Day 360- Rhys, 19, Lochgelly

Second year Adult Nursing student and University of Dundee and the winner of the Young Scot Excellence in Education Award 2018.


Which young Scot inspires you?
I am inspired by last year’s Young Scot of the Year, Chelsea Cameron. She has used her voice to empower young people and stand up for change. Chelsea has proved that you can come from a disadvantaged background and still be so successful!

What is the best thing about growing up in Scotland?
The best thing about growing up in Scotland is the access to free healthcare and education. I am so thankful that I am able to go to university without the worry and burden of thousands of pounds of debt after graduation. Free healthcare means that I do not have to worry about my financial circumstances at any point in my life.

What would you most like people from older generations to know about young people?
I would like people from older generations to be aware of the modern stresses and pressures that young people experience. We live in a world where everyone’s life is lived on social media where there is a huge expectation to be flawless and to be living in a certain way. We are often working on zero hour contracts and it is becoming increasingly difficult to buy a house as a young person.

What is your biggest achievement to date?
My biggest achievement to date is winning this year’s Young Scot Excellence in Education Award. I won this for keeping a promise to my dad to become a nurse, who had a drug addiction and committed suicide in December last year. I looked after my dad for years, who in his younger years was a successful ice hockey athlete and roller hockey coach. Despite being offered a year out of university, I continued with my studies and passed all of my exams in first year. I am now in my second year of nursing.

What would you most like to achieve in the future?
In the future, I hope to continue to raise awareness for addiction, mental health and suicide. I also hope to work in the NHS as a nurse, helping patients with health and social issues get their life back on track. This is so important to me because of my experience growing up with my dad. Addiction and mental health doesn’t just affect an individual – it affects their loved ones too. I want to make a different to my community and the people in it.

What message would you like to give to other young people in Scotland?
If I could tell other young people one thing, it would be that you could do absolutely anything if you put your mind to it. Growing up in deprivation can feel lonely and poses many challenges, but having access to free quality education in Scotland means we are just as capable as our peers. This is important to me because I didn’t believe I would be successful at school or university because of my background.

If Rhys’ story has inspired you, why not share it on social media using the hashtag #MyStory365 or visit the ‘Get Involved’ section to share your own story!

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