Welcome to our new series Life After Langley where our Icenian community reflect on their time at Langley. First in our series is Lauren Syder who runs a small business, Believe in Magic Parties. In our interview, Lauren told us about how ‘Langley undoubtedly contributed to me pursuing my dream of running my own small business doing what I love’.
Read more in our interview below:
What year did you begin and leave Langley?
2010 – 2015 (Year 9 – Year 13)
If applicable, which A-Levels did you gain?
English Literature, Business Studies and Geography
During your time at Langley, did you know what career you wanted to pursue?
I didn’t really have any idea. I was fairly confident that I wanted to work with children and young people in some capacity, but I didn’t really know what this would look like.
Which extra-curricular activities were you involved in and have they been useful, for example helping with transferable skills?
Throughout my entire time at Langley, I was always very involved with the music department (much to GB and Whitey’s delight… or perhaps not?!) and took as much of an active role as possible in everything that they had to offer, from Cabarets and House Music to Carol Concerts and the Royal Norfolk Show. The Cabaret Shows in particular are some of my fondest memories of my time at Langley and absolutely built my skills of organisation and time (and people!) management as well as highlighting the importance of commitment to achieve great outcomes. I also spent time in my earlier years representing the school at Public Speaking competitions and in Sixth Form, I was Mancroft Head of House, which built my confidence and communication skills.
Have these activities helped you since school, for example via transferable skills?
My time spent performing at and with Langley built skills which I use every day, in my professional and personal life. I now run a small business, Believe in Magic Parties, and spend my weekends performing as various characters for children and their families (please visit Children’s Entertainment | Believe in Magic Parties for more information). The many performances I was part of at Langley undoubtedly contributed to me pursuing my dream of running my own small business doing what I love, and I am grateful to the Music Department and all involved in their brilliant productions for this!
If you went, what did you study at university?
I studied Education at University of East Anglia (a brilliant university which shouldn’t be forgotten just because it’s on our doorstep!), graduating with a First in 2019
If you’re working, how did you career begin?
I took a gap year when I first left Langley and worked at a primary school, which I absolutely loved. This supported my decision to study Education at university and alongside my studies I worked in various roles in the education sector, including as a tutor in Maths and English and as an invigilator at Langley! When I graduated, I moved to London and worked at the Science Museum in their education department which was a fantastic place to work, unfortunately cut short due to Covid. Since then, I have continued to work in the Education sector alongside building my business which
will hopefully continue to grow!
So far, what have been your post-school highlights (in your career, onwards studies, family, travel etc.)?
It’s been a really unusual few years for everyone but there have definitely been a lot of positives to find in all the madness. Launching Believe in Magic Parties has definitely been a highlight for me – anyone who knows me knows my love for performing and fairytale stories and so to be able to combine those and help create magical memories for little ones every week just feels like a dream! I was actually interviewed and featured on BBC News – ‘I’ve seen Covid impact children’s welfare the most’ says Norfolk entertainer – BBC News – which was totally surreal but amazing!
On reflection, did your time at Langley help your attitude towards career choices and progression?
My time spent at Langley definitely did help me to build skills which I use in my every day life, and which would be applicable to any career. I definitely didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was at school and now in retrospect, I can see that this is okay. Sometimes it’s easy to feel the pressure of expectation when those around you know exactly what they want to do and how their future plans look… I didn’t know any of these things and everything’s turned out alright!
What advice you would give to students considering Langley, their A-Levels or careers?
Take every opportunity that Langley gives you. Being a student at Langley is a privilege and you need to grab it with both hands, as before you know it, seven years (?!) will have passed! Do what you love and choose the subjects that you enjoy – all A-Levels build skills which will be applicable to whatever career you choose so make sure you enjoy them. Listen to your teachers and follow their guidance – Mr Wood (English) and Mr Clark (Business Studies) were absolute saviours during my A-Levels and I knew I could do to them at any time and they would (and did!) help however they could. Find time for the extra-curricular things! Of course, studying is important and you want to achieve the best you can in your exams, but so much of what I took away from Langley is what I learnt outside of the classroom. Go on the trips, play in the matches, be in the shows… There is so much to learn beyond your academic studies.
Your fondest memory of Langley?
Langley Cabarets will always be such fond memories for me – students from all year groups would come together and produce such a brilliant show that I was always so proud to be a part of. The Music Department trip to Italy in July 2011 started friendships which are still so important to me today, and the Geography Department trip to Morocco in October 2014 was just such an unforgettable, once in a lifetime experience which I will never forget!
Any final thoughts, shout-outs or people you would like to see complete this form in the near future (we will try and track them down!)?
A huge huge shoutout has to go to GB and Whitey (Music) – you really did put up with so much from me and I am forever grateful! The support and opportunities that you provided me have lead to me doing what I love today… What more could you ask for from your teachers.