle at times to find time to study. During my Access course I studied at night as I worked 9-5, and the Access course was 2 evenings a week. It was a challenge but it prepared me well for the academics and essays in university.

I came to Queen's because it is Queen’s! It has a great reputation and it is Queen’s. It is where I wanted to study. As it is based in Belfast that is easier for me too. Queen’s were very supportive [during the transition to university]. The help and support was amazing – I am still in touch with my first year personal tutor!

If you are thinking about doing it, I would say do it now, there is no later. It is a commitment, but it is doable. It was my dream to study at Queen’s and now I am. There is also so much support for students whose first language is not English. I was nervous about the first few assignments and the academic side of things. I contacted Learning Development Service (LDS) and they went through the first assignment with me and were lots of help.