Emily Marrows (21) from Louth in Lincolnshire began her course on crutches three years ago and was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome after her first year.
She then had surgery on her knee and had to cope with her grandmother being diagnosed with cancer, but she was determined to achieve her dream of qualifying as a teacher.
After graduation she will return to BGU to take her postgraduate PGCE teaching qualification to enable her to teach primary school children aged from three to seven.
“I had a really tough first year,” Emily explained. “I’d had my legs realigned two years earlier and I started BGU on crutches after having metalwork removed from my legs. As a result I couldn’t go out and party like my flatmates and I felt a little lonely.
“Halfway through the year I had to move out of my flat into a new one and make new friends all over again. But it made me a stronger and more confident person; I joined and started new clubs and began volunteering with children in care. I had a challenging year, but it taught me a lot!”
In the summer following her first year, however, Emily was hit by a double blow: she was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and told that she needed more surgery on her knee.
“My second year didn’t start off the best: I had surgery at Christmas and struggled with my work, but despite all the setbacks I managed to keep going and stay strong. I wasn’t going to let anything stop me from fulfilling my dream of being a teacher!”
The following summer Emily’s grandmother was diagnosed with brain cancer, but Emily was determined to see her degree course through.
“Nothing was going to stop me getting my degree,” she said. “In my third year I got my head down and worked incredibly hard. I was faced with brick walls along the way, but I still didn’t give up! I’ve now got a place at BGU to study for my PGCE which has made my dreams come true!
“My university experience has not been the easiest, but I am incredibly proud of where I am today and the things I have achieved along the way. I have done things I never expected to do and it has made me a more independent, confident and understanding person.”