Olivia, Teacher of Classics (King’s, 2006)

Being a secondary school teacher, I use my degree every day in lessons and preparation. However, there are so many other skills I developed through my degree at Cambridge, which are invaluable as a professional. The regular translation tasks I completed have given me the skill to prepare lessons quickly and efficiently. The weekly essay assignments have taught me how to cope with doing meaningful research around topics I may not have covered before, while dealing with the day-to-day stresses of a full timetable and marking a set of exercise books or essays every night. Taking up Latin and Greek ab initio in the four-year course at Cambridge has meant that now I do not panic when faced with a new challenge of, for example, detailed statistical analysis. Studying languages has also given me an appreciation of how language is transmitted and helps in correspondence with both parents and colleagues, enabling me to foster good working relationships; a lot can be gleaned from the tone of an email or use of a specific word. Trying to work out how a complex sentence of Homeric Greek fits together has given me skills in problem solving and perseverance; great for that difficult class or parent.

A degree at Cambridge is also a true test of whether you are passionate about your subject and there is nothing more infectious and positive in a work environment than someone who is passionate about what they are doing. Now, when I help students apply, I find myself envying the life they are about to begin at Cambridge and realise what a huge impact the experience has had on me and will continue to have as I return for college reunions and May Bumps in the years to come.