Hardship to success at VU

My biggest achievement so far is my Diploma of IT. But really, I think my biggest achievement in life right now has been to stay alive.

Ashley Masocha (Zimbabwe)
Diploma of Information Technology, Bachelor of Information Technology

Rising from a history of medical hardship, international student Ashley Masocha says VU's support has been integral to his success.

Born in Zimbabwe, Ashley came to VU in 2013 to study the Diploma of Information Technology at VU’s Footscray Nicholson campus, with the goal of returning to his home country and opening his own IT business.

But just months after beginning his course he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour.

“I would go to uni in a wheelchair and mum would be pushing me” Ashley recalls.

“She used to push me around the campus and sit by my side at the lectures” he says.

Over the course of three years, Ashley endured countless hospitalisations, operations and procedures to remove his tumour.

In April 2016, the tumour was miraculously removed by surgeons at St Vincent’s Hospital.

“It was the best feeling I’ve ever had” he said.

Ashley's battle didn’t end there though, with the ensuing road to recovery combining arduous rehabilitation while still studying full-time.

He credits his loving parents, Epworth Hospital, VU’s flexible learning, disability support services and the VU Clinical Exercise Rehabilitation (VUCER) clinic for getting him through the darkest of days.

When I first went to the VUCER I was weak, dizzy and fatigued. They have given me my life back, I don’t know where I would be without them.

Fast forward two years, Ashley is out of his wheelchair and about to complete VU's Bachelor of Information Technology, having successfully transitioned into the course via the diploma.

And the news just keeps getting better, with Ashley being offered a graduate internship with Telstra, Australia's largest telecommunications company.

“Even though it has been challenging to continue my studies, I’m glad I managed to pull through to the end. I’m thankful that I went through this experience, because it allowed me to develop my character and see what I’m really made of.

“My biggest achievement so far is my Diploma of IT.

“But really, I think my biggest achievement in life right now has been to stay alive.”

Courses studied

VU Clinical Exercise Rehabilitation

The exercise rehabilitation clinic at Footscray Park Campus offers services to students and the community, delivered by accredited exercise physiologists and exercise scientists. The clinic also provides undergraduate and masters students with practical experience as component of their coursework. Find out more about Clinical Exercise & Rehabilitation (VUCER) placements.