Contractions no distraction for Zahava

05 February 2021

Pregnant' studying and determined to finish her degree' not even contractions would get in the way of Zahava Robinson from sitting one of her final university exams.

The CQUniversity Bachelor of Podiatry Practice (First Class Honours) graduate not only laboured through an entire examination she went on to sit another three exams just two weeks after having her first baby.

"It (the first exam) was a rheumatology assessment' and I was having contractions every 20 minutes for about a minute at a time'" Zahava explained.

"I just stopped between contractions.

"As you can imagine the staff were initially perplexed that I wanted to continue my degree pregnant and with a newborn' but I wanted to prove that I could do it. Being in labour while sitting an exam was the easy bit'" she said.

"It was the placement with a six-week-old baby - waking up every hour to feed the baby through the night - and the fact that I was expected to hold a scalpel and treat people's feet the next day' often with very complex foot ulcers - that was the real challenge."

With the COVID-19 pandemic also throwing challenges her way' Zahava was not about to let her newborn baby be a roadblock to completing her degree.

"I was committed to finishing. I could have deferred' but I would have had to sit the exams a few months later which wouldn't have helped much as it would then have been during my placement."

Zahava said that the clinical placements were the most challenging part of her degree.

"I was out of the house and away from my baby from 7am to 6pm every day'" she said.

"I was expected to perform as well as every other student and had to work extra hard to keep up considering the time spent expressing and the sleepless nights.

"And while I had to think on my feet – excuse the pun – the best thing was working in a high-risk foot setting and meeting the patients that came through."

Despite the challenges' Zahava not only passed' but she excelled in her final units.

"I was only on track to getting credits' however once I had Aaron my grades improved'" she explained.

"I actually attribute this to becoming a mother and having to be extra prepared. Who knew mum brain was actually a superpower? I ended up with only HDs despite having a newborn baby."

Zahava is a Bondi local and studied at CQUniversity's Sydney Campus.

"I chose CQU because it was located centrally in the Sydney CBD. I later found that the best part was the small class sizes which meant I received quality and individualised education."

Once again proving her determination' soon after completing her degree' the go-getter opened a podiatry clinic in her home of Bondi which is located near Westfield Bondi Junction in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney.

"Bondi Podiatry offers a cosmetic and aesthetic approach to your foot health. We diagnose and manage foot' ankle and knee conditions and offer medical pedicures to achieve a cosmetic result'" she said.

"We do everything from assessing and managing patients with diabetes' arthritis' wart removal' corns' callus and we perform biomechanical assessments for foot pain and make custom orthotics. We perform ingrown toenail surgery and offer PediSafe nail reconstruction and we offer treatment for fungal nail infections."

Zahava said her ultimate goal was to help people get back on their feet.

"In podiatry you can make such a big difference to a patient's quality of life in a 30-minute appointment.

"My hope is to help lots of people get back on their feet and grow my practice and support my family. I want to spend time that was lost with my son while on placement.

As for words of advice' Zahava says: "Women can achieve anything. If you want to open a business' finish your degree and have a baby - you can!"