First Class Effort

A change of direction proved to be just what Environmental Resource Management student Blair Hershaw needed after dropping out of his first degree.

The 24-year-old from Dunfermline, Fife, has graduated with a first-class honours degree from Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) after deciding Chemical Engineering was the wrong career for him.

“SRUC really appealed to me because of the types of courses it offered – which were a lot different to what I had previously studied – and because the learning experience seemed more personal, with much smaller class sizes and friendly, approachable staff,” he said.

“I have always had an interest in sustainability and the impact that we are all having on the planet, and I felt this course would provide me with the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue a sustainability-related career.”

Blair Hershaw

Blair Hershaw graduates with a first class honours degree

As part of his course at SRUC’s Edinburgh campus he did an internship with Scottish Water, where he learned about new software and how to produce reports, as well as refining his presenting skills.

On the social side, he joined – and became president of – the Rock Climbing and Mountaineering Club.

The biggest challenge he faced during his studies was in his last year when he had to change his dissertation topic at the end of the first term.

“I was not able to collect the data I needed for my original idea,” he said. “This then left me with less than three months to complete my entire dissertation. I overcame this by doing all my remaining assessments for my other courses well in advance so that I could concentrate solely on my dissertation, and by communicating a lot with my supervisor – meeting several times a week and keeping them up-to-date with my progress.”

The experience hasn’t put Blair off studying – he is now applying to do a Masters degree.

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