Mum of two Jenna Lewis worked for 12 years as a lifeguard before taking the plunge to study adult nursing. She is now working in A&E in Prince Charles Hospital, Merthyr.
"Nursing was my dream upon leaving school but I felt I wasn't ready and didn't have the necessary life skills. I started my working life as a lifeguard in the local swimming pool and progressed and developed there, becoming a swimming teacher and fitness instructor, these roles fulfilling my desire to help people to a certain extent.
"The job gave me a sense of satisfaction and a steady income to help support my family but there was always something missing.
"At the age of 30 and with my children a bit older I knew it was my turn.
"I always preach to my children that they can be whatever they want, my motto to them is ‘if you believe, you can achieve!'
"I enrolled on the Access to Higher Education Healthcare course full time in Aberdare College while continuing to work part time. The thought of university daunted me but I now believe my Access course set me up perfectly.
"USW was always my first choice due to its locality but after the Open Day, I knew it was going to be my only choice.
"The friendliness of the staff was overwhelming and this has continued right through to my final year. Without this support from staff, I truly believe my learning experience would have been a different story.
"Being on placement was the best experience. My biggest reward was, and still is, walking on to a ward and seeing my patients smile as they see me. Knowing you can make a difference to people’s lives is just something really special.
"Getting my nursing degree has also proved to my children that if you believe, you can most definitely achieve. My daughter is now set on going to university which is something she had never considered before."