Graduating from Cambridge
It was not the graduation that Rachel had planned for, as she took part in the ceremony not in Cambridge’s Senate House – but in her kitchen in Fishermead. However, nothing could dent Rachel’s euphoria, she had just been awarded a first-class degree in History from Cambridge University – a fantastic accomplishment, and at least she has the knowledge that her Zoom graduation ceremony was a first too!
Rachel joined the Academy in 2010 and it was clear from the start that she was an exceptional student, achieving outstanding results at both GCSE and A Levels. As she grew older, she recognised the importance of taking advantage of the opportunities that the Academy offered, taking on a leadership role in the ‘Interact’ group sponsored by the Rotary Club and becoming a valued member of the sixth form. Rachel’s sense of ‘giving back’ to her old school has meant that she has led some inspirational assemblies with the lower school and been keen to pass on her experiences.
Going to Cambridge was a huge step. Rachel chose to study at Murray Edwards College, a modern college with a 21st century outlook. It is a college for “bright women from a variety of backgrounds who want to work hard to achieve their potential, while making the most of the amazing opportunities offered at Cambridge.”
Although Rachel is a gifted student, adjusting to the rigours of Cambridge academic life was not easy and in the early days she doubted whether she was going to be successful. Her ‘love of learning’ and her sheer determination to do well meant that she soon felt comfortable. She began to really enjoy the opportunity to share ideas with equally talented students and staff who gave her the tools and encouragement she needed.
Rachel’s Cambridge experience was not all academic, she made a great group of friends in the first term and added to them throughout her three years. She volunteered as a Brownie Guide Leader, joined the vegan society, and supported work in the Junior Common Room (the equivalent of Student Voice) where she promoted access and ensured that students from all backgrounds felt welcome at Murray Edwards College.
Rachel is very enthusiastic about her last three years, as she reflects on her journey from Fishermead to Cambridge: ‘A price cannot be put on intellectual curiosity; any student who loves learning can be successful at university.’ We certainly appreciate Rachel as one of our alumni and a role model for all future students.