Why I took out a 24+ loan to study medicine

23 May 2015

George Zambas, 30, decided to become a doctor after working in administration in the NHS

George Zambas, who is originally from Rickmansworth and left school with a D in GCSE French, completed an access course at the college in 2014 and gained a place at Brighton and Sussex Medical School.

He hopes to become a GP or Urology surgeon. George struggled with education as a teenager. After leaving school he worked a range of jobs from bar work, to retail management and admin.

He was inspired to go back to education when one of his admin jobs took him into the NHS. Initially he re-took his GCSEs and then enrolled at the College having researched the course he wanted to take. He took a 24+ loan which covered his course fees.

George is now coming to the end of his first year at university. As well as the theory, he is already undertaking practical placements at GP practices and gaining vital experience through cardiac and respiratory examinations.

We interviewed George to find out why he returned to education and how 24+ loans helped him.

How is your first year at university going?

"The nature of the medicine degree at Brighton and Sussex Medical School has meant that we have really hit the ground running. Living in halls is a different experience and there are plenty of other mature students who are in a similar situation as me.

"When I was younger a lot of my friends went to university and I didn’t. I always thought ‘what a wonderful experience that must be’ and I felt like I was missing out. Now to be at university myself is an opportunity I never thought I would have, so it is quite amazing and I now do not have the regrets about school that I once did.

"I worked in retail and administration for the NHS for a number of years before returning to education and it is bizarre now to be training in the medical field and building so much knowledge. When I first started at the NHS I remember being told off for mixing up physicists and psychiatrists!"

How did you hear about 24+ loans?

"I was very determined to return to education at whatever cost and was stubborn in my approach. The College informed me that 24+ loans would cover my College fees which was a real bonus and encouraged me further with the decisions I was making.

"The 24+ loan is a fantastic tool and provided me with the incentive that if I achieved my ambition at the end of my degree I would not have to pay back a penny of the loan. I also knew that if I did fail I would only have to pay back the loan in small amounts over a manageable period of time."

What is your advice to others considering returning to education?

"My advice to other adult students considering returning to education is you cannot do it half-heartedly, particularly if you want to study medicine. You have to be stubborn, you have been to be very determined, but if you are fully committed then the rewards and benefits are fantastic. You have to give up a lot, but the goal at the end of my studies outweighs the debt and any anxiety.

"The College has a great support network in place for adult students and at no point did I feel alone in what I was trying to achieve."

You can follow this link to find out more about studying an Access to Higher Education Diploma in Medicine and Biomedical Science

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