By Dr Kate Atterby – Doctorate of Education

July 2018 is an exciting month for me as, having previously achieved my BA, Post Graduate Diploma and MA, I’ll be attending my fourth BGU graduation ceremony to officially collect my Doctorate of Education.

I’ve loved studying at BGU, I consider it my spiritual home, which is amazing considering at one point I never thought I’d get into Higher Education. I first came to visit in 2004, when BGU was still a university college, to look at a course for teaching assistants. It didn’t really grab me but as I was leaving I passed by a session for Drama in the Community and after listening to it I was completely hooked. I didn’t have any qualifications but I knew I had to come to BGU to study so I signed up to an ‘Access to University’ course. They told me it would take two years but I couldn’t wait, I was determined to start my degree, so I completed the access course in just under a year allowing me to start at BGU just a few months later.

I had a really great time studying for my BA and when it finished one of my lecturers recommended signing up for an MA in Education and Theatre. I’ve always enjoyed learning and research so staying on for further study, at a place I felt so at home in, just seemed natural.

Now I’ve completed my doctorate I’m hoping to get my thesis published. I’ve been exploring the issues surrounding disaffected students; having been one myself it’s an area that’s close to my heart. As a part of my work I put together a Boal theatre project which looked at the importance of citizenship along with the nature of respect and self-discipline and bringing that to a wider audience would be amazing.

The University have helped immensely in preparing me to take my next steps. Before I came to BGU I was a disaffected student constantly being told that I was ‘thick’ and ‘stupid’ and would therefore never amount to anything. BGU changed all of that, I never thought I’d achieve this much and get this far and it’s only thanks to the University that I’ve been able to do it. The lecturers have been so supportive helping me to learn perseverance and gain a belief in myself. I said before that BGU is my spiritual home and I mean every word of that; I’ve learnt so much here and I can’t fault it.

I’m still astounded when I look back at everything I’ve achieved at BGU, but probably the moment I’ll always hold onto is being a performance director at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I directed two productions, street theatre and ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’, we took our own costumes and all travelled and stayed together almost as if we were a mini family; it was amazing.

That family feel is exactly why people should study at BGU. I know that might sound trite but it’s true, BGU becomes your home regardless of your age or background. In fact, I felt such a connection with the University on my first visit that I went to five Open Days before I started my BA. I wanted to be part of BGU straight away and I know it will stay a part of me forever.

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