Charlie began an MML degree (French and German) in 1991.
I came to Fitz slightly reluctantly after a bruising rejection from a very traditional College the previous year, which made me have a major rethink about my goals for university and career. Having been working in industry while I regrouped, my interview was very different this time. Rather rusty on my languages after several months out of education, I talked enthusiastically about the marketing work I was doing in a temporary job at IBM. Respect to my interviewers for recognising my overall potential rather than evaluating me purely in terms of academic sophistication!
When I took up my place at Fitzwilliam in autumn 1991 it was refreshing to find many other students had taken a gap year - the College clearly valued this broader life experience. Being at Fitz was quite different from the Oxbridge stereotypes I'd encountered before. From the modern buildings and larger student population to the tradition of living out in the second year, it all felt so much more down-to-earth than the ivory towers I'd nervously imagined.
Because of this, I've always seen my studies and university experience as something practical that I could put to use in work and life. I have used the skills of critical thinking, persuasion and intense bursts of hard work more than the academic topics I studied. Achieving my degree at Fitzwilliam gave me a quiet confidence to plough my own furrow. The discipline of independent learning has helped me sustain my copywriting business, The Wordsmithy, established 16 years ago as a way to earn a living from my love of writing. I made lifelong friends during my time at Fitz and I cherish them not just socially but as a peer network. We went in many different professional and personal directions and it's continually enriching to discover our common experiences and differences. I stay in touch and meet them as often as I can. Fitz is our shared bond.