17th August 2016
York College student Diana Kauke is one of hundreds of A Level students eagerly awaiting their results on 18th August this year. For Diana, the date marks the end of a very difficult yet amazing period of her life.
Originally from Latvia, Diana came to the UK three years ago to live with a family member in the York area. Already speaking Latvian and Russian, and having learnt English at secondary school, she wanted to study a combined English Literature and Language A Level course, as well as A Level Maths.
Unfortunately, aged just 16, Diana found herself without a home, sofa surfing and living hand to mouth. She began skipping College and in her words ‘hit rock bottom’. It was not until half-way through her first year at College that Diana was able to move in with a friend (who became her guardian) and the York College Student Services team became aware of her personal circumstances. Diana says: “The College was really supportive and helped me to get my life back on track. It was then that I made a conscious effort to concentrate on my studies.” She certainly did - amazing her tutors when she achieved an A grade in Maths and a B in English for her AS Levels.
Diana returned to College for a second year to study two further A Levels in Law and Government & Politics, whilst continuing with her A Levels in Maths and English Literature/Language. She found part-time employment and, aged 18, started living independently. She was grateful when the College’s Student Services team supported her in accessing financial assistance with travel and subsistence. It was shortly after then that Diana was awarded the College’s A Level Student of the Month award which she says: “Made me cry … it meant so much.”
Studying A Level Law also turned out to be the best surprise for Diana. Not having considered the subject before she found her studies so interesting that she also completed an Extended Project Qualification based on medical law. Her new-found passion for the subject is now all she can think of and she is delighted to have secured a place to study Politics and International Relations at the University of York in September. She also has plans to study an MA in Medical Law, followed by a PhD in Animal Law!
Says Diana: “Three years at College greatly boosted my confidence. I love the College, it’s like my second home. I will be very sad to leave the place and I can’t quite believe I will not be returning here in September but to the University of York!”
Diana has also recently found out she has been awarded a Helena Kennedy Foundation Award bursary to assist her financially at university, as well access to mentoring support which will help her progress successfully into employment or further studies.