Graduate, Applied Criminal Justice Studies
We caught up with Kelly Parkins and her proud family on the day of her graduation ceremony. Kelly graduated with a First-Class Honour's degree and won the Critical Criminology award for her dissertation.
"My name is Kelly Parkins and I've just done Applied Criminal Justice Studies. It seems really surreal to be graduating and even more so, the fact that I've won an award. I only found out yesterday, it's a Critical Criminology Award for my dissertation and I got a first class degree.
I mean four or five years ago I never even thought I'd be able to study. I didn't think I had the intelligence or the ability to do it. I remember talking to guy who actually made the decision about me. I didn’t have the qualifications or anything and he wasn’t convinced, you could tell he was like hmmm, and then I saw him the other day and I said I've got a First you know.
I think the thing I'll miss the most about being at university, is all of it, I've not actually disliked any of it. I managed to organise my own work placement in a prison in West Yorkshire with woman. Amazing, amazing experience. I got so much from it.
There's a group of eight of us, I think actually ten of us by the end of the degree, all of us ladies that have just hung out together, we went to the races to celebrate last week and we've become really close, we text each other, meet for dinner and for drinks. I can see that we're probably going to become lifelong friends all of us.
I would say that probably one of the biggest things I've learnt since I've been here is actually belief in myself and my abilities. Now I believe I can go and make a difference which is why I want to do a Master's and possibly even further because I actually think now I can make a difference which I never did before, I just thought little old me whereas now I'm like yeah little old me."