Jane Boggan, Deputy Director of the University’s Planning department, describes how Cardiff University has transformed her life.
My connection with Cardiff University started in 1994 when I enrolled for a degree in English Literature. I was in my mid 30’s and had been at home for a few years looking after my 3 children who at that time were aged 7, 5 and 2. Having left school in Belfast in 1979 with inauspicious A level results and having worked as a secretary and administrator in Belfast, France and London before having children, it was a big step to go back into full time education and it proved to be one that changed my life in very positive and very fundamental ways.
I spent the first year of my course in a state of barely controlled hysteria. I enjoyed it so much I had the constant feeling that one of the porters was going to tap me on the shoulder one day and kindly but firmly eject me from the campus as a fraud. Having been a full time mother, I felt keenly the luxury and privilege of being able to sit in the library and lose myself in a poem and to have time and space to concentrate on learning how to write well and read critically, not to mention being able to have a whole cup of coffee with adults who wanted to be there as much as I did. There was something even destabilising to feel the world opening up in ways I had not anticipated; the less cerebral pleasures and demands of a young family, however, helped to keep me rooted (and exhausted!).
I grew in confidence and realised that I had found something that I enjoyed and was good at. The quality of the teaching and support that I received from staff in the School of English, Communication and Philosophy and fellow students helped me to realise my potential and I graduated in 1997 with a 1st Class degree in English Literature. The sense of achievement was incomparable to anything I had experienced to that point and I did not want to leave. Attending a Careers Fair in the Students Union at that time, at which the University was represented as an employer, opened up for me the possibility of working for Cardiff University and building on my previous administrative experience.
I started working as Research Administrator in the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies a week before my graduation in June 1997 and have never looked back. Since then I have worked in the Research and Consultancy Division and Planning and have been School Manager in the Schools of City and Regional Planning and, my alma mater, of English, Communication and Philosophy. I broke away for 3 years to the Glamorgan Business School but returned in March 2008 to Planning as Deputy Director and it has felt like coming home.
Cardiff University has had a transformational effect on my life. In particular, I have been offered opportunities to develop both personally and professionally in ways that I could never have anticipated when I got here 14 years ago. Cardiff University is the sum of its people and I have learned from some extraordinary people (in every sense!). For those who have demanded more of me than I thought I had in me to give, and supported me with generosity and intelligence, I am hugely grateful.