Here’s Vicki’s nystagmus success story …
I have congenital nystagmus and ocular albinism and want to help to encourage other people to reach their potential.
I graduated from Durham university with a degree in Maths and Physics. During the first couple of years of my degree, I refused the extra help I deserved due to my eye problem, because I wanted to fit in. I had extra time for my a levels and GCSEs but some comments from other pupils made me feel embarrassed. By the third year I realised that I was doing myself an injustice and some good friends persuaded me to take the extra time. Although I then got very good marks in third year I was disappointed with my overall degree grade. I hope other people learn from this – take the help you need.
After university I got a job in accountancy and studied for my ACA. I got extra time and progressed through my exams right to the last stage. I failed the last exam, which was a case study and involved a lot of reading and writing – with the extra time my exam was over 4 hours long, which was a long time to concentrate.
I quit my job and went travelling around the world on my own for 18 months. I visited 12 countries and did a mixture of paid work, volunteer work, tours and independent travelling. I absolutely loved it and it taught me that I could do anything I put my mind to – despite my wobbly eyes. I worked behind a bar (people struggled getting my attention, but there wasn’t another pub for 50 miles so they were persistent!), I worked on a wildlife sanctuary with lions and cheetahs and baboons, I built houses for poor people, learnt Spanish, learnt to scuba dive. … the list goes on.
I came back full of confidence in my abilities and decided to retake my case study exam. I passed this time and qualified as a chartered accountant. I now work for one of the largest accountancy firms in the world in a job I love.
It’s been a bumpy ride of learning from my mistakes, but I now realise that my eye problem will only hold me back if I let it.