Published: 20 July 2016

Student braves tough year to graduate with first class degree

An occupational therapy student has navigated a challenging road to success after achieving a first class degree whilst undergoing major surgery for hearing loss.

Jennifer Leith has been hearing impaired since childhood, but in the last year has had to undergo two operations which have resulted in a further deterioration in her hearing.

The operations fell in the middle of the main assessment period, but despite the additional stress and pressure, Jennifer has emerged with a first class degree in Occupational Therapy which she collected this week alongside her peers at their graduation ceremony in the Philharmonic Hall.

Commenting on her journey, Jennifer said: “It’s been a difficult period, but I have been lucky to have great lecturers who have supported me throughout, assisting me in rearranging my elective placement in Nepal at the last minute and helping me to focus on my academic studies.

“While on placement recovering from surgery I was given support from field educators and lecturers which was extremely reassuring, and helped me to adapt to my new hearing loss, while working with patients in a busy hospital environment.

Jennifer Leith

“Adjusting to my situation has taken some time. I can struggle to follow conversations especially in busy and loud environments, and although my hearing has declined I feel very privileged to be able to graduate with the rest of my cohort.”

Jennifer has now secured a sought-after position as an occupational therapist at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital Trust – a trust where she spent a large portion of her time on placement during her studies at the University.

Following her ceremony Jennifer spent time toasting success with her peers before going out for a meal with family to celebrate.

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