We Are Essex

Rachel's story

"It’s never too late to do what you want."

I’m hoping to stay in research, so I’ve got the next three years in the bag; the PhD and then see where it goes.

 I’m looking into the effects of peer group outdoor activities for veterans with PTSD, and we’re looking at the benefits and the cognitive improvements and effects. I have an interest in PTSD because I used to work in the police as a welfare adviser and I worked with a lot of police officers who have trauma and so it’s a varied interest. There is an issue with veterans who don’t always access traditional treatment like medication and therapy. So this is kind of looking at the benefits of green exercise and actually seeing what they do with the brain because there is research that says these things are beneficial, but I’m interested in the cognitive aspect of it as well, so I’m hoping to show that they feel better and can do tasks quicker.

 I guess I am quite proud of myself. One thing that’s really struck me is that it’s never too late to do what you want because when I was 18 I started a degree and I hated it and left. Then I worked for a really, really long time and it wasn’t until I was in my forties that I decided it was time to study, and so I’m proud of the fact that I’ve still got it, if you like. All these years I thought I chose not to do a degree and a degree is held in this kind of esteem, so if you haven’t got one people are shocked. I always thought well I could if I want but I’ve just chosen not to, so it’s nice to see that I’ve still got it. It’s never too late to do what you want. That is probably the best motto to live by.

When I was young I thought I could conquer the universe, and I guess if you spend time learning to know what makes you tick and concentrate on making the small things work then everything sort of  clicks into place, rather than doing the big things first. Another thing I’ve learned is not to overstretch your expectations because you set yourself up to be disappointed and also think small and let the small things build up to great things

 I exceed my expectations all the time, every day. I’m just grateful for what I get. I’m very lucky at the moment. I left my job and set myself on a path which I wasn’t sure was going to work out, but it has and I’m incredibly grateful at the moment.

Essex is my home now I suppose. It’s a place I’m still discovering, it’s got many depths. You think you know it, but there’s always a new thing.

 

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