Our class of 2021 really are something to shout about. They’ve overcome challenges, helped others, grasped opportunities and developed their skills, showing their Essex Spirit in so many ways. And they’ve done it all during a pandemic when student life has been changed beyond recognition. We couldn’t be prouder of them so we’re telling their stories.
Wed 14 Jul 21
Determination, perseverance and supportive friends helped Freya Harvey complete her degree after family heartbreak left her behind with her studies and struggling to keep on top of deadlines.
Freya, who is graduating with a BA Sociology, chose Essex to be close to home, after her father was diagnosed with cancer. The decision meant she was able to spend time with him before he died early in her final year.
When she knew her father’s illness was terminal, at the end of her second year, Freya worked hard to get ahead: “The prognosis had prepared me for the situation which allowed me to give myself a head start in regard to collecting, reading and analysing literature for my literature review over the summer,” she said.
However, it proved hard to keep up with lectures after she took two weeks off to grieve and spend time with her family.
Freya’s Dad was all the inspiration she needed: “My dad was always so supportive of my studies and was always really proud of my achievements so I knew that he would not want me to give up being so close to the finish line.”
"My dad was always so supportive of my studies and was always really proud of my achievements so I knew that he would not want me to give up being so close to the finish line."
A close-knit circle of friends and family helped and she also started seeing a counsellor which she said was “a massive help.”
“It was daunting in the beginning to ask for help but it’s been really transforming for me. It’s nice to have someone external to your life support you and remind you of how well you are doing,” she added.
Freya, who has always been interested in how society influences peoples’ everyday life, believes her sociology degree offers a lot of opportunities: “The advantage to a sociology degree is that you cover such a variety of topics which opens the door to so many opportunities.”
She has this advice for new students: “Whatever you decide to do, make sure it makes you happy.”