Author Archives: Isobel

Managing our mental health in an uncertain world: tips for employers and individuals in the return to the workplace

In recognition of World Mental Health Day 2021, we asked academics from our Department of Organizational Psychology to share practical advice for mental wellbeing as people make the transition back to the workplace.

If there is one thing that is certain well into the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that certainty is no more.

Looking back to Spring 2020, when the UK imposed its first lockdown, there was a clear message for workers: work from home if you can, otherwise continue to go to work.

Now, the situation is rather less clear-cut, and the uncertainty surrounding how organisations and individuals will return (or not) to former ways of working can be a source of considerable anxiety and stress.

As World Mental Health Day 2021 approaches on Sunday 10 October, we spoke to Dr Kevin Teoh and Dr Jo Yarker from our Department of Organizational Psychology to learn more about how we can look after our mental health as we navigate this period of transition.

Why is this a particularly difficult time for people’s mental health?

“What the research has shown is that people are really depleted,” explains Dr Jo Yarker, Reader in Occupational Psychology. “All of these extra demands have been on us in terms of home demands, working in different ways and having to think about the way we do things that we used to take for granted. This has taken up a lot of energy, so many people are going back into this transition from a depleted state. We also haven’t had holidays and the opportunity to restore in the same way.”

For Dr Kevin Teoh, Senior Lecturer in Organisational Psychology, it is difficult for individuals to take care of the ‘ABC’s of mental wellbeing in the current climate: “As individuals, we need autonomy, belonging and competence to support out mental wellbeing,” he explains. “In other words, we need freedom and control over how we do things, the chance to connect with other people and to feel like we can get things done. Everything that’s going on in the world right now is hitting these areas; we’ve lost a lot of freedom, we aren’t connecting with each other physically and some people who have been made redundant or were on furlough may be asking if they can get through this. A lot of workers will be struggling to meet at least one or two of these needs right now.”

What can employers do to support positive mental health in the transition back to work?

For both Kevin and Jo, mental health at work is a collective responsibility. As Jo explains, “Often employers have been going through the same challenges as their workers, but they’ve had to put a brave face on it and pretend they know what to do. So that’s really hard.”

Jo recommends using an IGLOO model, where Individuals, the Group around them, Leaders, the Organisation and Our wider society take shared responsibility for mental health support. “It needs to be the whole system working and communicating together so there’s a shared understanding and shared expectation”, she explains.

Kevin encourages employers to think about how they can support individuals’ autonomy, belonging and competence: “Employers could facilitate a conversation to find out what their teams and individual employees want and involve them in the process. There also needs to be opportunities for employees to connect, be that formally via a mentoring process or more informally. As for competence, what resources and training do employees need to work remotely or return to the office, and how can they be supported to continue to develop?”

What can individuals do to take care of their mental health?

Individuals alone might not be able to shift company policy, but Jo and Kevin are keen to point out that, regardless of your work environment, there are things we can do to take care of ourselves.

“Ask yourself whether you are looking after yourself – are you putting boundaries in place? Are you investing time in your social networks? Are you receiving feedback from somebody at work?” says Jo. “Identify the gaps in your armoury of support and take steps to build them or find out how you could get support from work to build them.”

In addition, supporting mental health at work does not need to begin and end at work, as Kevin explains: “We can be purposeful in how we manage our mental health, so I might gain control over how much I exercise or how much news I consume. I could call a friend to feel a sense of belonging and take up a new skill like learning a language or musical instrument to feel more competent.

“We have to recognise that there are lots of things that we cannot control, but rather than be swept away with that, what’s one thing that I could do today, or this week, that would be a step towards more positive mental health?”

The Department of Organizational Psychology has published more detailed guidance on managing our wellbeing in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the guide online.

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“Coaching has given me the tools to support wellbeing and help people find happiness in their work”

Sarah Wissing graduated from the MSc Career Management and Coaching in 2020. She shares her #BBKStory.

Sarah Wissing wearing black, leaning against a wall.I’ve always been drawn to supporting people and their welfare – on a night out, I’m that person who makes sure everybody gets home safe! In my role in HR, I’m interested in helping people develop and giving them the tools to flourish at work.

I’d known about Birkbeck’s MSc Career Coaching for a few years and finally decided to take the plunge after going along to an open day and meeting the Programme Director Janet Sheath, who was really lovely.

Studying for a Master’s part-time whilst working full-time was quite intense – there was a lot less going out to the pub! Luckily, my work was very supportive and the temporary sacrifice to my personal life was definitely worth it.

My undergraduate degree was in English and French and I’d done a Master’s in English ten years before starting the MSc, but this course was completely different. I remember totally freaking out in my first term when I failed my first essay, but Janet was really great and Birkbeck’s study support tutors were so helpful and I ended up graduating with a merit.

During our coaching weekends there’d be about ten of us and our two tutors – we did practical sessions where we coached each other and received real time feedback. We really got to know each other and it was a very supportive environment.

I also completed a placement in Birkbeck’s Careers Service, where I was assigned students to coach and given supervisions to talk about any challenges I was facing in that role.

The coaching skills I’ve gained on the course and the insight through my research project on Dyslexia in the workplace has really supported me at work: I love helping people to work at their best and am particularly excited about supporting neurodivergent individuals. Alongside my current role, I also operate as a freelance coach.

Studying coaching has made me an all-round better human – it’s about being an ethical person, in and out of work, and making people feel at ease. It equips you with the tools to support wellbeing and help people find happiness in their work and personal lives in an evidence-based way.

I never really have a five-year plan and the Master’s was the same, it just felt like the right thing to do at the time, and I’ve really enjoyed the process of studying and being at university again – nothing bad can come from a bit of education!

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Make soap not waste: the MBA graduate on a mission to reduce plastic packaging

Martina Schwarz wearing a grey t-shirt standing against a white background.

Blackmarket founder Martina Schwarz. Photo by Simon Habegger.

Martina Schwarz came up with the idea for a refillable soap that produces no plastic waste while writing her MBA thesis. Her business, Blackmarket, launches this September.

What should you do when you’re worried that the role you are great at is contributing to climate change?

This was the dilemma facing Martina Schwarz, an experienced packaging designer who’s worked with the likes of Unilever, Procter and Gamble and Kellogg’s, when she enrolled on the Central Saint Martins Birkbeck MBA.

“A friction started to develop between my work and my values”, Martina explains. “I decided to write my MBA thesis on packaging and sustainability to incorporate my experience as an insider in the packaging industry with a focus on sustainability.”

Martina began her exploratory thesis with a focus on skincare, but when the pandemic hit, pivoting to handwash seemed like a natural step. In April 2020, Martina left her job to focus full time on her business, Blackmarket, and its first product: a refillable liquid handwash that uses no single-use plastic packaging.

“The first question I always get asked is why ‘Blackmarket’”, she explains, “You could say that the name has negative connotations, but I’ve chosen it so that people will ask questions. Blackmarket symbolises a desire to change the status quo and challenge someone’s thought process about how we design products.”

Blackmarket’s handwash stands out from mainstream refillable competitors through its innovative delivery system. Through her research on the MBA, Martina realised that a lot of personal care and cosmetic products are made mainly of water. By removing the water, she was able to design packaging similar to that of dishwasher tablets or laundry detergents that dissolves in contact with warm water.

“It’s about rethinking how we create packaging”, says Martina, “the film is a thickener that gives the handwash the gel texture that we recognise, so the packaging becomes part of the product. By removing the water at the packaging stage, the product weighs 95% less than its competitors, so transportation emissions are also reduced. Why would we bother to transport something that we can get on tap at home?”

The film packaging of Blackmarket liquid soap is the thickener that gives it a recognisable texture. Image credit – Blackmarket.

Blackmarket’s innovative approach saw Martina receive the UAL Creative Enterprise Award for Innovation in July 2021. She receives £5000 and a mentorship from IBM iX, who sponsored the award.

“The prize money is absolutely incredible – as a startup founder, there are a lot of costs associated with launching a cosmetic product – but the mentorship is as valuable as the prize money if not more,” says Martina. “I’m so pleased that IBM iX is the sponsor – I’m looking forward to using the mentorship programme to focus on behavioural change and the customer journey, making it as easy as possible for people to make sustainable choices.”

While, environmentally speaking, the best choice for handwash is a bar of soap, Martina’s market research found that the majority of consumers aren’t willing to make the switch from liquid soap. The product aims to make it as easy as possible for consumers to make pro-environmental choices.

Blackmarket has launched with a Kickstarter campaign, and Martina has an ambitious vision for the business: “Long term, we want to launch new products like shampoo and conditioner, but also to think about packaging differently. The nature of packaging is to be something that protects, but I really want with Blackmarket to think of that quite differently. I want to change perceptions of packaging to something that is long term, precious, and to be proud of how much you have used it.”

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Introducing Birkbeck’s Professional Doctorate in Evidence-Based Human Resource Management

Julie Gore, Programme Director, shares the rationale behind the Professional Doctorate in Evidence-based HRM.

Advancing metacognition – the process of knowing, understanding and learning are central features of doctoral education. Deciding how to decide is central to successful leadership and management. The challenges of Human Resource management (HRM) in times of uncertainty have never been more apparent, with sociotechnical advancement and change being pervasive features of our working lives. Bringing together our advanced understanding of cognitive decision making processes and expertise, alongside a scientifically informed process of deciding how to decide, is where evidence based HRM meets informed HR practice.

In short, evidence-based HR refers to adopting a decision making process in which the organization consciously evaluates any decision against multiple sources of data, experience, expert opinions, and other types of information to ensure the decision’s most successful outcome.

Notably, examining multiple sources of data is also completed deliberatively, with a critical eye, and questioning the value of the data is part of the method. It takes constant effort to seek multiple sources of evidence to aid decision making and Evidence-based HR aims to actively do this.

Birkbeck’s new doctorate in Evidence Based Human Resource Management provides advanced research skills, a critical approach to thinking and deciding, the opportunity to tackle challenging work based problems and paradoxes, and a vibrant network of opportunities for discussion and reflection with HR professionals.

I anticipate that practitioner and academic discussions will be lively and insightful.

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Retirement and Pensions: Creative Solutions Required to an Age-Old Problem

This article was contributed by MSc Governance, Economics and Public Policy student Thomas Boulton. He argues that increases to the State Pension age are sensible, but daring solutions are needed to safeguard pensioners’ living standards and address fiscal deficit.

In 2017, Theresa May attempted to introduce legislation that would have meant the value of an elderly person’s house was taken into account when measuring their eligibility for state funded care. This would have meant many more people having to pay for their own care. The backlash and subsequent backtracking almost cost May the position of Prime Minister. These events serve as an excellent foreshadowing of the likely problems policy makers will face this century. Data on public finances, forecasts in the UK dependency ratio and declining birth rates globally illustrate the emergent need to recognise the threat that demographic aging poses, and that traditional solutions will not be available.

Why we may have to work longer

Put simply, we are living longer, and old age is expensive to the exchequer. Over the last 40 years, life expectancy has increased at a faster rate than the average working life. As a result, the average number of years of retirement a person enjoys has almost tripled, from 5 years 10 months in 1980, to a peak of 16 years in 2014, and 15 years and 5 months in 2018, which comprises almost 25% of their adult life. Whilst nobody would want to begrudge someone a long and happy retirement, the impact retirement has on public finances cannot be ignored. With longer life expectancy, the length of a person’s life at which they are a net contributor to overall public finances begins to diminish.

Source: ONS

At the age of 68, the average person ceases to be a net contributor as a result of retiring and paying less tax, compounded by increased health and welfare spending when they reach their 70s.

Hard choices

Increasing the retirement age alone will not plug the gap. Life expectancy is forecast to continue rising in the UK. More significantly, demographic aging trends suggest increasing the retirement age may not have a significant impact, even if the electorate were to regard the idea of working longer as tolerable.

Source: OECD

Whether we choose to stick to a retirement period of just over 15 years, as in 2018, or maintain that a quarter of our adult lives be spent in retirement, people born in 1990 could still expect to be working in 2060. However, this would only leave public finances a little better off than they are now, given the forecast in the old-age dependency ratio.

Source: ONS

Birth rates and net migration

One straightforward solution to the dependency ratio is to increase the number of people in the country between the ages of 22-68. Easier said than done. Birth rates are in decline both in the UK and in all of the countries where the UK’s migrant workers have historically originated. This should leave today’s policy makers wondering where tomorrow’s migrant workers will come from.

Source: World Bank

Private pensions and productivity

One recent policy success has been the institution and uptake of workplace pensions, which will mean many fewer people will be reliant on the state pension. The possibility of withdrawing the state pension for those with large private pensions, and other benefits such as free TV licences may be politically tolerable, if framed in a redistributive way. Other than that, policy makers will have to find ways of ensuring tax receipts can increase, while also enabling higher birth rates. Given the further deterioration of public finances post pandemic, the solutions will have to be creative, and implemented more urgently than foreseen by Theresa May. Above all, they will have to be put forward to the public much more convincingly.

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The Emerald Isle: where only grass grows

This post was contributed by MSc Politics, Philosophy and Economics student Andrew Ó Murchú and was originally written as an assignment for the module ‘Economics: Theory, Policy and Institutions’. Andrew argues that Ireland’s dairy expansion is setting off environmental indicators.

By far the most grass covered country in Europe at ca. 56% of total land area, Ireland’s particular success with milk production can be attributed to its extensive green landscape. Today this is made possible by an inordinate amount of fertilisers and cow manure – the latter now the cause of a shrinking dairy industry in the Netherlands which, like Ireland, benefitted (albeit briefly) from the lifting of EU milk quotas in 2015.

Ireland now has its eyes on the historical growth patterns of the New Zealand dairy industry. Prior to the introduction of quotas in 1984, the two countries then had similar levels of output: annual production stood at almost six and seven billion litres of milk respectively. While Irish production has increased on average almost 6% per annum since 2015, the industry produced just over eight billion litres of milk in 2020 in comparison to 21 billion litres in New Zealand. This exponential growth is now seen as a model for the Irish dairy industry’s expansion in a game of catchup that is causing tensions between government, industry, and environmental NGOs.

A case taken by An Taisce (Ireland’s National Trust) against the successful planning application for a new cheese production facility in Kilkenny has recently been dismissed by the High Court in Dublin. Now the NGO has applied for leave to appeal this decision to ensure the construction of the facility – which would increase Ireland’s annual milk output by over 5% – does not go ahead. The group is concerned that the joint venture between Ireland’s largest dairy processor, Glanbia, and the Dutch dairy producer, Royal A-ware, will set bad precedent for the expansion of an industry with an already poor environmental record.

In their appeal, An Taisce draws attention to a report by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency in 2020, which showed that phosphate levels in 25% of Irish rivers were found to be increasing in line with the dairy herd, while consumption of other inorganic fertilisers has also increased since 2015 in attempts to increase grass utilisation. The Irish landscape has been described as a ‘duoculture’ of dairy cows and grass by ecologist Pádraic Fogarty, with hedge and woodland cover in Ireland already amongst the lowest in Europe even before quota abolition. The blame for the compounding biodiversity crisis is being pointed firmly at the fast-paced expansion of the dairy industry, but political appetite to challenge it is in short supply.

In an unprecedented intervention this month, the Irish Prime Minister, Micheál Martin, appealed in the Irish parliament for An Taisce to stand down in pursuit of the successful planning application. From a short-term political perspective, this may make sense. The multiplier effect of the dairy industry in Ireland is significant, with every €1 of dairy goods exported representing 90 cent spending within the Irish economy, and in 2020 the dairy industry was valued to generate output of €11.3 billion in the country (3.5% of GDP). But as Ireland’s food policy prioritises growing sales to emerging economies for sustainable food, pursuing environmentally destructive practices is unlikely a sustainable position.

Irish annual milk production stands at 1,623 Kg/capita in comparison to 862 Kg/capita in the Netherlands. This may indicate the central position of the dairy industry within Ireland’s economy – but considering the state of the Irish environment, catching up with New Zealand’s annual milk output of 4,671 Kg/capita appears less and less appropriate, or even desirable. The Irish government needs to reconsider its policy of dairy expansion which has become radicalised around the trope that Ireland is only fit for growing grass and its image of grazing cows on pasture. The pursuit of this productivist policy is crippling biodiversity and other environmental indicators. While companies from the Netherlands are moving in on Ireland as a source of overflow from a stunted dairy industry at home, the Irish government need only look to the Dutch food system itself to discover the possibilities diversification has to offer.

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“We were really challenged to think for ourselves.” 

Pierre-Yves Rahari is a Partner at AlgoMe Consulting and alumnus of the Postgraduate Certificate in Coaching. This is his Birkbeck story.

Pierre-Yves smiling against a white background.

Why did you apply for the Postgraduate Certificate in Coaching Psychology? 

I started my career in Finance, working for investment managers, and was looking for a way to bridge working in a corporate setting to becoming a consultant and executive coach. I did this at work by taking on mentoring and leadership development assignments and decided that the best way to complement my training would be to study psychology. 

After completing a foundation course in psychotherapy, I began to look for an executive coaching course, but the typical format you see of learning then following a single methodology didn’t resonate with me. Birkbeck’s programme appealed as it seemed to be looking to go more in depth with students, plus the course leaders were from a psychodynamic background and active coaches themselves. 

Birkbeck’s London location was ideal for me and I liked the format of weekly classes, which meant we were fully immersed in the course for the duration of the year. 

What have been some of the highlights of the programme? 

During the course, we were really challenged to think for ourselves. The team didn’t give out a manual or tell us how to do it, but they had a magical way of getting us to think about our practice and by the end of the course we had a real understanding of what it meant to have a contract with a coaching client. I don’t think it’s an overnight thing, but gradually you find yourself listening differently when you speak to people. The framework that I use in coaching now is an extension of what we did in the course. It has prepared me well for running my own business and surviving during the pandemic. 

As a French person, I also really enjoyed being on an Anglo-Saxon style campus, surrounded by other university campuses and with coffee and book stores all around. My experience at Birkbeck was very nurturing and I look back on my time there very fondly. 

Can you tell us more about what you do now? 

I run a management consulting company called AlgoMe Consulting, which specialises in asset management. We aim to influence strategic and sustainable change in the investment management industry by helping executive boards and boards of directors strategise and successfully implement transformational projects in their firms, while improving transparency, integrity, inclusion and engagement. A lot of the work we do is with leaders and change management and people are fundamental to this process, both at an individual and team level.

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“One of the biggest misconceptions about finance is that it’s investment banking and that’s it, but I feel there is a role for everyone.”

Joseph Walsh studies BSc Financial Economics alongside his role as a Front Office Services Analyst at an asset management firm. Now President of Birkbeck’s Economics and Finance Society (EFS), he shares how the EFS has supported his career journey and his vision for the future of the society.

Joseph Walsh wearing a suit and tie against a white background.Why did you apply for BSc Financial Economics at Birkbeck?

After my A Levels, I went straight into work as an apprentice in Cyber Security. I started earning my own money and became more interested in investing and the world of finance, so I was keen to pursue further education and a career in finance and investing. I really liked the flexibility of Birkbeck’s evening study format, which allowed me to work and study at the same time. The course modules looked really interesting and had a good balance between economics and finance.


How did you get involved in the Economics and Finance Society (EFS)?

I found out about EFS through the Students’ Union at the start of term. It was one of the more prominent societies in the School of Business, Economics and Informatics and had a good range of ongoing events and activities.

One great guest speaker who sticks in my mind is an investor called James Hughes, who gave a really useful introductory talk about finance and investing. At that point, he was running his own private equity fund in Hong Kong, so it was really interesting to hear his experience of working in different locations and areas of finance.

What is your vision for the future of EFS?

As President of EFS, I’m looking to direct the society to cover two distinct areas. Firstly, the networking and social aspect, because it can be difficult to socialise spontaneously after class when everyone is juggling work and busy lives. I’ll be pushing for more structured events and activities. It could be something as simple as arranging a time for members meet at the student bar, but hopefully going forward we can host socials around London and do a range of different activities to get to know one another outside of lectures.

Secondly, and just as importantly is the technical knowledge and experience that you can get from having experts giving talks and speeches. That’s a really important part of the society and it’s something that is unique to EFS to hear from experts across finance and economics. It’s been difficult to replicate our networking events online, especially during exam term, so we’re looking forward to hosting in-person events when restrictions allow. In the meantime, we’ve been sharing useful industry-led content on our website and social media pages.

What are your career ambitions after Birkbeck?

I consider myself fairly lucky in that I know what I want to do in terms of a career and how to get there. I’m really interested in asset management, basically investing across the markets, so I’m strongly considering doing a master’s after my undergraduate degree to develop my knowledge and technical skills. Looking further ahead, I would like to go into some kind of investment research role. The dream role would be a portfolio manager, but I acknowledge that it’s quite a competitive field!

I appreciate that some people might not have that clarity of what they want to do, and that’s something that I and the other committee members are trying to address through the society. Through networking, talks and the different resources we post online, we can help people figure out what they’re interested in and whether they want to take economics and finance further and develop a career in it. One of the biggest misconceptions about finance is that it’s investment banking and that’s it, but I feel there is a role for everyone. Even for undergrads that haven’t got their degree yet, there are a variety of trainee schemes available. That’s how I started and was able to get a role at an asset management company.

Stay up to date with the EFS on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

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“The insight I now have about myself has changed my outlook on life.”

Karen Bowden-Brown is an HR leader and coach. She shares her transformative experience on Birkbeck’s Postgraduate Certificate in Coaching Psychology.

Karen sitting outside, smiling.My career to date has been in HR and I considered coaching to be a vital part of my role as an HR leader and an area I wanted to develop further. I considered various learning routes but many of them seemed be very generic, the Birkbeck course was exactly what I was looking for.

We covered such a breadth of topics and theories from psychology and philosophy when considering the coaching approach.  We viewed coaching approaches through various lenses – normative, interpretative and postmodern, which provided a different insight. The latest academic thinking was shared and discussed and we had assignments drawing on these resources.

I particularly enjoyed the presentations from experienced practicing coaches who were invited to provide demonstrations of different styles of coaching approaches.

The course leadership is excellent and Andreas, Susan and Raul who led the Programme at that time have years of experience both academically and practically as Executive Coaches. They also provided great mentorship to our cohort and were always there to provide friendly challenge to stretch our learning.

I have made some excellent friendships during my time on the course and I remain in regular contact with my small work group.

The Postgraduate Certificate in Coaching Psychology gave me the confidence to provide internal leadership coaching as I had all the necessary tools. The course has taught me to approach conversations differently as a thought partner and a consultant – from a place of curiosity and open questioning.

The course has also been of benefit recently when I was reviewing the organisational approach to performance management – coaching by managers is now a core element to support all employee development.

I would go as far as to describe the course as life-changing, as the insight I now have about myself has changed my outlook on life. Additionally, the life skills I have developed on communication have been invaluable to me not just at work but with my family – especially with my children.

If you are considering this course, I would encourage you to invest in yourself! You won’t regret it.

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“If you try and do everything at once, you’ll never get started.”

Neither pregnancy nor a pandemic could keep Francesca Calabrese from completing her degree. She reflects on her experience on the BBA Culinary Industry Management.

Picture of Francesca CalabreseWhen I first moved to London, it was really important to me to be independent and not ask for help from my parents. My friends were all going to university and I would have loved to do the same, but as I was working full-time, I couldn’t see how I would be able to get a degree and support myself.

I was aware of Birkbeck because I was working in a hostel in nearby Russell Square, but I hadn’t realised that it had evening classes until I came across a prospectus that somebody had left in the hostel.

As a supervisor, I’ve always liked management, and my other passion is for cooking, as my dad is a chef. Ever since I was little, I’ve wanted to set up my own food business, like a restaurant or bakery, so when I was browsing the Birkbeck website and saw a new course launching with Le Cordon Bleu, BBA Culinary Industry Management, it felt like a sign!

Even after applying and completing my interview, I had my doubts about whether I would be able to manage work and study. However, I decided to give myself this opportunity, so I shifted to working part-time and applied for a student loan to help fund my studies. I’m so glad I did, as the course has been an amazing experience and really important for my future career.

The first year flew by: we had the opportunity to do practical sessions at Le Cordon Bleu, which I found completely fascinating. At Birkbeck, I attended lectures and explored management in more depth through small group seminars.

In the second year, we suddenly found ourselves in the COVID-19 pandemic. Even that felt doable, as our tutors were so understanding and were always available any time we needed help or support.

A global pandemic would have been enough to deal with, but last summer I got pregnant and once again was wondering if I would be able to manage. I can be quite a stubborn person and my friends were sure that I would end up dropping out, but I decided once again to give myself the opportunity to succeed. It was tough: my parents were in Italy and couldn’t come over to help me and the thought of the assessments I needed to do once my son was born was really stressful! At the time, I thought I would never make it, but now I’m writing my dissertation having missed just one class through it all and I’m almost done!

I’m so proud of what I’ve achieved and most of all I’m happy that I didn’t give up. Once things are a bit more normal, I’m interested in exploring food development and eventually opening my own business.

My advice to anyone considering studying at Birkbeck is that it’s really difficult to think in one-year terms: take things slowly, do one thing at a time, one exam at a time and things will get much easier. If you try and do everything all at once, you’ll never get started. Take your time, reflect and do things at your pace.

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