After starting university life during the pandemic, working on a project in Nepal and winning an award for mentoring young people in Liverpool, Grace Belcher completed “three incredible years” with LJMU today.
Grace graduated with her course mates from the BA (Hons) Sociology programme and hundreds of students from the School of Humanities and Social Science at this afternoon’s ceremony at Liverpool Cathedral.
Following the ceremony, Grace said: “It's a surreal feeling after so many years of studying. The world is a completely different place now compared to when my degree started. Overall, I am proud of how I dealt with everything and so grateful to have spent three incredible years getting to know new people, a new place and new ways of thinking.”
“I will always be grateful to my lecturers”
Grace began studying at LJMU in 2020 at a time when the UK was still facing significant restrictions due to the pandemic. She says the national challenges of remote learning and restricted socialising were just part of her university experience: “For me, this hasn’t defined my experience but is just another part of it. Honestly, I was just pleased to be at university so I had something to do. When I came here, I told myself I should do as well as I can in order to make the experience worth my time and money. Looking back, this is quite a simplistic way to think of it, but defining my terms and being clear on why I was there gave me motivation.
“My lecturers were transparent about what they were assessing which meant I had the creativity to construct my own essay titles and follow my own ideas rather than those prescribed to me. This was so fulfilling and I will always be grateful to my lecturers for allowing me that freedom.”
In addition to her studies, Grace has also taken other opportunities to develop her skills during her time at LJMU. Her work as a mentor with local charity Reach Out earned her an award for Best Volunteer: “I wanted to do something to support the local community and be an engaged member of society. Reach Out’s mission is to support young people in growing their character and confidence.
“We would do academic activities and play games with a character focus such as developing self-control or encouraging good judgement. I was a mentor for two years and a project leader for one - having these different roles meant I could develop different skills, thus growing my own character.”
Through the Turing Scheme, Grace also travelled to Nepal to support the work of Dr Sara Parker with a collaborative research project called ‘Dignity Without Danger’, which addresses menstrual hygiene and awareness.
They visited a Nepalese school to share experiences with students, attended World Menstrual Hygiene Day and took part in a cycle rally to raise awareness of menstrual hygiene.
Grace’s advice for anyone considering studying at LJMU: “There are so many opportunities at LJMU and in Liverpool more widely, whether that be volunteering, paid internships through UniTemps, societies, sports or Go Abroad schemes.
“Speak to people, look online and keep your eyes peeled. There are loads of enriching things to discover, so make the most of those opportunities.”
Day four of summer graduation
Across Thursday’s three ceremonies, hundreds of students graduated from the Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies. You can find pictures from today’s ceremonies on the LJMU graduation webpages and on LJMU’s social media channels.