Sophie started at our Prep school aged six before moving up to the Senior School in Year 7, leaving in 2012 after completing her A-Levels. We hear some lovely reflections and memories from Sophie who is a keen traveler, an online business owner and currently working towards an Event Management Postgraduate certificate.
What did you study at Sixth Form?
I gained A-Levels in Geography, History, and English Literature during my Sixth Form years. To this day, they are 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.
‘My time at Langley was instrumental towards who I became once I left school and how I approached jobs and life opportunities… 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.’
At that time, did you know what career you wanted to pursue?
I had no idea what career I wanted to pursue, not from lack of trying or 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 and I particularly loved hockey. I was involved in the school plays and musicals, as well as undertaking private singing lessons. I gained my Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award and 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 then?
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 well-rounded person. It’s a great way to explore what you are interested in and what you might excel at, in a supportive environment.
What did you study at university?
At the University of Leeds I studied BA Geography. Geography was always one of my favourite subjects and it captured, and enabled me to explore, my fascination with the world. While 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?
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 (I interrailed twice), safaris in South Africa and Kenya, Morocco, North America (a few times), and many other amazing destinations. I have had incredible experiences working abroad as a Camp Counsellor in the USA for a special needs camp, as well as teaching English in northern Thailand.
I am also really excited and looking forward to starting a career in Events. I am undertaking some further study, currently working towards an Event Management Postgraduate certificate. I am soaking up as much experience, short courses and mentoring as I can so that I can really focus on excelling in this industry.
On top of this, I have started my own online business in postal cakes called Thistlemarsh Bakes. I have always been a keen baker and I often experiment with cakes for family and friends. Due to COVID-19, I have had more time and more desire to explore what I am really interested in. It has been a great learning experience in the world of setting up a business and all the logistics related to that.
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?
Langley 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.
Also, 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.
What’s 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. While life has pulled us all in different directions, eight years on we are still as close as ever.