After losing her mother during her studies, Kristina Petrauskyte knows that she would be proud of her as she graduates with First Class Honours.
Kristina, who decided to change careers by taking up an Accounting and Finance degree, cared for her mother after she was diagnosed with cancer during her second year.
“I had a long journey to graduate and I am happy and proud of my achievements,” she said. “My mother's dream was for me to finish the university and start working in an accounting firm. I know she would be proud of me achieving it and I am grateful to her for believing in me and supporting me.”
Originally from Lithuania, Kristina moved to the UK in 2004. The mother-of-one worked in the restaurant trade for 10 years alongside being a single parent. But she started looking for other options. Keen to do accounting or bookkeeping, she did some accounting qualifications, but was only able to get so far due to her personal responsibilities, so remained in restaurant management for another two-and-a-half years.
However, still wanting a change of career, she heard about the training options on offer at the University of Worcester through a friend who was studying there. She attended an Open Day, which convinced her to give it a go, starting in 2019.
However, following the outbreak of Covid-19 in early 2020, in December that year Kristina learned her mother had cancer. Unsure what to do, Kristina considered dropping the course, but ultimately decided to continue while helping her mother. She passed away in April 2021.
Kristina praised the support she had had in her learning journey. “I had a wonderful and very supportive course leader, who was the best tutor and course leader at that time,” she added. “She provided all the support and help I needed at the beginning of my course, as it was all very new to me and, being a much older student and a foreigner, I was worried I wouldn't fit in or be good.
“During my four years in the university, I had people around me who supported and helped me to move forwards, be it tutors, fellow students, family or friends. The mitigating circumstances gave me needed time. Firstpoint [the University’s student services facility] assisted me with information and options with decision making. Course leaders and tutors were always available and supportive with any issues. The workshops helping with future employability were helpful and useful. I am grateful for all of the University’s support and the available resources.”
Kristina, who did a 14-month work placement in a firm’s accountancy department as part of her degree, has started working in an accounting firm in Bromsgrove as an Associate Assistant and plans to get experience and complete the necessary courses to become a fully qualified accountant. “My plan is to get to know myself in the professional field and choose the career path that would make me happy and balanced in life,” she said.
The University’s annual autumn Graduation Ceremonies will take place as planned from September 12-14 in the beautiful and historic Worcester Cathedral followed by celebration receptions at the City Campus. No Worcester graduates have been affected by the marking and assessment boycott.
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