Pregnancy illness not enough to halt Jessica

Jessica Wood had to pause her studies due to a pregnancy-related illness, but returned to earn her Masters of Public Health.

A member of University of Aberdeen staff, working in the clinical trial unit, Jessica, 36, says her happy news had an unanticipated impact on her academic activity. 

“Disaster struck in 2018 when some initially very good news - a baby on the way - meant I had to suspend my studies due to unexpected pregnancy related illness, before I could complete my remaining modules and thesis.  

“My pregnancy related illness did not endure and I was able to resume my studies when I returned from maternity leave in 2019. Having a prolonged break in my studies did feel daunting, especially when trying to immerse myself back in my thesis.  

“Thankfully, the support I received from my supervisors and from the MPH teaching team was fantastic. I felt very confident about finishing my studies.” 

Jessica applied for the Master of Public Health programme to gain more insight and knowledge in public health and clinical trial methodology. 

“I started by studies on a part -time basis while I continued working full-time in September 2016 and the plan had been to complete my studies within two years. My first year went very well. I really enjoyed the variation in courses offered and interaction with the other students. Despite studying part-time and being just a tad older than the other students I was made to feel very welcome and very much able to contribute to course discussions and group work.” 

Like many of her peers, Jessica has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.  

"The pandemic provided some further unique challenges for me including juggling data analysis and some final module assignments with work, home schooling my eldest son and providing childcare for the newest addition to the family.  

“Again, the support from the University team has been fantastic through-out the pandemic with plenty of additional virtual meetings and workshops arranged to help support all the students during this time. 

“I feel extremely thankful and grateful that I was able to complete my studies despite all the obstacles and a global pandemic thrown in for good measure! I really hope my peers also take this time to take stock of what they have managed to achieve despite all the obstacles that they have had to overcome this year.” 

Having recently moved to the Isle of Lewis in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, Jessica is pondering her next move, including potential future research opportunities.