More than an accomplishment


After three years of study on the The IIE Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Communications programme (The IIE BACC) at Varsity College Sandton, Stuart Alexander successfully overcame his disability and graduated. Stuart was born with Spina Bifida, a disorder in which there is incomplete closing of the backbone and membranes surrounding the spinal cord. This required Stuart to undergo spinal surgery, which fortunately increased his walking ability. 

Stuart began his journey at Varsity College in 2012 when he enrolled for the first intake of the The IIE BACC programme. He had a desire to work in journalism and therefore opted to complete the degree as it aligned with his interests. Now the proud owner of a tertiary qualification, Stuart recounts the following of his experience: “My first year at Varsity College was really fun, I enjoyed the people I met and the courses I had been introduced to. Second year was another level. Very tough but I am happy I managed to get through. Making it through third year was an achievement, all I had to do was focus and get it done. Now I am a graduate, have a degree and am ready to be part of the South African workforce.” 

Despite some challenges encountered along the way, Stuart managed to overcome these and obtain his qualification. Stuart shares fond memories of his social experiences at Varsity College suggesting that “I really met good friends who made it easy for me to fit in and forget about my disability. I got along with a lot of people and it led to great friendships forming.” 

On completing their respective qualifications, graduates are ready to take on the world. To this end, Stuart is eager to begin his career in his study field of choice as he explains; “I have a passion for sport and I love watching rugby. My dream job would be working in the communications department for a sports firm. Whether it being a rugby writer for a sport website, magazine or sport PR, I’d be delighted to be part of a sport communications team.” 

Being disabled in an environment filled with able-bodied people can be challenging as many disabled people find it difficult building their self-esteem in this context. Stuart, on the other hand, takes a different stance and shares his thoughts on this; “The truth is, with the disability that you have brings its own kind of challenges. It takes lots of work for a disabled person to overcome a challenge but it’s possible. I chose not to focus on my disability. I looked at everything from an academic point of view and not from my disability.” 

Stuart is a role model to many disabled scholars who wish to study towards a tertiary education. He has shown that the mind you have can determine your outcome in many instances. In closing, Stuart offers a final thought; “I’d like to say thank you to my parents for the support throughout the whole process of achieving my degree and well done to my classmates for graduating. It is possible to overcome these challenges, if you put your mind to it, you can do it.” From Varsity College, we would like to congratulate Stuart Alexander on obtaining his qualification and wish him all the best for his future.