Student Blog | My Student Journey

“Luckily, I have found my place at UHI and have learnt not all paths are straightforward”. Equine Business Management and Student Ambassador, Katie, shares her student journey to becoming part of our college and university community.

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Katie and her dog, Kai

“Hiya, I’m Katie. I am a second year Equine Business Management student, at UHI. If you told me 4 years ago, when I left school, that I would be studying at UHI I Thurso I would have laughed. While at school I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I planned to study nursing and travel the world. I would have been on the first flight to Canada or Australia if I had half the chance.

Luckily, I have found my place at UHI and have learnt not all paths are straightforward. It takes time to discover who you are and what you want. I am looking forward to sharing my story with you.

I started my UHI journey at 16, I studied a Foundation Apprenticeship (FA) in social care and healthcare, at UHI Moray College, in preparation for Nursing. The course was equivalent to an A-level (advanced higher). In my last year of school Covid hit, ending the final year much sooner. Grades came in and I was off to university in Glasgow to become a nurse.

Having had such an amazing time studying in previous years I had high expectations and couldn’t wait to start. Through the summer before Uni started the covid rules and regulations had loosened and I couldn’t wait to start. I moved down to Glasgow in mid-September, and we were in tier-3 lockdown by the end of the month.

It really went all downhill from there. All classes were online and there were no extracurriculars. I was also unlucky with bad roommates. By the time Christmas came around, I had moved out back home taking my classes from Aberdeen. Towards the end of Semester 2, we were finally given work placement back in Glasgow. I won’t dive too deeply into it now, but it was the deciding point that the course wasn’t for me. I dropped out before the end of the year. I worked for a year at a whole range of places before deciding to go back to university and do something completely different.

I’ve always been involved with horses from a young age, during lockdown and in my year off I volunteered at an animal sanctuary in Aberdeen, helping the volunteers with day-to-day chores in the yard. The sanctuary held 50 rescue horses and ponies, so there was plenty to do! I started to investigate universities that did equine-related courses and there were only 2 in Scotland. I had lived in the Highlands the year before and wanted to stay up here so decided to stay. I moved to Thurso so in 2022 to start at the UHI North, West and Hebrides campus at Dale Farm.

I have loved every minute of it! The college has loads of choices for modules to take. The business elements are taken from different colleges, and we often took classes with the Golf students in Dornoch. The equine modules are taken in Thurso from both in-person classes and online courses.

Comparing my 2 university experiences, were very different with very different scenarios, my first experience was through lockdown and was a terrible one, landing with bad roommates and a course that wasn’t for me then eventually led me to UHI. If I hadn’t had a bad experience in Glasgow, I wouldn’t have found UHI. The ability to choose where I am working from really works for me. In my first year I was based in Thurso, in my second year in Aberdeen and next year, I will be based in Inverness. If I was at any other university that wouldn’t be an option.

Now doing the course I have never been happier; I have the world’s best course!”

Find out more about how you could become a Student Ambassador for UHI North, West and Hebrides and be paid to share your story.

Find out more about studying Equine.