In the face of adversity, student hopes to inspire others
Emma Mirk has completed her degree in the face of adversity, having suffered from constant and severe health issues and undergoing brain surgery during her time at Edinburgh Napier University. She began her studies in 2018 and had been diagnosed with essential tremors which had a big impact on her ability to complete her coursework. Her degree in architectural technology required her to complete detailed drawings which were made extremely difficult as a result of her tremors.
During 2018/19 she was then diagnosed with Chiari malformation-which is where the lower part of the brain pushes down into the spinal canal, causing Emma to suffer spinal nerve damage. She then under went brain surgery in June 2019, it was not a cure but it did help ease the symptoms of her illness. Emma still suffers from seizures that leave her feeling sick and dizzy but is learning how to cope with them.
Persevering with her degree, Emma said: "It would be nice to tell people my story as someone might be going through similar situations to this, and if it helped just one person it would be amazing, these illnesses are very unusual and something that I had never heard about until I was diagnosed."
The university disability team provided Emma with support throughout her degree and will graduate this summer with a BSC (HONS) in Architectural Technology.
She added: "During my time at university I made use of the brilliant facilities they had to offer such as the disability inclusion team and counselling services. They were a massive help, the most important thing that they did was actually listen to me, this made me feel that I could be honest with them and I knew I would receive the best help that they could give me."
She credits the disability team at the university for all the help they gave her, in particular her Personal Development Tutor Dr Suha Jaradat, with annual check-ins at the start of each year, help with extensions when needed and ongoing consultation.