Lancaster law graduate goes viral after posting touching tribute for mum who died during final year exams

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By Katie King on

‘One of the last things she told me was to make sure I finish with a first class’

Image credit: Slick Photography

A Lancaster University graduand has racked up almost 21,000 retweets and 65,000 likes in a touching tribute to her mum who passed away during deadline season.

Opeyemi Ehimiaghe, an international student from Nigeria, graduated last week with a first class honours LLB. Law is the most difficult subject to get top marks in, with less than 14% of 2015/16 graduates leaving university with a first class degree.

Academic rigour aside, it’s hardly been an easy ride for Ehimiaghe. Her mother — Ehimiaghe’s only surviving parent — was struck with a brain tumour during the second year of her LLB studies. Her father’s brother supported Ehimiaghe financially during this time, while her mother’s siblings cared for their sister.

Despite a successful operation, Ehimiaghe lost her mother earlier this year as a result of septic shock. She tells us:

I lost her when I had deadlines, towards my final exams. But the last discussion I had with my mum was her telling me to keep my head up and make sure I finish with a first class or else she wouldn’t come for my graduation. So I went home for the funeral in April and as soon as I got back I remembered our conversation and decided to give it my best.

Her efforts paid off:

Almost 1,000 Twitter users flooded Ehimiaghe’s tweet with messages of support and congratulations, such as: “I seriously don’t know if I could do that. You’re so strong, well done”; “God bless you. Congratulations. She’s smiling down on you from heaven and is super proud”; and “This literally bought a tear to my eye. Congratulations beautiful, she would be proud.”

Ehimiaghe heaps praise on her family members and Lancaster University for supporting her during this emotionally turbulent time. She now hopes to return to the university for further study, but notes:

As international student, the fees I have to pay are just extremely high. So I’m looking, hoping and praying to get funding to further my studies.

Aspiring lawyer Ehimiaghe has been vocal about the difficulties she’s faced as an international student pursuing legal education in the United Kingdom.

Crowdfunding law school fees has become quite a trend. But Ehimiaghe, who wants to do a PhD, knows the chances of raising the hefty fees are slim, so: “that’s why I haven’t considered it.”

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