A VALE student who juggled a full-time job, full-time study and work in the RAF reserves – even taking exams while on active deployment – says she is “beyond happy” to have finished her law degree.
Kristen Evans thanked the University of Bristol for “giving her a chance” as a mature student, a decade after she veered away from her plan to study medicine.
Instead of becoming a doctor, she embarked on an unconventional career path through the BBC, the energy industry and finally the Civil Service.
It was here that she applied for a law degree in the hope of becoming a solicitor.
“I’d always thought about it,” said Ms Evans, who grew up in Calne, Wiltshire and now lives in the Vale of Glamorgan.
“It’s a bit of a cliché, but I had liked the idea ever since reading To Kill a Mocking Bird.”
She brushed up her A-Levels before applying to the University of Bristol.
“Coming for an interview as a mature student was scary,” she added.
“When I found out Bristol were giving me a chance, I was completely shocked.
“There was a catch for me though. By this point I had a life to pay for: a house, responsibilities.
“Luckily, my Civil Service job had a flexitime contract, so I was able to balance full-time working hours with full-time study.”
Throughout all of this she remained an RAF Reservist. While deployed overseas during her second year Kristen rearranged her shifts to take her exams remotely.
“I was really lucky to have a supportive boss,” she said.
“Although it was still a bit nerve-wracking and hard not keep half a mind on everything that was going on around me!”
Back on home soil, Ms Evans battled long commutes made worse by bad weather closing the Severn bridges. Somehow, she found time to get married, buy a house and secure a training contract with a top law firm.
“At times the last three years were really, really hard,” she said.
“But I’m beyond happy to have finished with a 2:1 and I’m looking forwards to starting my training contract.
“All thanks to Bristol for giving me a chance.”