Penny Sucharitkul

Position
Student
Course
Fourth Year Medicine and Surgery (MBChB)
Talking about
Scholarships and the Plus Programme

Penny had a difficult start to her education, lacking stability and consistency, she moved between nine schools and missed six months’ worth of teaching. Because of this, Penny felt on the back foot throughout her education and her situation was made more complicated when she became a carer for her grandmother during her A-levels.

Despite this, Penny was determined not to let her circumstances define her and she left school with 2A*s and 2As, securing her place at Leeds to study Medicine and Surgery.

“I didn’t really know what to expect – I didn’t grow up knowing any doctors. I thought it would be intense and that I’d be studying around the clock. Leeds was the only university to offer me a place to study medicine as I didn’t have time to get work experience around my caring responsibilities. I was so worried and wanted to close the gap between me and these people who I assumed had easily got into medical school. I thought I was going to do really badly - I turned up so prepared, more than I needed to be.”

However, for students like Penny, the transition into university life can be quite difficult. They can feel isolated and like they don’t quite fit into the student community, lacking the same life experiences or opportunities.

“When I first arrived at Leeds I found it hard to make friends. I remember that my flatmates were all talking about holidays. I couldn’t get involved with the conversations because I’d never really been on one. I had to change the subject which made me feel like I stood out.” 

Through supporting scholarships and initiatives like the Plus Programme, your support will help students to feel like they belong at Leeds.

“Every week we get an email from the Plus Programme and it’s nice to know that they’re there if we need them. They let us know about all kinds of support, from academic skills workshops and mental health support to movie nights and funding to take up opportunities. Through their scholar welcome events I made friends with similar life experiences to me – it was really helpful.” 

Your support helps students, like Penny, to feel part of our Leeds community and that they deserve to be here. You help them to find the place where they are celebrated for their abilities and realise their full potential.

“My scholarship meant I could take part in societies and not feel left out. Through the Kickboxing society I’ve created a really strong support network who have helped me to keep fit and well. Your support also helped me to present at the Vascular Society’s annual conference - I did this speech in front of over 200 consultants and won an award! People now recognise me from that presentation which will help me in the future.”