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Student hopes to inspire daughter with graduation journey

Susan Fitzpatrick, aged 40 from Belfast, will graduate today (Friday 17 July) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computing and Information Technology from the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Queen’s University.

Lanyon 20.07.2018 close-up from side

Susan will graduate despite losing her beloved partner, Peter, during her second year of studies in November 2017, determined to provide her daughter with a better future. 

Susan said: “I took a huge leap and left the job I was in for 10 years to embark on an exciting journey to educate myself further, with the hopes of securing a better future for my daughter, Yasmin, and myself. I believe that actions speak louder than words so rather than live by the attitude of ‘do what I say not what I do’, my intention was to be a better role model for Yasmin and show her that any dream is possible.” 

However, only a few months into her second year of studies, Susan’s world was turned upside down when her partner Peter passed away very suddenly in Canada. He was cremated in Canada and his parents could not bring him back to Belfast to be laid to rest until July 2019.  

Susan continued: “Peter’s mother reminded me that he was proud of me and my degree journey, he would want me to succeed. Looking back, I don’t know how I managed to find the strength to continue but I persisted and buried myself in my studies. I knew if I took any time off, I would probably never return to complete my degree. 

Susan turned 40 the day she received her degree classification of a 2:1. Her daughter Yasmin also has an unconditional offer from Queen’s for BSc Computer Science.  

Susan continued: “Not only did I persevere and complete my degree, but I successfully set a good example for my daughter to follow her dreams and go get whatever she wants from life.” 

“I turned 40 the day I received my degree classification of a 2:1. Not only did I persevere and complete my degree, but I successfully set a good example for my daughter to follow her dreams and go get whatever she wants from life. 

“With being a single parent, I had to work the entire course of my degree. I held down a job, ran a house, studied hard and grieved all while raising a daughter. To be honest, if it wasn't for her, I never would have got through it. She helped and supported me more than I ever could have asked or expected. I am prouder of her maturity and development than I am of my own achievements.” 

Susan secured a placement in PwC for its Tech Academy over Easter 2017. This led to securing a business placement August 2018-August 2019. PwC kept her on as a part time contractor when her placement ended, and she’ll continue in this role until her graduate position begins in September 2020. 

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Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS), School of Law, The Senator George J Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice

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