After finding issues she was passionate about in her degree, Melissa Higley now hopes to take that further and make a difference with a career in law.
Having switched courses to complete a Sociology degree, she is staying on at the University to do a Masters in Law.
“I think it was Sociology that made me want to go into Law,” she said. “It was a great stepping stone because it showed me the problems with issues of inequality, poverty, feminism, education and political issues, and then I decided I wanted to be in a position to help people affected by these issues. So, providing legal representation seemed a good fit for me. It's a great access course for students who want to go into law but don't have an undergraduate Law degree. I wasn't sure about what I wanted to do until second year so making it more accessible is great for students still figuring out their career paths and making a career in law still an option. I am really excited to continue my journey at Worcester for another year as I wasn't quite ready to leave just yet.”
But Melissa’s journey could have been quite different. She began her university studies on a completely different course, joint with Politics. Finding she was leaning more towards addressing current political and sociological issues both in her assignments and reading, her academic tutor suggested the switch to Sociology. “It was honestly the best advice looking back,” she said. “I found something I was both interested in and passionate about. I like talking about present issues that I myself was unaware of until I actually studied the course. I feel it's made me more considerate, analytical and confident when speaking in front of my classmates about important sociological issues.”
Now Melissa is set to graduate. “I feel quite accomplished and proud to be graduating,” she said. “When I first started and Covid had just hit I really didn't think I would be able to get here, but here I am! I think walking up and accepting my degree will be one of the proudest moments of my life and I think all students who are graduating should feel the same. I mean we got a degree during a global pandemic, so if we can do that then we can do anything!”
In future, Melissa’s ambition is to become a qualified solicitor, specialising in commercial and contract law.
“I am so happy to have gone to the University of Worcester,” added Melissa. “The support I have received has been phenomenal, particularly the mental health support systems and the academic tutors you get. They really care about you and want you to enjoy your experience. It's been a really positive experience.
“I think my best memory at Worcester would be the people. I have met so many talented, interesting and kind people here. I have been able to build strong relationships with my peers and lecturers and it has made me a lot more confident socialising with others, particularly after Covid. Everyone is rooting for you to do well and are genuinely interested in the papers you produce. It gave me such a self-esteem boost academically.”
The University’s annual autumn Graduation Ceremonies will take place as planned from September 12-14 in the beautiful and historic Worcester Cathedral followed by celebration receptions at the City Campus. No Worcester graduates have been affected by the marking and assessment boycott.
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