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Elisha Rutherford, 2:1 BA (Hons) Rural Business Management – Ayr

Elisha managed to graduate against the odds, despite suffering from severe sickness during her pregnancy in fourth year.

“The constant support I had from my lecturers meant it was possible for me to complete my studies successfully.”

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Elisha Rutherford was due to give birth on the day of her Advanced Financial Management and Taxation Exam.

Instead, she was able to upload her essay exam substitutes early and prepare for the arrival of her son Harlow – which in the event happened a week later than scheduled.

The 23-year-old, who is also mum to four-year-old Harper, has just graduated from SRUC’s Ayr campus with a 2:1 BA (Hons) degree in Rural Business Management.

Elisha, from Mauchline, had originally planned to study International Business with Modern Languages at Napier University, but when she found out she was pregnant with her daughter, she opted to stay close to home and studied for an HNC in Business Management at Ayr College before continuing on to do an HND.

She then moved to SRUC to complete her degree.

“I chose SRUC because it was closer to home than universities such as Glasgow and because it was smaller with less students, so would offer more support.”

Even so, the course was not without its challenges for the young mum.

“Throughout my time at SRUC, finding time to have a healthy work/home/study balance was a big challenge for me due to having Harper, working 30 hours a week between two jobs, as well as studying full time, and running a home.

“This became more difficult in the fourth year, as I found out I was pregnant just before starting the year. I was very ill throughout most of my pregnancy, suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum – which is severe sickness, as well as sciatica, pelvic girdle pain and anaemia.

“The baby was fine, but I was literally crumbling around him. This made attending classes virtually impossible a lot of the time, as I couldn’t sit for more than five minutes without being in severe pain or being sick.

“However, the constant support I had from my lecturers meant it was possible for me to complete my studies successfully.

“Due to Covid-19, I was able to complete my exams from home, which meant I did not have to worry about missing them.

“Despite the odds being stacked against me, I managed to successfully complete my degree, and after a super quick labour of one-and-a-half hours, my son was born a week late weighing a massive 10lbs 15oz.”

Having earned herself a well-deserved rest, Elisha is planning to enjoy her maternity leave with her children, before returning to education to complete a postgraduate qualification in primary education.



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