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Kate Hardcastle (BA Applied Linguistics 2010)


I went to Reading as a mature student. At 18 I was undecided about what I wanted to do in life and felt that university wasn't for me. After studying abroad and trying various career options, I eventually became a trainee editor at Paul Hamlyn publishing, and at last I had found my metier. It was only after my children had finished their university courses that I decided that I was ready to tackle university myself, having by then formulated a clear idea of the subject that would most engage and inspire me. As I had already carved a career in publishing, it was not with job prospects in mind that I made my choice, but, as it happened, my newly acquired degree provided the passport to working on an exciting, externally funded onomastic research project at the University of the West of England, which will run until April 2014.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Reading?

To be honest, my choice was governed by practicalities. I didn't want to move house, and so I needed to search for somewhere within commuting distance. Oxford or Reading? Reading had the more appealing course.

What was the best bit about living and studying in Reading?

Parking and building works aside, Whiteknights is one of the pleasantest campuses in the UK (and I've visited quite a number), but most of all Linguistics had the most able and friendly staff imaginable.

What top tips would you give to students who are beginning their studies?

A work-life balance is important and establishing it as a student will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life.

What are your top tips for students graduating this year? What should they be doing to secure the job they want?

In my opinion flexibility is key. Getting to where you want to be may require more twists and turns than you anticipate, and the more skills and experience you amass the greater your employability.

What does the University mean to you and what is your favourite memory?

I have very fond memories of my time at Reading, in particular John Field's thought-provoking lectures, Clare Furneaux's great sense of humour and ripping yarns, and Lesley Hammond's unerring support and cheerfulness. I am also very grateful for the way in which my special requests, in respect of modules and timing, were accommodated.

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