token girl: like a girl, but better

Friday, 7 January 2005

what the papers said

Anna-Marie, 23, from London

'It's always been my dream to work in publishing. I've been a bookworm since I was a little kid! But I knew that, if I wanted to make my dream come true, I'd need a university degree. So many people want to work in publishing - I needed to stand out from the crowd.

I was thrilled when I was offered a place to study English Literature at University College London, one of the top universities in the country. Even more delighted when I learnt I'd got the A-level grades I needed to get in.

But I was a bit worried too. How was I going to support myself for the next three years? I didn't want to end up with tons of debts that it would take years and years to pay back.

When I looked into it, I found out that I was exempt from tuition fees as I'm from a single parent family. I also found out that I'd be able to take out student loans that would cover my living expenses during my studies.

I started uni in September 1999. Of course, any student can vouch for the fact that unless you're from a rich family, you're going to fall on hard times occasionally! The student loans covered my living expenses - food, accommodation, books and so on - but I got a part-time job in a shop to help me out a little bit more. I've had a few part-time jobs in the past, so it wasn't too hard juggling my work with my studies.

People say that your university years are the best years of your life - and it's true. I wouldn't have missed out on those three years of for anything. I made some really great mates, learnt a lot about life - and of course, walked away with a degree.

My Mum was so proud when she saw me collecting my degree certificate in my mortar board and gown! That was in summer 2002.

I spent the rest of the summer applying for jobs. To my delight, it wasn't long before I was offered a job within a really prestigious publishing house.

So my dream came true. Of course, it didn't come cheap! Yes, I've got debts and I'll be paying them back for the next few years. But I'm not losing sleep over it. Without that degree, I don't think I'd be where I am now. I haven't looked back!'

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