Icenian Interview: Clare Lawry

What year did you begin and leave Langley?

Year 9 – year 13 (2008)

If applicable, which A-Levels did you gain?

Biology, Chemistry, Geography and French

During your time at Langley, did you know what career you wanted to pursue?

Looking back, I didn’t really. And I didn’t take the time I should have to think about what I would be suited to. I should have done a Geography degree, but chose Geology as “close enough” because I thought Geography would be too competitive to get in to a course! No regrets, wouldn’t change where I am today though.

Which extra-curricular activities were you involved in and have they been useful, for example helping with transferable skills?

I did a bit of everything. Cookery was probably my favourite – I loved Christmas term when we made Christmas cakes. I also did croquet, volunteering, DoE, played in the orchestra, debated, I had small parts in lots of musicals and plays over the years. I still love to try new hobbies even now – I’m currently doing adult ballet.

Have these activities helped you since school, for example via transferable skills?

I still love food and cooking! I have just been sworn in as a magistrate. The evaluation of information and diplomacy skills I started to develop debating were definitely part of that.

If you went, what did you study at university?

BSc Geology and MSc Petroleum Geoscience

If you’re working, how did you career begin?

I did the graduate programme at Norway’s national oil and gas company – Statoil- now called Equinor. I worked there for a total of four years.

So far, what have been your post-school highlights (in your career, onwards studies, family, travel etc.)?

Counter intuitively what could have been the worst moments led to the best things. I went through clearing as I didn’t get the grades for either of my chosen universities. I got a place through clearing at The University of Liverpool, which was a better university for my course than I’d originally applied for. I also took voluntary redundancy in 2016 which I treated as an adult gap year (18 months!). I spent the first months doing a cordon bleu diploma in culinary arts – fulfilling a dream I didn’t think I’d get to do until retirement- I then worked as a chef for 9 months which scratched an itch for me. I did anything and everything – home economy for tv adverts, teaching, food festivals, private chef work, catering, supper clubs, restaurant work – you name it I tried it! Finally I “went travelling” solo for 3 months before going back to the oil and gas industry.

On reflection, did your time at Langley help your attitude towards career choices and progression?

I think I was considered very academic and I didn’t let myself consider anything that I didn’t think was “professional enough”. However – I’ve never considered that there was anything I couldn’t do – as a woman or otherwise – and that will have come partly from my parents and from such an enabling environment as Langley.

What advice you would give to students considering Langley, their A-Levels or careers?

1. Take your time and 2. Do not panic and 3. There’s absolutely no rush to go to university. If you’re not absolutely sure what you want to do – take a gap year and really think about it. On the flip side if you do find yourself with a degree that hasn’t led you where you want to go – you haven’t wasted your time – what you have done will have transferable skills. It might take time to do but you’re going to work for a long time and changing careers has never been easier. I’ve just started my third career and I’m 32.

Your fondest memory of Langley?

The people – Some absolutely fantastic teachers- for whom teaching must have truly been a calling and my friends. We just celebrated one of their weddings a few weeks ago and they’re all coming to mine in December.

Life after Langley
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Text Clare L
Published On: November 7th, 2022Categories: Icenians, News, Senior