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Go for it is message from new UCLan graduate

21 July 2015

Rachel Atkinson

Victoria Hodson has overcome more than most to gain 2:1 in Community and Social Care

A delighted scholar has told her fellow students to “grab their dreams with both hands” after graduating from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan)

Despite being deaf, battling with a mental illness and being a care leaver, Victoria Hodson beat the odds to don her academic cap and gown in Preston’s Guild Hall.

The BA (Hons) Community and Social Care: Policy and Practice graduate said: “I want to encourage those to grab their dreams with both hands and go for it. I feel amazing and I’m overwhelmingly happy to have graduated. I never thought I would ever get here as I came so close to dropping out in my first year but I’m delighted I managed to complete my studies.”

The 25-year-old, from Preston, has been deaf since birth, while she also suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder.

She said: “I had a lot of difficulties to overcome as a care leaver as I don’t have a family that can support and encourage me. However I have an amazing group of friends that have become family to me, their help, love and support have been incredible, especially my church family.

“The staff have been wonderful too. They’ve gone above and beyond their call of duty to make sure I could access everything, the support they provided was invaluable.”

“The University helped me financially to get through the course and my tutors were always encouraging and supportive. If I had a relapse in my mental illness, my personal tutor was always supportive and always said that my health came before my assignment. I never felt under pressure to get an assignment in and I always managed to catch up in the end. It’s been hard but it has been worth it.”

Victoria undertook work experience on an annual basis including spells in an adult sexual abuse service, a homeless drop-in, homeless shelters and housing associations.

The former Broughton High School and Preston College student added: “I had to work a lot harder to participate in seminars as I relied on lip reading to join in group discussions. But my classmates were great, they were always inclusive and made sure I understood everything. The staff have been wonderful too. They’ve gone above and beyond their call of duty to make sure I could access everything, the support they provided was invaluable. I couldn’t have got through the degree without their help and support. I also couldn't have done it without my faith.”

Victoria’s learning does not stop here. She has applied to do a Masters in Social Work next year, in the hope of becoming a social worker specialising in mental health.