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Graduation 2015: Twice as nice

Rajinder Kaur Wednesday 22 July 2015

Law and Social Policy graduate Rajinder Kaur is celebrating a double win after being named top performing student in both Law and Social Policy.

“My academic journey as an undergraduate happened by chance really. The decision to study at university while being a full time mother of four was not something I had envisaged, or something I thought I would be at all capable of doing. I was working full time, raising my children and was an active community volunteer, when the unfortunate happened. I suddenly became unwell, isolated and alone, and it was through a community social work team that my passion to revive my suppressed ambitions were realised.

“Throughout my three-year journey studying a combined BA Law and Social Policy degree, the support from my tutors, Student Wellbeing and staff on all levels within Liverpool Hope University has been tremendous. Without the support received through Student Wellbeing none of what has been achieved would have been possible. I found myself visiting the drop-in sessions almost every day, full of worry and apprehension. The support received from all of the team has made me feel as though I am a part of this institution, and what a wonderful warm place it is.

“It is difficult for me to pinpoint a single highlight through my time at university. However, what does stand out is the very first achievement – finally getting a place at university, which in itself was an unbelievable achievement! The second is when I was awarded the Dean’s Award for academic excellence for the first two years of study, which was a very pleasant surprise. Having received this award, I somehow felt as though I might just be able to achieve my end goal in 2015. The certificate sits proudly on the mantelpiece and I look at it from time to time and think, ‘is that really mine?’.

“It always brings a huge smile to my face when I remember the very first time I sat in a Social Policy lecture. The lecture was being delivered by a fresh, passionate and vibrant individual, a topic which was of resonance to me having had grown up during the infamous 1980’s race riots. This particular lecture, which was delivered by Dr Joe Greener, will always be among one of the best Social Policy lectures I have attended and helped me to realise that change can only ever be made, when made from within.

“I will never forget that I was about to give up my academic journey in Social Policy early into level C, but Senior Lecturer Dr Laura Penketh helped me to believe in myself and supported me immensely through challenging periods of uncertainty.

“My complex needs were recognised by all my tutors during level C and without the support from the Law department - in particular Mr John Sawyer and Mr Mike Ellis - I would never have continued with my studies at all. It was very difficult as a mature lady and a full-time mother to adapt to a teaching and learning environment, especially with regard to such a demanding subject as Law, and this all took time. I am so proud of and have the utmost respect for the Law department and for the academic support provided by them throughout my undergraduate degree. Although the subject of Law is challenging, this course will remain one of the highlights of my life and I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside individuals I otherwise may never have met. The Law course itself was taught very well and I have learnt so much. However, having studied the philosophy of Law I now appreciate there is so much to learn each day - no-one can ever know the Law as it changes all of the time.

“My Law and Social Policy degree has helped me develop an immeasurable amount of skill, specifically with regard to: people skills, research, verbal reasoning, a broader lexicon, essay writing and above all developing myself as an individual and as part of a wider community.  Still, I would say that believing in myself academically is something that may or may not come with time. 

“I cannot believe that three years have passed so quickly. Despite having achieved a first class Undergraduate degree, a full Postgraduate Scholarship 2015-2016, the Routledge Award and the Liverpool Hope University Award, I feel as though I have much more to do. I sincerely dedicate this award to my Law and Social Policy tutors, without who these achievements would not have been impossible. Having heard the news of these awards I initially thought there must be a mistake and I still have to pinch myself as anyone that knows me will say, ‘that’s just Rajinder’.

“In the future I hope to complete a Masters in Social Policy and to then pursue a career in academia, at Liverpool Hope University of course."

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