Redundancy was the best thing that happened to me
Swansea University Audiology student, Charlotte Legg of Swansea, graduated with Upper Second Class Honours today (Tuesday, 1st February 2011).
Prior to her degree, Charlotte worked for David Evans at House of Fraser in Swansea when the unfortunate news came that the store would be closing.
She said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my job, but unfortunately was told that the store would be closing and I would be made redundant. I had a choice to make; either look for a similar role or retrain as a mature student in the hope of making something of myself.”
Charlotte’s mother and one of her sisters need to wear two hearings aids and whilst at Singleton Hospital’s Audiology Department one day, they saw a poster advertising Audiology as a career through Swansea University.
Having mild hearing loss herself, Charlotte (pictured) became interested.
She said: “Having mild hearing loss throughout my childhood and also seeing the experiences of my mum and sister made something click in my mind - Charlotte Legg, an Audiologist. I didn’t hesitate to find out more information.
“I realised that I would have to take a course to refresh my science and maths skills and get back into essay writing and academic studies. I hoped it would increase my confidence and help me believe in my capabilities whilst also increase my chances of being accepted on the Audiology degree at Swansea University. I enrolled at Coleg Sir Gar and passed with flying colours. At this point I knew that being made redundant was the best thing that ever happened to me!”
Charlotte was accepted onto the Audiology degree at Swansea and was “over the moon”.
Audiologists identify and measure hearing and balance disorders to determine the extent and nature of their hearing loss or balance disorder. They also test, fit and adjust hearing aids and teach patients how to use them.
Students attend placements in hospitals across Wales as part of their training.
Charlotte said: “The placements were scary at first as I felt like I was starting a new job at every hospital. However, there was never any need to worry as everyone was so friendly. You were treated like a member of staff and would be encouraged to participate in conversations, take on appointments independently and create bonds.
“In my very first placement two months into the course, it occurred to my mentor that my hearing loss may not have been as mild as I thought. I was having great difficulty dictating his letter as I couldn’t see his face and I felt the embarrassment burning my cheeks. My mentor tested my hearing, and in doing so, discovered that I needed two hearing aids! I couldn’t help but cry when I heard the clarity in their voices and realised what I’d been missing for so many years.
“I then used this wonderful, but daunting experience, to my advantage when rehabilitating and encouraging patients. They react so positively when they see my hearing aids and take on board advice so readily as they know I have firsthand knowledge of the difficulty faced acclimatising to hearing sound again – so clear, so crisp.”
Unfortunately, towards the end of her studies Charoltte discovered she had a Malignant Melanoma.
She said: “I was absolutely devastated, but was very fortunate to have been in Stage 1 and would not require chemotherapy. I had two operations to remove the lesion and am now undergoing checks every three months.
“Staff at the University were outstanding. Only those students closest to me were made aware, and their love, friendship and best wishes got me through it all.”
Charlotte now works at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend.Speaking about her degree, Charlotte said; “It’s unreal - I have to think about everything I have gone through to make sure I am not imagining the last five years. I cannot believe how lucky I am. I would never have imagined I’d be where I am today when I was sitting in the canteen of David Evans being told about the looming redundancy. If I can do it with hard work, encouragement and support, then anyone can.”