A pair of graduating friends have been through some major highs and lows throughout their final year at Uni – from a serious car crash which left one with a broken back, to an arty pineapple prank which saw both students interviewed by the world’s media.
Fraserburgh-born Lloyd Jack (22) and classmate, Ruairi Gray (22) from Edinburgh, both graduated from Robert Gordon University’s (RGU) School of Computing Science and Digital Media with a BSc (Hons) in Business Information Technology.
The duo, whose friendship was formed at RGU, were involved in a horror smash on New Year’s Day and both were taken to hospital where Lloyd was told he had a fractured spine which left him in a brace for eight weeks
However, despite the major incident the two students have gone on to achieve first class honours degrees with Lloyd winning ‘Best Honours Project’ in his final year and Ruairi taking the class prize for highest academic achievement in third year.
“I have an interest in project management so chose to study Business Information Technology to develop my skills that I may need for a role in project management in the future,” Lloyd said.
“Overall my experience at RGU has been great and the years have flown by so quickly, a highlight of my time was graduating with my peers and not allowing the crash to slow me down at the last hurdle."
Ruairi added: “I have very much enjoyed my time at university, not only because of my course but through the wide range of interesting people I have met and new experiences and opportunity I have had access too – I’ve tried everything from boxing to white water kayaking.”
Speaking on the crash, which had the potential to ruin both the friends hard work at University, Lloyd said: “Breaking my back just four hours into 2017 definitely wasn't expected but I was relieved because, given the state of the taxi we were travelling in, things could’ve been a lot worse.
“For the first two months after the crash I had to wear a back brace so couldn't sit at a computer for very long which made it difficult to focus on my coursework.”
Ruairi added: “The crash was a traumatic experience leading to me being off university for a few weeks directly prior to my 4th year exams suffering from concussion and soft tissue damage in my knee. Thankfully in despite of this experience I was still able to secure a 1st class degree.”
Lloyd and Ruairi were also involved in a story while at RGU which went viral and was covered by global media, from Russia to Canada. After placing a pineapple on a stand at RGU’s Look Again art and design Festival on campus, the friends weren’t prepared for what was to happen next.
Lloyd said: “A week or so before it happened I said to Ruairi I really want something memorable to happen before we finish Uni and I definitely got what I asked for.
“As soon as we realised the pineapple which we left had been put in a display case we couldn't believe it and my first thought was it needed to be on Twitter and Facebook.
“Then, an old school friend who writes for the Daily Mail got in touch to write a story and from there it blew up.
“Next thing I know, our trivial act of leaving a pineapple on a shelf has gone viral and we’re being interviewed by the likes of The New York Times and on live Canadian TV and radio.”
Ruairi added: “I am still amused and amazed that placing a pineapple, bought for £1 on a study break, in the middle of an art exhibition would lead to me being in more than 130 newspapers globally, including Time Magazine and The New York Times, along with being interviewed on STV News and Canadian National News.”
Lloyd and Ruairi are now looking to the future and using their degrees and experiences from their time at Uni to get a foot on the career ladder.
Lloyd said: “Nothing is set in stone yet but I will be looking to use my degree to help me secure a role in industry as a business analyst or consultant. I also have a couple of ideas for potential start-ups which I will be exploring further.”
Ruairi added: “Although I was offered a place on a general graduate scheme I turned it down as I would prefer to find a job that allows me to directly apply the knowledge that I have gained during my time at RGU blending together computing and business.”