Icenian Interview: Sophie Millard

What year did you begin and leave Langley?

I attended Langley school between 2000 and 2012. I started at the prep school when I was 6 and moved up to the senior school, into year 7, in 2006. I left Langley Sixth Form in 2012.

If applicable, which A-Levels did you gain?

I gained A-Levels in Geography, History and English Literature. To this day, still my favourite subjects. My teachers were very inspiring, supportive and knew their subjects inside out. This is what made me become so interested in studying them.

During school, did you know what career you wanted to pursue?

I had no idea what career I wanted to pursue. Not out of a lack of trying, and the multiple options suggested by family and teachers. I knew what my interests were both academically and non-academically but I only really focused on going to university and getting my degree. I chose subjects at school that grabbed my interest and just followed this through to university, confident I would figure it out along the way.

Which of Langley’s extra-curricular activities were you involved in?

I was involved in quite a few. I liked to keep busy and was always one for learning new skills. I was part of the sports teams, particularly loved hockey. I was involved in the school plays/musicals; as well as undertaking private singing lessons. I worked towards, and gained, my Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award. I also had a passion for geography and the environment so I started an Eco Schools group, with the aim of making the school more eco-friendly.

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

These activities have hugely benefited me since school. I was always someone who liked trying new things but could also be quite reserved and nervous about it. By pushing myself to take part in activities that often placed me in front of people, via performing, speeches or the need to win matches, my confidence was massively boosted. In regards to career skills, by opening myself up to new activities and experiences, I learnt to become adaptive, to push through fears and develop as a rounded person. It’s a great way to explore what you are interested in and what you might excel at, in a supportive environment.

If you went, what did you study at university?

I went to the University of Leeds and studied BA Geography. Geography was always one of my favourite subjects and it captured, and enabled me to explore, my fascination with the world. Whilst I had no idea what career I was aiming for, I loved the breadth of the subject and the chance to learn multiple skills. Geography enables you to touch on a lot of key career skills including report writing, statistics, analytics, and presentational and communication skills. So, it is a well-rounded university subject.

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

I have a few. I love to travel! I get itchy feet a lot and I am always thinking about my next destination. Since leaving school, I have been on numerous trips visiting places such as South East Asia, Europe (interrailed twice), safaris in South Africa and Kenya, Morrocco, North America (a few times), and many other amazing destinations. I have had incredible experiences working abroad, including as a Camp Counsellor in the USA for a special needs camp; as well as teaching English in northern Thailand.

Covid-19 affected everyone massively. For me it brought about new challenges but also huge steps forward in my career. It enabled me to become a business-woman – starting my own online baking business. A great learning experience into the world of setting up a business. To then exploring further study.

I took this period to focus on a career that would fit me perfectly. I started a Postgraduate Diploma in Event Management – something I knew would pull on all my interests, and years of working in different jobs including travel. I gained an amazing role whilst studying at an experiential events company, TRO, having shown my passion for the industry and the desire to learn. It shows that it’s never too late to find ‘your thing’. Doing a postgrad at 26 was the best decision I could have made and now I am in a job I love!

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

My time at Langley was instrumental towards who I became once I left school and how I approached jobs and life opportunities. I embraced everything the school had to offer, from inspiring teachers, a range of extra-curricular activities and the opportunity to be who I wanted to be. I think Langley is great at creating well-rounded people, who can enter the world of work with a mix of skills and a desire to work hard and be successful. This also stretches to Langley instilling a belief that having hobbies, interests and non-academic skills is equally important.

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

If you are considering Langley, it is a very welcoming, supportive school that allows you the freedom to walk your own path. Whatever your interests may be, there will be a way to explore them further at Langley.

Regarding A-Levels, I think it is really important to choose ones that you love and are passionate about. However, if you have a certain career in mind, now is the time to set yourself up for it. If there are certain A-levels you need, then choose them. A-levels will always remain important on your CV and job applications. I still get asked about them now, as it shows what your academic interests were and this often aligns itself with particular skills. If you have no idea about a career path, don’t panic, choose A-Levels that suit your interests and skill set. It will be a tough couple of years so you might as well enjoy what you are studying.

Your fondest memory of Langley?

As you can probably tell, I enjoyed school, so I have quite a few fond memories. The friendships I created at Langley are probably what I am most proud of. I made some incredible friends, of which three of us were inseparable. On the last day of school, it was a half day, full of celebration, as we had made it through the pressures of A-Levels. One of my fondest memories was spending the morning with my whole year group, playing sport style games in the (boiling) sun. Then myself and my three best friends, that afternoon, jumped into an open top car and headed to the beach, excitedly talking about university, and all the things we want to do after school. Whilst life has pulled us all in different directions, 10 years on we are still as close as ever.

Any final thoughts?

Enjoy your time at school. Take part in things that interest you and make use of everything that is on offer. Most importantly, as it certainly was for me, put yourself out there and try new things. It will only serve to benefit you.

Life after Langley
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Published On: November 21st, 2022Categories: Icenians, News, Senior