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My university applications are a cycle of anxiety and embarassment

Wei shares how a conviction from childhood continues to hold her back

I have a conviction for attempted robbery which I was charged with in 2014 at 13 years old. During my court hearing, I was told by my lawyer and the Judge that this would not stay on my record after the age of 18, so me and my mother chose to go guilty as at the time we felt it was easier than going through a trial. I was served 6 months with the Youth Offending Team – the purpose was to rehabilitate me. Since the incident I went on to achieve 11 GCSEs A*-B and a distinction in a level 3 Nursing course. I was never arrested again. So let’s say the rehabilitation worked.

In 2021 I was accepted onto an adult and mental health nursing master’s degree, I did not declare this conviction on my application, as this was my first DBS and I did not know it [the conviction] existed [on my record]. Subsequently, I was kicked off my degree halfway through the year as I was deemed ‘untrustworthy’ and ‘dishonest’. I then applied to the same degree in 2022, declared my conviction and was accepted again. Then I was removed from the course yet again, as they remembered me from last year and maintained that I was ‘untrustworthy’.

Now in 2023 I have applied to a different university for adult nursing, I have been accepted, and now must have a panel meeting where they will decide if I can continue enrolment. (I have also just been accepted for work, where again, I have had to declare this conviction, and must now allow people to make judgements against me that ultimately affect my life prospects.)

From 2021 until now it has been a cycle of anxiety and embarrassment over an incident that occurred almost 10 years ago. I now aspire to be a nurse, but this conviction that has no bearing on my thoughts, values or actions as an adult is a constant hindrance. I will now be judged and stigmatised for the rest of my life. Even if I do enrol on the nursing degree, before every placement for the next 3 years, I will again be subject to meetings to determine my risk. Once I graduate, every single job will also require a meeting to discuss an offence from when I was 13.

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