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Remarkable stories as 3,900 students prepare to graduate from University of East Anglia in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 11:06 14 July 2017 | UPDATED: 11:06 14 July 2017

The mortarboards fly at the first day of the UEA graduation ceremonies 2016. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The mortarboards fly at the first day of the UEA graduation ceremonies 2016. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

A mother-of-four and students who have overcome mental health problems will be among the 3,900 graduating from a Norwich university.

Annie Thorell, a mother of four who has completed two masters degrees and is studying towards a medicine degree. She will graduate from one of the masters degrees next week. Picture: University of East AngliaAnnie Thorell, a mother of four who has completed two masters degrees and is studying towards a medicine degree. She will graduate from one of the masters degrees next week. Picture: University of East Anglia

Next week, University of East Anglia students will celebrate the culmination of years of hard work, donning mortarboards and gowns as they wave a fond farewell to their time in education.

They include mother-of-four Anne Thorell, who, despite her ongoing studies towards a medical degree, has completed both a masters in clinical education and another in health economics, from which she will graduate next week.

When she finishes her medicine degree, she will have completed seven years of study - while raising four young children.

“I believe it’s never too late to follow your dreams, whatever they might be,” she said.

“Given how much time we spend at work and how long we have to work before we retire, it’s important to do something we enjoy.

“If you’re passionate about something, don’t let things stand in your way. Studying medicine with four children is a challenge, but I like being a role model to them and want them to know that they can do anything they set their minds to.”

MORE: Ed Balls, charity founder and Star Wars actor among UEA’s 2017 honorary graduates


Next week’s graduations will run from Monday, July 17 to Friday 21, with the schools of chemistry, pharmacy and literature, drama and creative writing kicking celebrations off on Monday.

Norwich City chairman Ed Balls and Patrick Peal, who had a key role in setting up the East Anglian Air Ambulance, will be among the university’s 20 honorary graduates for the year.

One student who overcame anxiety and depression will graduate with an English Literature degree and begin work for a charity.

She said: “When I started university, I was perfectly fine, happy and excited to begin the next chapter of my life. However, half-way through my first year, things went downhill. By my second year I literally could not work. I was so depressed and anxious it was all I could think about.”

She eventually opened up to seminar leaders and advisers, who offered her much-needed support.

She said while university can be “an incredibly stressful and difficult experience”, it had been the “most amazing” time.

• Do you have an education story? Email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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