Exceptional Perth College UHI student recognised for his efforts

A former Dunfermline Athletic footballer whose career was ended by a serious back injury will be fulfilling a dream in September when he enrols at medical school thanks to a scheme involving Perth College UHI, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands.

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Paul Grealis, Perth College UHI student of the year 2011

Paul Grealis, 24, from Dunfermline, has just been named the Perth College UHI student of the year for his academic and personal achievements. He has won a coveted place at the University of St Andrews School of Medicine after completing the Higher National Certificate Applied Sciences (Pathways to Medicine) course at Perth.

His tutor, Dr Rob Boyd, Curriculum Manager for Environmental Sustainability, said: “Paul played for Dunfermline Athletic Football Club from the age of 12.  When he was 17 and in the reserves team, his career as a professional footballer was cut short due to a prolapsed disc.

“Despite having little enthusiasm for study, Paul passed a number of standard grades and Highers, and successfully secured a managerial role within a large organisation managing 30 people and contracts in excess of £5 million.  However, his painful injury meant that he had to put his work ambitions to the side and undergo major neurosurgery which was sadly unsuccessful. During his treatment, he recognised the critical nature of the roles played by the medical staff and decided that, despite all the odds being stacked against him, he would do everything in his power to become a doctor.”

Paul entered the rigorous and challenging course in September 2010 and had a number of setbacks, both academic and health-related. However, despite the tremendous pressure Paul was under – if he had one exam result of less than 70%, he would have been ineligible for medicine - he truly applied himself, showing real determination and fortitude, rising to the challenge of achieving the high academic demands of the course. In the last round of exams all of which he had to achieve at least 70%, Paul scored 80% or more, securing his place at the University of St. Andrews.

Paul added: “I feel that all the adversity I’ve faced, has pointed me in the direction of this longed for opportunity to join the medical profession.  My lecturers have been supportive and I’ve enjoyed my time at College.  I’m excited about the start of next term when I’ll join the School of Medicine at St Andrew’s University - a dream come true.”

Paul will collect his award at the Perth College UHI graduation ceremony in September.

Media contact

Lisa Stewart
01738 877209/ 07976 049881