A family trend-setter

Seeing your child depart to start life at university can be a tough experience for parents, but Linda McGovern was sure that her daughter Melissa (BA English, 2016) would make a success of it.

Melissa is the first member of the family to attend university and chose Birmingham after researching the English course and then visiting campus.

Linda said: ‘Melissa wasn’t sure if her grades would be good enough to be accepted at Birmingham but it was typical of her that she put in the hard work to get through.

‘She then kept on pushing herself throughout her degree and has gained the rewards for that, and is now working for the Lloyds Banking Group on its digital graduate scheme. I believed she could do it and we are all incredibly proud of her.’

Linda knew little about university in general, and Birmingham specifically, although she did speak to her cousins to learn more.

The size and scale of campus and the Vale stuck in her mind when she dropped Melissa off for Welcome Week and other parents may be able to relate to Linda’s concerns about drugs.

‘I wanted Melissa to enjoy herself but also behave appropriately and not treat it like a party. I have a very strong anti-drugs stance and was very worried about that, but she was fine,’ she added.

Homesickness was also an issue but the family had agreed before Melissa started her degree that she should battle through it.

‘I was strong with her that if it happened, she should be brave and determined,’ said Linda. ‘She did admit she was feeling homesick in one of her early calls home but was able to stick it out. It wasn’t easy for me either initially but we knew it was the right thing to do.

‘Her time at University has transformed her – she has come out of her shell, is now very independent and has truly grown up as a person.’