Youth News

Emily’s Higher Education Journey

Congratulations to everyone who has recently started, or will soon be starting their higher education journey!

Starting uni or TAFE can be both an exciting and scary time. There are so many things to do to get yourself ready, and having a bleeding disorder may mean that there is a little bit more to consider. We spoke with one of our youth members, Emily, about her experience starting the higher education journey.

Emily, who is now working on her post graduate studies in the UK, has von Willebrand disorder and started her academic career with a Bachelor of Science at the University of Western Australia. She says, ‘the main thing that has stuck with me from starting both degrees was meeting everyone and making new friends’

Whilst for the most part Emily didn’t find it necessary to disclose her bleeding disorder, there was a few times where it came up. ‘At UWA I didn’t really think much of my bleeding disorder, until my rowing club found out in 2nd year and asked why I never told them. That made me realise that although I can manage it myself, I should let other people in just in case (especially since it’s a sport and we went on a lot of trips away – it also made them add a medical disclosure question to the membership pack).’

She also found that she had to deal with the misconceptions of others, including her teachers. ‘As I was studying genetics, I also remember one lecturer telling us that haemophilia was sex-linked and therefore only males could be affected and me trying to explain why that was incorrect.’

Since finishing her undergraduate degree, Emily has begun a Master of Science course. Moving away from home carries lots of challenges and requires preparation. Emily wasn’t exempt from this. Since moving to the UK for her postgrad she has needed to find and build a new treatment team for her bleeding disorder, which has not been easy.

Emily’s story comes from her experiences with von Willebrand disorder, and are specific to her life. Keep an eye out for the next issue of National Haemophilia where we will hear from some students with severe haemophilia and their challenges and tips.

We would like to wish Emily, and all our readers, good luck in their studies this semester. 

Our study tips:

  • Go to student social events during the year – O’week is a good place to start – getting to know other students is key for enjoying (and surviving) uni/TAFE
  • Join a club or society – this is another way to get connected with people you have similar interests with
  • Read up on your university’s special consideration and assignment extension policies – these might save your grades if something unexpected happens
  • Go to lectures as often as you can – getting to know your lecturers and tutors is something that might help you out later on. You are also much more likely to retain information if you are physically attending classes and able to ask questions, rather than watching them online (although this may not be possible in some courses).
  • If you need to move away for uni, make sure you research your new local Treatment Centre and get in touch before you leave home. Talk to your Haemophilia Treatment Centre about what you will need to do when you move and how to register with your new HTC. You can find contact details of HTCs in Australia on the HFA website at For details of HTCs in other countries, click on the FIND A TREATMENT CENTRE button on the World Federation of Hemophilia website –   
  • If you need to travel interstate or overseas to take up study, it can be exciting but there is lots of PLANNING to do beforehand. If you are preparing a trip you need to be organised months in advance. Check out our travel tips (located on

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