Waking up at six, working seven to five, surrounded by suits, in a city where I was alone was not what I expected my early 20’s to be like. I worked for myself, earned money, and spent money on myself. I thought to myself – surely there is more I can be doing with time and money?

When Covid-19 hit, construction was halted. When I was placed on furlough, I realised working in construction just wasn’t cutting it. Knowing full well I was not happy with my current job and didn’t see my construction career progressing past the 3-year grad scheme I was currently undertaking, I decided to look elsewhere.

I graduated in 2019 with a MEnvSci in Environmental Science. My research was focused on fluvial pollution pathways from a disused mine situated on Anglesey (Parys Mountain).

My father is a lecturer and when I mentioned I wasn’t happy he suggested furthering my studies and continuing with a Ph.D. The thought of going back to university for a minimum of three years hadn’t even crossed my mind!

After applying for numerous jobs, looking at various career pathways I decided to investigate the possibility of going back to studying. Looking at all diverse titles of research projects I thought to myself – am I smart enough to apply, or will I just embarrass myself? Continuing, I read the title; “REGENERATIS – Regeneration of past metallurgical sites and deposits through innovative circularity for raw materials”. And like a shining beacon I knew this was the one. This was the project that was going to get me away from the monotony of working at a desk. This was the project that will enable me to utilise my degree, to actually make a difference, ultimately to help the world. Knowingly doubting my intelligence, I applied. I had never heard of Cranfield University, didn’t know I wanted to commence a Ph.D. but I did it. After I applied, I knew I was doing the right thing. I knew that this was the path I had to head down.

I had a zoom interview (classic 2020) on a Wednesday. I was nervous but the sun was shining so I knew it was going to be a good day. As soon as the interview was done, I thought I had embarrassed myself by even thinking I could apply for a Ph.D. How could I – currently working as a quantity surveyor, think about applying for an environmental engineering Ph.D.? Not but 4 hours later I had a phone call offering me the position. I am smart enough to apply. I am intelligent and I will do this Ph.D. Nearly a year later, now with two jobs, my life is now in a city where I’m not alone, no suit in sight, and I’m happy!

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