A student who faced “challenge upon challenge” while studying at Edge Hill University, has battled this adversity to graduate with a First Class Honours degree in Creative Writing and Film Studies.
Jesse Hill (24), originally from Glazebury near Leigh, began her studies while suffering from Fibromyalgia, a chronic pain illness which means she is forced to live with fatigue and a near-constant deep ache throughout her body.
“Sometimes it can be almost like an irritating background noise, other times it can be debilitating,” said Jesse. “There is no known cure, it is still a challenge in my life.”
But circumstances were set to get even tougher for Jesse, who now lives in Lathom.
“During my first year, my partner’s Dad, Titus, who I was a carer for before starting the course continued to decline in health and passed in late 2015.
“Then in my second year, I developed stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which is a cancer of the blood. I had time off to endure six months of chemotherapy, which was thankfully successful, and I remain in remission with the chance of relapse continuing to decline.”
After this period of serious illness for Jesse, her partner’s mum Annie developed breast cancer and sadly passed away in January 2018. Then during Jesse’s final year she was diagnosed with endometriosis, which can cause infertility.
“Given this and the fact that my egg reserve took a hit from the chemo, we took the advice of our fertility consultant and tried for a baby while we could,” said Jesse.
“We got pregnant, but sadly had a miscarriage late last year.
“In a nutshell, I faced challenge upon challenge whilst studying at Edge Hill. Throughout all of these dark times, the time on this course was a stable light for me. It provided me with a focus, opening up the space for cathartic creative expression, all within a network of a supportive community.
“Edge Hill allowed me to take the time I needed to rest and recover so I could return in a more capable state. My tutors became my buttress roots, remaining understanding and compassionate, helping me through with numerous discussions and sincere encouragement. ‘Thanks’ just doesn’t cut it.
“The teaching I’ve been lucky enough to receive throughout my time here has been absolutely outstanding. Not just the rich enthusiasm and knowledge within the class but also the sincere support, human to human. I have deep respect and gratitude for James Byrne, Jenni Woodward and Jenny Barrett.”
Jesse, a former student of Culcheth High School and Winstanley College, will return to Edge Hill in September to continue her studies and complete her Masters, focusing on film poetry. She has created an online community to share discoveries and creations associated with her studies, which can be found at @filmpoetryanthology on Facebook and Instagram.
Jesse also has some advice for current and future students: “Engage in conversation. Be open. And try not to take for granted the absolutely magnificent pools of potential surrounding you.”
Find out more about studying Creative Writing and Film Studies at Edge Hill by visiting the subject page.