Press release

Dundee graduand doesn’t let dyslexia hold her back

Published on 14 July 2021

A student who thought she wouldn’t be able to complete the full four years of her higher education course due to her dyslexia will this week officially graduate from the University of Dundee

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After initially making the move from secondary school to university, Sara Paton worried she was not capable of getting through her undergraduate degree. However this week she will join thousands of her peers at the University of Dundee’s Summer 2021 Online Graduation Event.

Sara (21) was diagnosed with dyslexia when she was 12 years-old and was well supported throughout her time at the High School of Dundee, but worried that she wouldn’t receive the same level of support at university.

“The thought of going somewhere new was petrifying to me,” said Sara.

“After being so well supported for five years in high school, it was quite scary to make the move to somewhere unfamiliar, not knowing what support I could get and where I could access it.

“I honestly didn’t think I would see the four years through, but the University’s Disability Service has been great throughout my time here.”

Sara, who studied Environmental Science and Geography (MA), is one of over 3,000 undergraduate students graduating from the University this year. She will join her classmates at the School of Social Science’s virtual graduation event on Thursday 14 July.

Despite the challenges brought by her dyslexia, Sara’s dissertation, which looked at the impact Covid-19 had on air quality in the UK, brought in top marks, an achievement she never thought possible.

“This time last year I thought there was no way I could write a whole dissertation,” she said. “It was the dyslexia talking, I underestimated how much I actually knew and how much I could put down on paper.

“When the results came out, I was in complete shock. I received 20 marks out of 23 and at first thought it must be a mistake. I didn’t think the results were mine. It was so nice to see all that hard work had paid off.”

“I’ve always told myself I can do anything and try to remember that there’s people around me that want to help me achieve my goals. The support from the whole team in Disability Services has been amazing.

“Having dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. The support we receive ensures we’re on a level playing field with everyone else.”

In September Sara is continuing her studies, joining the University of Aberdeen to study primary teaching.

The University’s online graduation celebrations are taking place 14 - 16 July. Each ceremony will be live streamed from the University’s YouTube channel.


Hannah Adams

Media Relations Officer

+44 (0)1382 385131
Story category Graduation