Jessica Olson has always been a natural storyteller. From a young age, she loved to read and write. She would draft her own novels and short stories, to distribute to family and friends. At the age of six, she created a magazine, appropriately titled J-Mag, that featured profile stories, crosswords, puzzles, and her own investigative reporting. The cost? An affordable 50 cents.
This skill has put her in good stead throughout the course of her double degree in Journalism and Communications. It has also helped Jessica to tell her own story, a story that is not like that of her peers. It is a story that has been captured by the media, and on her blog.
At the age of 15, Jessica received her first cancer diagnosis, Stage II Nodular Sclerosing Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. After a grueling eight rounds of chemotherapy and two and a half weeks of radiotherapy, she was placed in remission in December 2011. She did not know at the time that it would be the first of five diagnoses to come, encompassing three different types of cancer.
On Wednesday 6 November, she celebrated her graduation from the University of Wollongong (UOW) with a Bachelor of Journalism/Bachelor of Communications and Media. It has been a long, tough journey for Jessica, but she was thrilled to be enjoying the moment with her cohort.
The decision to come to UOW was an easy one for Jessica, who in 2014 started her studies straight out of high school.
“I loved the look of UOW’s campus and I’d heard so many great things about it from friends who were older than me, who’d already begun studying there,” she said.