Soala is an ex Asher who has just recently graduated from the University of Cambridge with a First class degree in Architecture. This week, we interviewed her to find out more about her amazing achievement, her time at Cambridge and how Ashbourne prepared her for and participated in her higher education academic life.
Soala, first of all, congratulations on your amazing achievement! Could you start by telling me what subjects you studied at Ashbourne?
‘Thank you! I studied Fine Art, History of Art, Physics, and Mathematics.’
How did Ashbourne help you prepare for your application to Cambridge?
‘The very first thing I would say is that the belief my teachers had in me that I would get in was truly inspiring. I was not at any stage told that my desire to go to Cambridge was unattainable. Will Stockland, in particular, was very helpful during the application process, making sure I sent everything off on time, and Lawrie, in preparing my portfolio for my interview.’
How has Ashbourne contributed to your higher education academic life? Are there any skills which you gained at Ashbourne that helped you while you were at university?
‘The high ratio of teachers to students is quite similar to the supervision style of Cambridge learning, and so I was not at any time apprehensive to express myself during my supervisions. The emphasis on individual interest and research helped foster my inquisitive nature.
The critical thinking sessions, in particular, were helpful. Before coming to Ashbourne, I was in an educational system that did not put emphasis on individual inquiry. Partaking in the CT sessions at Ashbourne before university definitely influenced my way of thinking and asking questions.’
How do you feel about graduating with a first from one of the top universities in the country and the world?
‘It feels quite surreal if I’m honest. I’m assured that perseverance and dedication to what might seem farfetched become worth it eventually. I see it as a beautiful opportunity I’ve been granted.’
What are your future plans?
‘I am currently on my year out, doing Part 1 work, after which I will go on to complete the necessary stages to qualify to be an architect. I am particularly interested in urban informality and growth in the global south – a less traveled road, but one that is increasingly relevant, owing to the changing nature of our cities.’