Finalist who took her baby along to lectures graduates with a first

She had to leave classes to breastfeed her son


A 23-year-old mum who finished her degree while looking after her baby has graduated with a first.

Ava Sim got the top class Business Management degree alongside looking after her son Leo, leaving classes to breastfeed and working a part time job.

She even had to finish off the course while pregnant with her second child.

To top it off, determined Ava travelled a whopping 600 miles from her home in the Shetland Islands for tutorials and exams to uni in Aberdeen at Robert Gordon University.

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Ava, baby Leo and her partner James Johnston at graduation

Ava, whose second baby is due within days, told The Times: “I’m really pleased, I was determined to get that first-class degree.

“I’ve always enjoyed all aspects of university and when I fell pregnant with Leo I decided that wasn’t going to stop me.

“I made the first trip with Leo when he was five weeks old.”

Ava admitted she found uni “challenging but extremely rewarding”.

She added: “In my final year, I have been balancing my studies with working part-time, caring for my toddler, managing the household, maintaining extra-curricular activities and being pregnant with my second child.”

Ava took a gap year after leaving school, then went to study Business Management at Robert Gordon University.

She lived in Aberdeen for two years before moving back to Shetland to continue studies through distance learning after having Leo, who is now nearly two.

The student mum wrote her dissertation on workforce sickness absence rates, while working for Shetland Islands council part time.

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Ava had to travel 600 miles to get to uni in her final year

She also found time to play netball and hockey and now plans to take a break before starting a job.

Ava said: “I would like to pursue a career in either business development, consultancy or human resource management.

“Up until now I have mainly worked for the local authority, so I’m looking for a new challenge.

“I’m also considering doing a master’s degree in either HRM or leadership and management.

“I am finding it difficult to decide at the moment as I have enjoyed all of the modules I have studied throughout the course.”