I worked in contract catering for fifteen years and was a chef manager until I enrolled on an Access to HE Diploma at New College Nottingham. The Cambridge course is mind expanding and cutting edge in its research. Some of the things we learn about have not even made it into text books yet! I have learned to think in a different way and look at things that are presented to me with a critical eye. I’ve received many things from College: pastoral support when I thought I wasn’t going to make it; financial support when it was tough going and I needed a little extra; a laugh and a cup of tea from the library staff when the library seemed bigger than me. The opportunities that are before me now are so vast I feel spoilt for choice.

I left my school in Hampshire at sixteen, spending six years as a nanny before my interest in child psychology inspired me to study independently for A-levels. As a mature student one of my biggest anxieties when starting university was fitting in. However, at Lucy Cavendish my worry was soon forgotten because within the students there is no such thing as a typical path or background. The friendly staff quickly made the College feel like home. Studying PBS here offers you the chance of being taught by leaders in the field of psychology. In addition the large emphasis placed on research and the opportunity to undertake individual projects enables you to graduate with more extensive practical experience than many other degrees offer.

I originally majored in Translation at Shanghai International Studies University and freelanced as an interpreter for several years prior to my arrival in Cambridge. At Lucy Cavendish, I've enjoyed lively and thought-provoking conversations with people from many cultural backgrounds and subject areas: theoretical debates with course-mates, re-examining the same topics from the perspective of other disciplines, listening to a PhD student telling me about her thesis... I have never felt so intellectually alive. The College has also given me a research grant for my second-year project on paranoia, and its relationship with traumatic experiences such as being bullied or abused. I hope my findings will help improve prevention and intervention programmes for children.


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