1st in their families to acquire a university education

…say now able to break barriers, work towards improvement of self, country

Being the first in your family to acquire a university education is quite a proud moment for both the graduate as well as their family as many understand the power of education. That is, how it can transform lives and contribute to building more prosperous and modern societies.

Anika Jack, Bachelor of Science in Medical Rehabilitation

Hailing from the village of Stanleytown on the West Bank of Demerara, 21-year-old Anika Jack is graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Medical Rehabilitation. Jack shared that her journey through UG was not an easy one, but she is very proud that she stayed the course and could now move on to a career she always wanted in the medical field.
“Coming straight from high school I had to transition into the environment, and knowing that I had no prior experience in the health field I had to work my way up from that. It was hard at first but I met people who have aided in me being here today and for that I am thankful.”

Rijendra Jagroop, Associate Degree in Architecture

Though the challenges were many, Jack was confident that she would persevere because of her love to work with persons who are recovering and to help them regain their strength to live a normal life.
According to the young medical professional, she feels very proud to be the first in the family to graduate from the University of Guyana. “This is an extremely proud moment for me and I am very thankful for all the opportunities I have been given, I will use my skills to help change lives, especially to those who are poor and powerless,” she said.
Jack added that her exposure at UG has benefitted her immensely as she is now more confident and equipped with the skills to serve in the medical profession. “I am in a better position to improve myself and serve my country,” she happily noted.

Juneva Lynch, Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Imaging

For Rijendra Jagroop, his journey through the University of Guyana has changed his life in many regards, “My journey at UG began quite hard because I initially started in 2018 and I found it a bit hard to communicate and network with people and it resulted in me discontinuing the programme and I didn’t feel like coming back but I had to and I had to get the job done. I had to come back.”
He emphasised that UG has made him become a more confident and motivated individual as he can now relate better with his peers. He added that the lecturers and support systems offered by the university made it easier for him.
The aspiring engineer will be graduating with an Associate’s Degree in Architecture.
Relating that he comes from a farming background, Jagroop said that he is extremely proud that he is the first in his family to acquire a university education and will forever be grateful for the opportunity as he can now make way for his other siblings to follow the same path, “My parents only completed their studies at the secondary level. They didn’t get the opportunity as I did to get a tertiary education. I feel very proud that I am breaking barriers and I am creating a pathway for my siblings,” the proud graduand said.
Jagroop is on a mission to complete his Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture and ultimately move on to his Master’s in Urban Planning.

Parmesh Parsotam, Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering

Lost mom
For twenty-three-year-old Juneva Lynch, completing her studies at the University of Guyana is quite an accomplishment. An emotional Lynch related that she lost her mom when she was only three years old, adding that her mom would have been extremely proud of her academic accomplishment.
After finishing high school, Juneva, who hails from Agricola, had hopes of attending the University of Guyana but she had to get a job in order to get finances so she could have supported herself.
When asked to describe her journey at UG, the young medical professional said: “My overall journey was a great one, it was a bit challenging in my first and second years since I went and worked straight out of high school and I had to readapt myself to academics.”
In relation to the programme of study, Juneva expressed: “I really enjoyed the programme because it is a very practical and hands-on course. It is a very thorough programme which prepares students well for the working environment.”

Feel accomplished
Parmesh Parsotam, 25, who hails from the Essequibo Coast, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), expressed elation that he is first in his family to have acquired a university education.
Upon completion of his studies at the Essequibo Technical Institute, Parsotam explained that he was determined to acquire a university education which would make him better equipped for the working environment. He then made a decision to move closer to the University of Guyana where he began renting an apartment in Industry, ECD.
Parsotam, who now works with the Ministry of Home Affairs, highlighted that he was always fascinated with construction and knew that he had to pursue studies in that area. “My father is into that type of work and I always had a passion for construction. I always find myself having an interest in it. Going to high school I was kind of confused as to what I wanted to become but I was advised by my mother who noticed I had a feel for it so I decided to pursue a career in Civil Engineering.”
Parsotam thanked his parents for the sacrifices they made for him to attend the University of Guyana. “When it comes to my family, in terms of academics, my mother and father didn’t pursue it due to other challenges. They did not get the chance. They always told me that I got the opportunity and support to go ahead. I feel accomplished, I feel happy that I could have fulfilled their wishes because they made a lot of sacrifices in terms of sending me here and I also felt very happy to set an example for my smaller brother so that he could follow the path of a professional career,” said the young engineer.
Like the March 2021 Convocation, events this year will be even more special since the university administration is consistently underscoring that the great resilience displayed by students to complete their degrees in very difficult circumstances of COVID-19 deserves to be richly applauded and celebrated.
A record number of attendees are expected this year since due to the online nature of the event, there will be no limit to the number of invitees who can join the proceedings.
This article submitted by the University of Guyana is the first of a series which will be shining the spotlight on graduands who will be the first in their families to graduate from UG.