During an interview with The Star, a 24-year-old university graduate spoke about her journey to finish college and detailed how she sat her final exams while in labour with her first child. Brittania Simpson, a 2022 graduate of the University of the West Indies (UWI), stated, “I went into labour on December 15, 2020, and the exam I did while in labour was bio-energetics, and I got a B+ for it. It was an eight-credit course at UWI. Final exams had just started, and I was preparing straight up to the time. I had baby 8:46 a.m., and the following day, I went home in the afternoon and did another examination.”
Into her third year of college, working towards finishing her studies to earn her biotechnology degree, she became aware that her body was no longer hers alone. Simpson mentioned that since high school (attending the Foga Road High School in Clarendon), she has nurtured the dream of being the first person in her immediate family to go to college. Not wanting to terminate the pregnancy even though she was scared of what the outcome of keeping the baby would be, Simpson instead turned her attention to keeping her dream afloat while also looking towards raising a child. Her daughter’s name is Kaemonae.
Simpson shared that she found out about the pregnancy in March of 2020 when Covid had just begun to take root and she had mixed feelings at the time. Her main worry was how she was going to “complete a degree and raise a baby” but God helped her through it. Not wanting to sit out the year because she needed to be financially stable for her child, she pushed through and graduated despite the obstacles. Simpson also mentioned that her daughter was with her through her entire graduation process “from conception to birth” so her degree was for them both.
Simpson, a May Pen, Clarendon native, disclosed that it was extremely hard to navigate her final year at UWI because not only did she have to contend with financial problems and academics, but she also had a newborn to take care of. Online classes alleviated some of the stress, but she still had to get up early mornings to play catch up with reading materials and labs for her course. Mentioning that she felt like giving up at times, she credited Dr. Ruby Lindo as a huge motivator, and now that she is able to call herself a graduate of UWI, class of 2022 (the graduation ceremony was held on November 4), Simpson believes that her trials and accomplishments are an attestation to her trust in God.
The graduate stated that graduation was just the beginning of great things”, and the experience has humbled her. Having gotten through it all with the help of God, she wishes to motivate other young girls to fight for their dreams. “Whether or not you have the support, you can do it. You are able to beat all the odds,” she noted.
Comparing attaining her degree to seeing the light at the end of a dark tunnel, Simpson expressed her gratefulness to God for getting her through that time of her life. Looking to the future, she plans to put her degree to good use by getting a job in the biotechnology sector.