Innerleithen mum who failed school exams achieves first-class honours degree

School life wasn’t easy for Innerleithen mum Jordan Daly. She failed her exams due to a debilitating condition, and the future looked bleak.

By Hilary Scott
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 10:37 am
Jordan with fiance Jack and daughter Augustine.
Jordan with fiance Jack and daughter Augustine.

However, this inspirational young woman, is now giving hope to those sitting their exams this month, after graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with a first-class honours degree.

It’s been an incredible journey for the 24-year-old who has Hereditary Multiple Exestosis – HME. A genetic condition which causes growths at the end of bones.

The student missed the most important years of her life at secondary school because of crippling pain which brought on seizures.

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This resulted in her pulling out of school in fifth year to study at home. “The pain was chronic, and the brunt of it was towards my last couple of years at high school,” she says. “My English teacher was good enough to come to my house once a week to tutor me for Higher English.”

However, Jordan had missed a lot of work, and strong medication to manage her condition, took their toll during her exams.

Despite the set-back, Jordan enrolled in a creative industries programme through Queen Margaret University and Borders College. “You get to pick what sector you want to go into, and I chose journalism. I did all the HNC modules for that during sixth year at high school, “ she said.

“I was still very unwell and having seizures. I couldn’t have the same intensive high school experience as other pupils did in my year group. I only took on two Highers, so I had a lot of free time and had my own areas I could go to if I was feeling unwell.”

Walking out the doors of Peebles High School, without the grades she had hoped for didn’t spell the end of Jordan’s dreams – it was only the beginning.

She says: “Because I didn’t achieve the results I needed, I had to go to Borders College where I studied digital media, and onto City of Glasgow College for television.

But Jordan’s dreams of a career in television were not to be, and she describes the moment when it all came crashing down, as “devastating”.

"My lecturer was like, ‘we need to be more realistic about your goals and maybe consider a desk job’. He was right. Because of my condition, I wasn’t physically capable of carrying all the equipment and doing the big shoots.”

Asked how she felt about her future after hitting yet another stumbling block, she said: “When I finished my television course, and was told that I couldn’t do that as a career, I was devastated. Not just because I wasn’t physically capable of it, but because I worked so hard to get there.”

But the best was yet to come. Jordan picked herself up, put on her robe, and graduated with a first class honours in Cyber Security Networks, in July.

And she had more than a scroll to the clutch in her hands, as she became a mum to baby Augustine in February. “She arrived two weeks early when I was doing my dissertation.”

Jordan is now looking forward to a bright future, as she prepares to move to Jedburgh with fiance Jack and their baby at the end of this month.

To the students currently sitting exams right now, the first-class graduate has this message: “My plan was to get through high school, go to university and get a job. That’s what society teaches you.

"But there are stepping stones in between that, little side roads and alleys you can take to achieve your dream. There’s always another path. I got where I wanted to be in life – they key is not to give up.”