It came as a shock to learn that it has been five years since I left Crossley Heath School and my position as Head Girl there. The majority of those five years have been spent within the alternate reality known as university; years which have gone by so fast that my time at Crossleys only seems like very recent history.
After completing my very eclectic choice of A-levels, I found myself struggling to narrow down the range of subjects I had enjoyed so much at Crossley Heath. I considered degree options as varied as English, biology, law and no degree at all but eventually decided I wanted to study politics and was offered a place at Lancaster University. I was lucky to find variety in my course at university too, gaining insights into areas of philosophy, economics, law and international relations.
Having spent what felt like more time at sports practice than in lessons at school, the Crossley Heath PE staff will be pleased to hear that the pull of competitive sport had just as much influence over me at university. Ever one to distract myself from my studies by getting aggressive on a pitch, I immediately threw myself into the vibrant world of university sport before any of the hard work and lectures had really begun. When I came across the lacrosse teams I remembered my mum telling me about how much she had enjoyed playing the sport during her time at Crossleys, back when it was the Crossley and Porter School. Having never played it myself, I thought I would follow in family tradition and give it a go. By the end of my first year at university, I was the president of the club. I kept this position for the next three years and, as both the men’s and women’s teams grew in size, so did our success in the BUCS league tables. We travelled across the country to play in matches and tournaments and in my third year I organised for the club to go on tour to Spain. Having this level of responsibility really built on the skills I had gained from being Head Girl and reaffirmed that giving 100% to something you’ve never tried before can lead to amazing opportunities and incredibly rewarding experiences.
In the summer of 2014 I graduated from Lancaster University and found myself just as unsure of which path to take as when I had completed my A-levels. I was reluctant to be admitted into adulthood and wasn’t ready to leave Lancaster and the student lifestyle. I applied to study a Masters degree in ‘Environment, Society and Culture’ at Lancaster, which was a complex but fascinating mix of biology, international environmental law and sociology. I found the course and the increased amount of work challenging but loved the intensity nonetheless. I completed my MA with Merit and have since used my knowledge to support environmental campaigns and community action.
In order to finance my extra year of study, I thought I’d try something different to the waitressing jobs that I had held since I was 15. I started working for the Student Union ‘Schools Outreach Team’. I was involved in a couple of ambitious projects, through which I helped plan, organise and deliver lessons to primary school pupils. I taught pupils from more than 30 schools and covered topics such as active citizenship, environmental awareness, democracy and outdoor learning. I adored working with the children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, and I felt I had finally found something that I could pursue further. Before completing my MA, I began the arduous application process for a graduate employer called ‘Teach First’ and was accepted onto the programme. Teach First is a charity which aims to combat educational inequality in the UK by placing graduates in some of the most disadvantaged schools across the country. In September 2016 I will be teaching my own class in a primary school and I will learn on the job in order to gain my PGCE.
Before I commit fully to working life, I will be setting off on a backpacking trip to Nepal, China and Japan, which begins at the end of March 2016. I look to the future with anticipation and look back with fondness and gratitude. My time at Crossley Heath undoubtedly equipped me with the skills and character that have afforded me such fantastic opportunities and I would like to thank everyone there for preparing me for the adventures ahead.