Graduate completes degree whilst juggling caring responsibilities after the loss of her parents

Fine Art graduate Abigail Collins started her degree expecting to focus on her studies and settle into a new chapter of her life.

However, in the summer before she started at Loughborough University her father was diagnosed with a brain tumour, whilst her mother also underwent continued treatment for cancer.

A month into her first year, Abigail’s father sadly passed away, and at the end of her second year she decided to take some time out to spend time with her mother and look after her.

Tragically, her mother also passed away before she started her final year and Abigail and her younger sister, Ellie, became parental guardians to their younger brother, Nathanael.

Despite the enormous challenges she faced juggling caring responsibilities, dealing with the loss of her parents and working towards her degree, Abigail overcame them and is graduating from Loughborough University.

Abigail credits Grace Church in Loughborough and the University’s Christian Union for their support. She said: “I can’t stress enough how important this was in terms of my university experience. The friends I made here were vital to me processing what was going on in my life.”

Her tutors also helped with mitigating circumstances claims and deadline extensions when she needed them, as well as supporting her with the time off that she needed to be with her family.

She commented: “I think to find a university that is not only well respected but has great pastoral support is quite difficult. At Loughborough, I was able to have both.”

On graduating, Abigail said: “It’s really great to be finally graduating. It doesn’t feel quite real. I’m very proud to have completed my course.”

Abigail is starting a degree at Coventry University in the autumn as she plans to become a paediatric nurse. 

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 20/140

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2020 QS World University Rankings and University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2019.

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 4th in the Guardian University League Table 2020, 5th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 and 6th in The UK Complete University Guide 2021.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.