Paignton student celebrates First Class Honours 

A smiling Jess Francis with her First Class Honours degree certificate

Jess Francis celebrates her First Class Honours degree - Credit: Submitted

A student from Paignton has spoken about achieving First Class Honours in her university studies despite the disruption caused by the pandemic.

Jess Francis was among those to have completed their studies at the University of Worcester in this most turbulent of years.

Jess, 22, earned her First Class Honours in history and journalism.

“I still can’t believe it!” said the former Brixham College student.

“It was a really proud moment for both me and my family when I found out I’d achieved a First as I had my fair share of hurdles along the way.

“It was tough finishing my degree during the pandemic - both physically and mentally - but the support I received from my lecturers and tutors, as well as from the support services and counselling and mental health team at Worcester, was invaluable. To be fair, this was the case throughout the course, not just during the pandemic.

“I’ve never been a really confident person and have sometimes lacked self-belief,” Jess added. 

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“So, I just want to say a massive thank you to Christine Challand, whose feature writing module in second year was a real turning point for me as her encouragement and positivity gave me confidence.

"With this new-found confidence from my journalism lecturers, I submitted entries in two categories of the Midlands Media Student Awards and was shortlisted in both.”

Jess is now pursuing a career in journalism, possibly in the media department of her beloved Torquay United.

“My journalism placement at Torquay United Football Club helped me realise just how much I would love to work in the media department at a football club,” she said.

"I still volunteer there on match days and I just love it. So, I think ideally, I would love to work at a football club, but I also loved radio presenting and magazine production in the journalism side of my degree.”

University of Worcester deputy vice chancellor and provost, Professor Sarah Greer, said: “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.”