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Ulster University student, Shannon Grant, graduates this summer with a BSc in Social Policy.

Resident of Newtownabbey, Shannon overcame her battle with cancer while studying, ultimately gaining a 2.1 for her hard work.

Before entering Ulster University, Shannon completed an access course in Behavioural and Social Sciences at the Belfast Met which allowed her to go straight into the second year of her degree. While completing her second year, Shannon received the shocking news that she had been diagnosed with kidney cancer.

Speaking about the diagnosis, Shannon said:

“During my second year of university I began to feel unwell and after going to the doctor, I was diagnosed with kidney cancer. When it happened, I was extremely overwhelmed and thought there was a chance I wasn’t going to be able to continue my degree. However, with the help of my course director and my tutors I was able to return and complete my studies. Their support during that time meant a lot to me, it took away some of the pressure knowing that I wouldn’t be disadvantaged due to my diagnosis.”

Not only did Shannon successfully complete her studies, she balanced working as a Special Educational Needs Learning (SEN) assistant during the week and as a waitress at the weekend. The next step for Shannon is undertaking further study and enrolling in a 2-year degree in Social Work at Ulster University.

“Having my degree in Social Policy allows me to be eligible for fast-track entry into the BSc in Social Work. The knowledge and skills I have gained during my time at Ulster will ease the transition to further learning and transfer well to a career path like social work. I’m really motivated and inspired by the opportunity to help people who are experiencing personal difficulties to overcome their problems and to make a positive difference in people’s lives.”