Aleesha Verma: BA (Hons) Social Care and Health Studies
Aleesha Verma had to overcome a life-threatening condition and adapt to a new way of living during her studies at the University of Wolverhampton.
Aleesha, from Wolverhampton, was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis during the last year of her A-Levels, and was rushed into emergency surgery on New Year’s Eve.
She woke up to find an ileostomy bag fitted on her stomach, and after struggling to come to terms with what she had been through physically and mentally, she took a year out to recover.
After returning to school and completing her A-Levels, she was delighted to be accepted onto the University’s BA (Hons) Social Care and Health Studies course.
But unfortunately during her first year at University, her health deteriorated again requiring further surgery, and her ileostomy bag was made permanent.
Aleesha remained determined and managed to pass her first year, and went on to achieve a 2:1 degree.
The Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing graduate says: “I think my greatest achievement has to be overcoming my battle with my health and still achieving an honourable grade at University. Despite all the obstacles and hurdles that came my way, my determination and passion has kept me going.
“My experience at the University has been incredible. The University has given me a platform to accomplish many achievements, and has allowed me to go on to pursue my future goals. The staff at the University have been very supportive and understanding when I needed it the most.”
She explains that her favourite memory from University was a study trip to India: “My favourite memory from University was definitely getting the opportunity to go on the “Health in India Study” in 2016, which was a two week programme at Lovely Professional University (LPU) – one of the largest universities in India. I was able to learn about the health care system in India, with a chance to visit both private and public Hospitals, meet with health care providers in Non-Governmental Organisations, as well as visit places of historical and cultural interest. I also made a lot of friendships with my peers on the trip.”
The 22-year-old is hoping to pursue a career in the health field. “I want to help other people who might be dealing with similar conditions to myself, or those who might experience problems in coming to terms with their diagnosis,” she explains. “I am also currently a patient mentor at New Cross Hospital. I aim to continue to break the barriers and stigma within the Asian community, in relation to ileostomy bags and other chronic illnesses.”
Aleesha has these words of wisdom for students following in her footsteps:
“A lot of our life lessons and obstacles we stumble across make us who we are, don’t let this get the better of you. Learning how to turn a negative life experience into something positive was one of the best things I have done. Work hard, aim high and never lose sight of your goal!”