What is your education worth to you? How far are you willing to go to achieve your dream? This month we wanted to know what student’s education meant to them. We asked participants to write a brief story on how their education was helping to achieve their dreams. People were then asked to vote on their favourite story. A big thank you to all participants. Some of the stories were incredibly moving. But there can only be one winner. Congratulations Sope Kuyinu!

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1st: Sope Kuyinu, University of Law

At the end of 2015, I set goals to challenge myself in the upcoming year ahead (in other words New Year’s resolutions, of which I’m sure we are all familiar with). But my goals where more than just resolutions. I am now glad to say that I have achieved many of them. I have just finished my professional legal qualifications (the LPC) this past June. While studying for the LPC, I set up a mobile user interface design business to bring in extra income. My business now Partners with Samsung and sells mobile themes on its Theme Store. My themes have been downloaded 390,000 times since my business started trading in February. My practical legal education has equipped me with the necessary business knowledge to manage my business effectively and to generate steady profits. In order to develop my business skills further I applied to Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business (Stanford GSB) to participate in its Ignite London programme. Stanford Ignite is a post-graduate entrepreneurship course that teaches participants the fundamentals of successfully creating a start-up company or a new line of business in an existing company and its subsequent management thereafter. Stanford GSB is arguably the best graduate business school in the world for innovation and entrepreneurship. From Internet research, approximately 1500 people apply to its Ignite programme and only around 45 are admitted. Out of the 45, four receive scholarships. I am privileged and honoured to be amongst the few scholarship recipients. However, I have only been given a partial scholarship to attend. I am entering this competition in hopes of winning the prize and putting the prize money towards my Stanford tuition! At Stanford GSB I will gain fundamental management and business skills that I believe will help me become a better commercial lawyer throughout my career. I will also gain exposure to the Stanford Alumni Network and will make valuable connections with business personnel across the UK and the USA. I further hope to use the skills I adopt from Stanford Ignite to improve and develop the mobile design business that I have started and turn it into a sustainable technology venture that has a proficient impact on London’s technology scene. There is a quote, which I have recently come across that I have been posting on all social media platforms of late. It has reminded me to pursue my goals and dreams irrespective of the cost involved. So I feel it would be befitting to end this statement on that quote. Thank you for reading my statement. I would sincerely appreciate your vote! ‘It is not the critic who counts; nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, who strives valiantly; and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.’ – Theodore Roosevelt

 

2nd Place: Ajebowale Roberts 

I aspire to work in the area of Human Rights as a researcher and journalist, researching the atrocities that occur in this world and exposing them. I have a particular interest in Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking. During my Law Conversion Course I did a research essay on that exact topic compared to when England outlawed slavery in the Somerset v Stewart case (1772). This was where the Lord Chief Justice, William Murray held that Slavery was unconstitutional in the UK. In this essay I gained a distinction grade. This reassures me for my future career and enthuses me even more to work harder in my next degree. My education is helping me to fulfil my dream as I am honing my researching skills and learning more about the world, work ethic and analytical skills. My university degrees have allowed me to become more worldly and enter diverse communities. During my History A level course I enjoyed a taste of studying Human and Civil Rights and the effect that they can have on society. Amongst the cases that ignited my interest were Roe v. Wade and Brown v. Board of Education. Roe v. Wade 1973, was a very controversial United States Supreme Court Case dealing with the right for women in America to choose abortion and the balance between protection of pre-natal life and women’s choice. The other case I found equally compelling was Brown v. Board of Education which was another Supreme Court Case that declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional. As regards myself, I am a young woman of dual heritage; my background includes British, Nigerian and Jamaican ancestry. This gives me a unique perspective, as a woman of colour, with an English Father, when looking at Law cases such as Brown v. Board of education; it is also a reason why I find American civil rights so fascinating. I felt a connection with – and thoroughly enjoyed learning about – the African American civil rights movement and the journey to the 1964 Civil Rights and 1965 Voting Rights Acts, even though it was harrowing at times. Closer to home I came across the fascinating story of Lord Mansfield, Lord Chief Justice and his mixed race niece, Dido Elizabeth Belle Lindsay. The ruling of William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield, on the “Somersett’s” case 1772 was ground-breaking and a seminal step towards the abolition of slavery in the British Empire, as it declared slavery illegal in England and Wales. Another civil rights movement I found enthralling was the pursuit of the vote for women in the United Kingdom. The suffragettes and the suffragists provoke an important philosophical question: did the suffragettes and their militant action or the women’s efforts in WW2, or both, change the Law? I am passionate about Human Rights and especially women’s rights as I am mindful always of inequality in society today and the portrayal of women of colour, particularly in the media. Recently, I have been keeping up with the debate of “colourism” in the black community and the way it is portrayed to be a privilege to be lighter skinned. These ideas permeate through society especially through the vehicle of Hollywood motion pictures where lighter skinned actresses succeed in gaining roles over darker skinned actresses purely because they are lighter skinned. These ideas hail from slavery where the light skinned slaves were more highly prized and, resultantly, more likely to work in the house rather than in the field. These are ideas should be discarded as part of an archaic practice the the world has forsaken. During the final year of my undergraduate degree course I gained a 1st class in my dissertation which was purely research based and independent, hence demonstrating my research skills. I have also spent the last year doing a law conversion course, learning more about Law and the impact that it can have on Human Rights. The latter was my favourite subject in constitutional law. I was pleased to learn that if Human Rights have been infringed, you can take your case all the way to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasborg. Human Rights enters many different areas of the Law and has been establishing itself as very important and continues to do so because liberty, freedom of speech, right to a private life and many more related aspects are staples that every human being deserves together with rights that need and have to be respected in modern day society. However, now the the UK are leaving the EU I would be extremely interested to see how they tackle the issue of Human Rights, what laws they will keep from the European Convention of Human Rights and what new laws and practices they will put into place. My plan for the future is to do an MA in Ancient History. This is an extremely research based degree and will place me in good stead for a career in research. I also hope it helps me to obtain internships at NGO’s like Human Rights Watch. That would be a dream come true for me and the perfect pathway to my future career.

 

3rd Place: Joshua Gray

Future Finance gave me the chance to further my education when no other avenues were available to me. With their funding, I’m on the cusp of finishing my Masters with a distinction (provided my dissertation goes well!) and moving on to a PhD. My interests in research are quite broad, but I’m waiting on meeting with professors at the University to potentially start assisting the college with research that could help the lives of people with Type 2 Diabetes. I’d love to get involved in the research and I feel that securing enough votes from my friends and family could serve as a fantastic endorsement of my suitability to work with them. All you of you, friend and family have supported me so far, and so I’d ask you kindly to support me a little more. This story is not about the money, but about everyone I care about getting behind me to show my University that they should seriously consider me as a candidate that not only they should trust, but one that many others already do. My passion is helping people and I want to any way I can!