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Kathryn Webb

BA Linguistics and Language (French)

When she finished school, Kathryn Webb didn’t have the A-level grades to go onto university. Instead she went into the corporate world, where she was very successful. However, she says: 'I always felt that there was something missing. All of my friends and colleagues had degrees and I felt that I’d never really pushed myself to explore a subject fully or to develop myself intellectually.'

When she applied for a job at the Wimbledon School of English, she was given the job on the basis that she would study for a degree. Kathryn wasn’t aware that there was anywhere in London where she would be able to study in the evenings and work full-time during the day, but two of her colleagues who had previously studied at Birkbeck told her about the College and recommended it highly.

In September 2010, Kathryn came to an open evening at Birkbeck, and says: 'After the open evening I put in my application and incredibly quickly and painlessly I was accepted onto the BA Linguistics and Language (French) and started a few weeks later.'

Kathryn says that juggling work, study, relationships, family and friends has not been easy, but that it has been 'so rewarding'. She continues: 'Over the last three years I have become a much more organised and efficient person. I timetable my week and my weekend and prioritise my time now. I spend lots of time researching, reading and writing assignments at weekends.'

'The library has been a great resource, particularly the French-language DVD section. There are also more computers and study spaces available there now.'

'The tutors have been generally fantastic. They are aware that students are coming to class after a full day at work and make it their focus to maintain our interest right up until 9pm. Most of them are really dynamic, energetic and passionate about their subject, which means that I don’t even notice that it is 9 o’clock at night.'

'Of course, the students are motivated too,' says Kathryn, 'I’ve made many friends and we’ve been able to support one another. We practice French together, or discuss seminar topics and share articles. It’s been really interesting to see such a cross-section of ages, nationalities and backgrounds in the classes. Everyone is happy to share their opinion and it made me aware of all sorts of things I hadn’t thought of before.

“My whole way of thinking has changed throughout the process of studying for my degree and it’s had a huge impact on many areas of my life. I question what I read in the media now, it has made me more effective in discussions with friends and I can see different angles and perspectives that I just wasn’t aware of before.'

'I always thought that you should study something that would be of direct benefit to your career, but I’ve changed my opinions about that now. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this learning experience simply for the learning, growing and self-development. Although at times I felt frustrated at having to study certain texts, now that I’m able to distance myself I can completely understand how they fit into the bigger learning process.'

'I am starting my final year now and I’m really looking forward to it. I feel like a changed person.'

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'I can see different angles and perspectives that I just wasn’t aware of before.'