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Graduating against the odds!

At the start of this year, while I was still undergoing intense treatment for stage IV melanoma, I set one of my biggest and at the time it sounded ludicrous- I was going to finish my degree! At this point, across a 4-month period, I had spent over 3 months in the hospital! However, I had made up my mind I was going to graduate, and even went out and bought myself a graduation dress (while I was an in-patient at hospital) this was a visual representation of my goal. I remember telling my doctor, and him responding with “you don’t have to do this, just take the time off and recover”. I just laughed and kept working away at my assignments whenever I had the energy to do so.

My University, Deakin, was incredible, they helped me so much during this time, setting me flexible assessment dates, and working with me to make my dream a reality. We broke each unit up into small assessment tasks and I would focus on one task at a time, by doing this I could see myself moving closer and closer towards my goal!

There were times when I was very frustrated with myself for setting such a huge goal during a time that was already so difficult, but on May 26th when I completed my final University assessment – it all seemed worthwhile! I had proved to myself, that even in the most challenging period of my life I could still achieve goals I had set! The feeling of pure exhilaration, walking across that stage, not once but twice on graduation day, Deakin had awarded me the Vice Chancellors Medal of Excellence, for graduating under difficult circumstances. I look back on this memory with pride, I walked that stage in my beautiful purple dress, that had been hanging in my wardrobe waiting for graduation.

This is a memory I go back to whenever I feel like something seems too hard, it’s a reminder that I am capable of anything I set my mind to… we all are!