Leanne Kelday – BSc Applied Social Sciences

Leanne Kelday
Having endured an isolating pandemic experience, a determined 24-year-old who battled with self-doubt and lack of motivation is graduating with a First - Class Honours in BSc Applied Social Sciences.

Leanne Kelday came to Aberdeen from Orkney to pursue her degree after her hometown only offered her a limited number of courses. The resilient student had to overcome her personal struggles to achieve her bachelor’s, and as she takes the stage to celebrate, the inspiring graduate is looking back at her journey.

“I've never had much faith in myself when it comes to education, so graduating from university with a first-class honours degree is a very surreal experience for me. There were times when I wondered if I'd even make it to the end because I was constantly doubting myself, but I did. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and looking back on my time at RGU there is not one thing that I would change.

“Studying during a pandemic was one of the most difficult things I've ever done. It was challenging to transition from being so social at RGU to suddenly being stuck inside my flat. The hardest part was coping with a lack of motivation.

“However, I was desperate to obtain my degree, and I enjoyed all of my modules, which made the experience a little easier. I consider myself fortunate because if I hadn't had university to focus on, I have no idea how I would have managed.”

Despite the challenges, the 24-year-old is thankful for RGU’s support services available to students. Discussing her experience, she said: “During my final year, I took advantage of RGU's employability services. They helped me with my CV, interview advice, and tips, as well as building my confidence during my interviews.

“RGU provides a wide range of student services, including a nightline service that provides us with listening and support after hours, which I think is incredible, especially given the growing number of people in society who struggle with their mental health.”

RGU: Nightline is a student-led peer-to-peer helpline that offers a non-judgmental, confidential, and anonymous listening and support service outside of university academic hours.

Discussing what drew her to the degree, Leanne said that Social Sciences allow her to see the world in a different light and think differently about the society in which we live.

“Every individual lives a unique life within society, with social and psychological factors playing an important role in that life. Understanding the reasons behind certain situations that many people face fascinates me. I knew this degree would help me towards my dream job.”

Leanne is currently working as a volunteer counsellor for ChildLine, a free and confidential service available year-round to support children and young people, whatever their worries or concern, whether it’s bullying, abuse, self-harm, or family relationships. She was recently offered a position with Aberdeen City Council to help prevent and alleviate homelessness in the city.

About her time at RGU, she said: "RGU has provided so much support to its students, and this has really prepared me for the outside world. I have noticed that my confidence has grown since the beginning of my journey, and this has allowed me to achieve things I never thought I could.”

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