Studied: Level 3 Diploma in Applied Science
Progression: Optometry degree at Aston University
Anyone with weak eyesight knows how good it feels to put new glasses on. Watching people of all ages experience these emotions, inspired Fiza Ahmed to support the eye health of others.
“I love doctor-patient relationship and the good things that come from it,” said Fiza.
So when the A Levels she studied at sixth form left her with a UCAS points shortfall, Fiza was determined this setback would not end her dreams.
She was right not to give up. 12 months on, Fiza is off to university after achieving a D*.
“I’m grateful to my college lecturers for supporting my ambitions,” said Fiza. “From the moment I came here, I got to talk about my goals and was listened to. I always had good advice from everyone. My lecturers were also pushing me to keep going if I ever lacked doubt and needed a boost.”
Fiza realised her one-year BTEC course was the ideal way to increase her UCAS points; especially as it would also give her further skills and experience to support her degree.
This is in addition to the voluntary work she has been carrying out on the optometry ward at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Here Fiza carries out admin duties and has even sat in on patient consultations, learning more about conditions such as cataracts and glaucoma.
Nevertheless, nothing quite prepared Fiza for college life.
“College was less formal than the grammar school experience I was used to. It took me a few weeks to adapt,” said Fiza.
“It turned out that the content for A Levels and the Applied Science course are quite similar.
Naturally A Levels are more exam based and you explore topics in more depth.
“With the BTEC course, there is less copying things off a whiteboard and more being able to see things for yourself through all the extra practicals.
“Having more regular coursework deadlines to meet was also something different. But once I understood what to do, things were fine.”
Fiza will complete a one-year pre-reg optometry placement after her BSc. She can then practice, either independently or within an optician environment.