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News > Alumnae Interviews > In conversation with Rachael

In conversation with Rachael

We caught up with 2007 leaver, Rachael Moss. Rachael attended Abbot's Hill for 5 years before gaining a degree from Bangor University and currently works at the Bradford Institute of Health Research as a Research Fellow.

Whilst at Abbot’s Hill

What was your favourite subject whilst at School?

I loved music lessons and relished the opportunity to take GCSE Music when I started Year 10. I was part of Junior and Senior Choir and was over the moon when I was given a place to be in the Chamber Choir. I loved the variety of musical extra-curricular activities that were on offer - Wednesday evening Chamber Choir practices were my favourite!

What was your biggest achievement whilst at Abbot’s Hill?

Becoming a Prefect in Year 11. I loved my time at Abbot’s Hill, and felt honoured to be given the role of a Prefect. I really enjoyed showing prospective students around on open days, it felt lovely sharing my experiences and pride in being a part of Abbot’s Hill.

What is your fondest memory of School?

Going on Chamber Choir trips - we went to Jersey twice to compete in an International Choral competition. The trips were great fun and such a special part of my time at Abbot’s Hill. I’d recommend going on as many trips as possible, they are so memorable and help create such a strong bond between you, your classmates and staff.

If you had to describe your time at Abbot’s Hill in three words, what would they be?

Memorable, happy and long-lasting (the memories I have over the 5 years I spent at Abbot’s Hill will be forever with me!)

 

Beyond Abbot’s Hill

What did you do after leaving Abbot’s Hill?

I went to Princess Helena College to study A-Levels, after which I went to Bangor University to study a BSc Psychology degree.

What was your experience of University? (Favourite part, why you chose the subject, trips etc)

My undergraduate degree was amazing, I learnt how to live away from home and keep on top of my studies. I made some very strong friendships with people on my course and those that I lived with. Although it was daunting moving such a long way away (Bangor is in North Wales), I am so glad I chose Bangor. The people were friendly, welcoming and supportive. I chose to study Psychology because I particularly enjoyed studying it at A Level. I knew I wanted to go into a field where I was able to help people, so Psychology felt like the best fit for me. I did look at a lot of Universities and a lot of different degree courses however(!), so I’d recommend looking at lots of different things to help you find what feels like it would be a good fit for you.

In what ways do you think your experience at Abbot’s Hill has helped you progress through Higher Education and choosing a career?

At Abbot’s Hill I found myself to have a very committed and dedicated approach to study. Sometimes it would take me slightly longer to get a certain concept or approach, but my teachers always helped support me to ensure that I understood what was needed. I believe my continued persistence and dedication was rewarded in me achieving 11 GCSEs (A* - B) at the end of Year 11. I knew the teachers had given me the support I needed, and that I had worked as hard as I could have done. I can still remember the pride I had on GCSE results day, and my teachers at Abbot’s Hill had so much to do with that.

Are you still in touch with friends from Abbot’s Hill?

Yes! I am in touch with a couple of friends from my class at Abbot’s Hill and we still like to meet up.

 

University and beyond

What did you choose to do after University?

After my undergraduate degree, I decided that I wanted to continue to further my knowledge of health psychology, so I moved to Leeds and completed a Masters in Psychological Approaches to Health at the University of Leeds. After my Masters degree, I knew I wanted to continue to study, so embarked on a Health Psychology PhD at the University of Leeds. During my PhD I investigated how stress affects the eating behaviours of primary school children aged 8-12. I finished my PhD last year, and am now incredibly proud to call myself Dr Moss.

I have recently started a new role in research at the Bradford Institute of Health Research where I am a Research Fellow. I’ve only been in this role a few weeks, but I’ve already been able to help the team conduct some exploratory Covid-19 research to help Bradford Council understand how best it can support the families within their community at this difficult time.

How did you find yourself doing what you do now?

Going with my gut! It’s taken me many years of education and study to get where I am now, but at each stage in my journey, I’ve listened to what I know I enjoy and what I know I want to do more of.

What advice would you give someone looking to go into the same working industry as yourself?

Work hard, but never forget that there’s always another way of doing something (nothing is final). I found GCSE Science difficult, so never would have imagined getting 3 degrees in a Science subject, but through commitment and dedication, I’ve found my way into a career that I love and that suits me.

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years’ time? Where would you like to be?

I’d like to continue working in the field of research, and would like to continue to develop my leadership skills so that I can lead and project manage a strand or project of research of my own one day. I never would have imagined I’d be where I am, so I’m just going to continue and see where it takes me!

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