St Catherine scholar is first in family to earn tertiary degree

November 06, 2023
Samantha McGregor celebrating her bachelor’s degree.
Samantha McGregor celebrating her bachelor’s degree.

Walking across the stage at The University of the West Indies, Mona's graduation for the Faculty of Social Sciences last Friday, Samantha McGregor felt a great sense of pride and excitement.

This was not only because it was a star-studded affair, but it marked a momentous occasion in her life, as a first generation university graduate in her family.

"It's one of the greatest accomplishments and it was something that I wanted. It means that I have paved the way for my younger siblings to achieve whatever they want," McGregor told THE STAR. Graduating with second class honours, the 24-year-old majored in sociology, to explore the theoretical aspects to understand how society works and how humans interact with each other.

"At first, I wanted to be a lawyer, but after fourth form I decided I wanted to study sociology and become a social researcher. It was really at that moment that I thought about going to university because I don't remember thinking about applying before that," The Queen's School alumna said.

The eldest of six children, McGregor started her tertiary studies in 2017, and benefitted from funding from the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) for the course of the three-year programme. But her journey to her degree was tumultuous, as she struggled adjusting to her new environment. The Old Harbour, St Catherine, native worked at a call centre while studying but had difficulty with her scheduling, which at times, caused a conflict with her lectures.

"The ever-changing schedules [at work] made it hard for me to set routines and attend classes regularly which led to me failing some classes," she said. Despite this, she remained fervent in her efforts to achieve.

"I wanted to give up so many times, but my friends wouldn't let me and I appreciate the support they gave me. My brother also kept me motivated, as I just wanted him to be proud of his big sister," McGregor said.

McGregor has already commenced a master's degree in sociology and intends to pursue another master's programme in psychology, followed by a doctorate.

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