The end of the school year marks a major milestone for 2020-2021 graduates. However, for IUPUI Master of Social Work student Jaclyn Ferguson, the end of the school year marks her graduation from the IU School of Social Work and also the end of her chemotherapy treatment.
In December of 2020, Jaclyn’s life came to a screeching halt when she was diagnosed with gestational trophoblastic neoplasia, cancer-like cells that appear as a molar pregnancy and infect the uterus. After discovering that the cancer-like cells had not only infected her uterus but also her lungs, Jaclyn began chemotherapy on February 9th, 2021.
While going through chemotherapy treatment, Jaclyn also had to worry about completing her schoolwork. While this was a challenge for Jaclyn, she is thankful that her classes were online, allowing for flexibility. Jaclyn is also thankful that her professors were very understanding and offered to grant her extra time to work on assignments.
“It was a dream of mine to graduate, and I was determined to get it done,” said Jaclyn. “Being in a three-year program, a lot of work has gone into school. I just didn’t want chemo to stop me.”
Jaclyn initially graduated from IU Bloomington in 2015 with her bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, Jaclyn fell in love with the idea of therapy and realized that it was something she would like to do as a career, which led her to pursue her Master of Social Work from the IU School of Social Work.
As for her future plans, Jaclyn would like to continue working at Indy Counseling and Professionals, which she was able to work at while she was going through chemotherapy. Additionally, Jaclyn would like to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
Jaclyn credits her strong faith in God for getting her through the ups and downs of chemotherapy while also balancing school at the same time. Through praying, journaling, and taking detox baths, Jaclyn has been able to put things in perspective and also take the time to care for her mind and body. Jaclyn is grateful for her strong support system, which has also played a major role in helping her through this part of her life.