28th Jan, 2021

Two students from Warwickshire speak about achieving first class degrees amid pandemic

‘A POIGNANT moment’ is how a student from Warwickshire described achieving a first class degree during the pandemic.

Georgia Bishop and Harriet McDonald were among those to have completed their studies at the University of Worcester as they were forced to navigate a turbulent 2020.

The former, previously a student at Southam College, earned her First Class Honours in Education and English Language.

The 21-year-old said: “Before I started university, I told myself to give it my best shot, take every opportunity and completely enjoy the experience. To then achieve a first class degree, during a global pandemic as well, was overwhelming and it will be a poignant moment in my life forever.

“The pandemic affected so many of us in so many different ways. To be in lectures and within the university community one moment to then being locked down and having to learn online the next was a process that took its toll.”

Georgia, who has chronic arthritis, has campaigned throughout the pandemic for people who live with the condition to have a voice in determining the support they need. Alongside her work with the charity Versus Arthritis, Georgia has returned to the University of Worcester to start a Master’s degree, also in education.

She added: “As well as my studies, I have the wonderful opportunity to work closely with the Department of Education and Inclusion at the University, facilitating a mentoring programme for our new students this academic year,” she said. “Mentoring is a field of particular interest for me, and I am looking forward to gaining more experience in this during my Master’s and further into my career.”

Harriet McDonald, from Alcester, who studied accountancy, said she was ‘delighted and incredibly proud’. The 23-year-old is currently training to be a qualified accountant with an accountancy firm in Cheltenham.

She said: “It took a bit of time to adapt to a different way of learning. However, it unknowingly prepared me very well for what is now my working from home life, with my industry placement year also helping me with settling into a full-time role following graduation.”

University of Worcester Deputy Vice Chancellor and Provost, Professor Sarah Greer, added: “The class of 2020 faced some unique challenges in completing their final year, in very difficult external circumstances. I congratulate them all on their degrees, earned through their hard work and dedication in the face of adversity. I would also thank our outstanding academic staff who worked really hard to support students to achieve their full potential. Our students who earned a First Class Honours should rightly feel very proud of their outstanding achievements and I wish them all the very best in their future careers.”

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