A BRADFORD woman who turned her life around in her 30s has spoken of her pride at graduating with a first class honours degree.

Raisha Sheehan, 35 from Thornton, is a single mum who overcame several challenges to graduate with a degree in Psychology and Counselling.

She started the course four years ago but after falling pregnant in her second year, she decided to take a year out to look after her son, Sudais.

Raisha described it as a "stressful couple of years" but said the graduation ceremony was amazing. 

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Raisha celebrating with her family (L-R Kath, Raisha, Sudais and Dawn)Raisha celebrating with her family (L-R Kath, Raisha, Sudais and Dawn) (Image: UGC)

“I’ve had an adverse childhood and towards the end of my 20s I managed to sort my life out," she said. 

“I’m really proud of myself.”

The ceremony was held at the Life Centre, on Wednesday, November 23, and Raisha had her mum Kath, sister Dawn and her son in the crowd.

“I was really nervous about the whole thing, I feel like I didn’t enjoy it until I got into my seat after getting my degree," she said.

When Raisha was queuing up to go on stage, her sister brought her son to her and it was a moment where she felt proud of all that she had accomplished.

She celebrated with a dinner at Aldo’s Italian with her family.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Raisha in her cap and gown with her one year old son Sudais Raisha in her cap and gown with her one year old son Sudais (Image: UGC)

Raisha explained that she left home at a young age without completing her A-levels and fell into a turbulent period.

She battled with drugs, alcohol, and addiction in her 20s and has been diagnosed with anxiety, PTSD, depression, and, recently, a sleep disorder.

She said: “If there was a trauma checklist, I would probably tick every box.

“But it’s because of my experiences that I went on to study Psychology, I’ve always been interested in it and even did it as one of my AS-levels.

“When I was 29, I did a massage therapy course and really got into the theory side of it and got stuck in and I really enjoyed it.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Raisha getting ready for the ceremony Raisha getting ready for the ceremony (Image: UGC)

“From there I started working for myself and then I thought why don’t I go back and study Psychology?

“I was late to everything education, having children, but I did it.”

In the future, she would like to pursue a Masters in Criminology following her success in her undergraduate degree. 

Raisha, who has gone through different types of therapy, hopes to embark on a career in the field.

As a revert Muslim, she feels she would be able to connect with people of faith better as a counsellor and offer her services, making therapy more accessible and breaking barriers.

“I think I have so much to offer to so many different types of people because of my life experience," she said. 

“Even in my current job, people tell me things they’ve never told anyone else before and I’m honoured they feel that way.”

Raisha is still healing and is working on improving her mental health before she takes on employment in the field of therapy.

She said: “I really enjoy what I currently do and it’s flexible which is good for me with my son.

“Right now, it’s about getting my son ready and getting him fed and some days I can’t even sort myself out.

“Some days I have so much motivation and other days I can’t even get ready for the day so working for myself is a better option.

“When I start having more good days, then I’ll look to find employment in the field.”

With her massage business, Raisha has amassed more than 1,000 followers on Snapchat who are incredibly proud of what she’s achieved.

“I’ve been sharing my journey with them and they always tell me how inspiring I am; It’s good to know that so many women are able to relate to me," she said.