Tetyana Chetin, BSc Psychology with Criminology is the student speaker at her graduation. A Ukrainian mother of two children, she balanced work, motherhood and study to achieve success.

By Eve Lacroix (Communications Officer), Published (Updated )

“It feels amazing to be graduating. I’ve been dreaming about this day since I was 16,” said Tetyana Chetin, student speaker for the School of Health & Psychological Science (SHPS) at her graduation ceremony earlier in July. “It feels like a huge accomplishment in my life.”

The Ukrainian mother-of-two had not been able to study straight out of school due to personal circumstances but returned to education as a mature student.

Tetyana Chetin in her graduation robes and mortarboard
Tetyana Chetin, BSc Pyschology with Criminology (2023) in her graduation robes and mortarboard

She was accompanied by her husband and her two “lovely and naughty” sons, aged nine and 11. The week was extra special for the family as they celebrated two graduations in one week.

“Yesterday my eldest became a big boy: he is moving into secondary school and had his own graduation!” she said.

Tetyana was surprised to have been chosen as the student speaker for SHPS until her lecturer sent her a description of her achievements: parenting two children, working and studying.

Tetyana continued to work throughout her studies.

She had worked in various retail and real estate roles in her early twenties. A few years after immigrating to the United Kingdom, in 2016, she was appointed the Managing Director of the UK-based company UBG Corporation Limited which collaborates with Ukrainian companies to help support Ukrainian people settle in the UK.

There are many layers to helping people integrate into a new country, and UBG helps children get registered to new schools, finds English language classes for adults and helps source accommodation.

“It was hard,” she admits of juggling parenting, studying and working. “Time management is key. Earning my degree was possible thanks to family support from my husband and my kids. My close friends who were there to support me and encourage me were crucial.”

She crossed the Barbican Centre stage to pick up her certificate for a BSc Psychology and Criminology.

“I chose to study the BSc Psychology with Criminology because I really wanted to better understand people’s minds and behaviour,” she said. “I’m also really interested in criminology as a science. Using psychology, I wanted to see how we could better understand criminals to hopefully prevent crime.”

She hopes to one day earn her master’s, but for now she is taking a break from studying to pursue a career path in organisational psychology.

Addressing her fellow students, she encouraged them to believe in themselves and remember that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

She began her studies at an uncertain time in 2020, in the midst of the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. In 2022, her second year, the outbreak of the war in Ukraine further  affected her personal and academic life.

In her speech, she addressed her fellow graduates:

This journey took us through different phases of education, from online classes to blended learning, until finally in our third year, experiencing the essence on on-campus university life.

Amid all the hurdles and hardships, we adjusted, learned and became stronger.

Reflecting on her own journey, she said: “Standing before your today, I prove that it’s never to late to dream, to follow your dreams and to achieve them. Keep dreaming. If you have a passion and determination, everything is possible.”

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