WMC learner, Oriana White, has been announced as Festival of Learning’s 2018 Highly Commended Outstanding Individual Learner, for her exceptional achievements in adult learning. This award recognises those individuals who, through learning, have transformed their own lives and the lives of their families, friends, their communities, and the places they work.
Oriana, age 41, joined WMC-The Camden College (Working Men’s College) through a referral from Kings Cross Hospital trauma clinic, and her return to education gave her the confidence to pursue her dream of becoming a writer.
Oriana had escaped domestic violence and was recovering from being stalked and seriously assaulted. Living with Crohn’s Disease and complex PTSD, she wanted to find a way to move forward with her life safely. Oriana enrolled on three non-accredited writing courses, but her confidence and morale were low, and she needed encouragement and support.
Once she began writing, Oriana realised it was something she really enjoyed. She was able to express her experience in a way that was cathartic to her but also resonated with those around her. Oriana has found that that being back in education is helping her state of mind and empowering her to feel more in control of all aspects of her life.
She recently began studying for an MA in Creative, Digital and Professional Writing. In the future Oriana hopes to set up a foundation for survivors, providing support and creative opportunities. She also hopes to set up a publishing company to enable fellow survivors and trauma victims to write their own stories and be heard.
Oriana commented on how learning has impacted her life: “Education has always been my sanctuary. It is where I feel confident to move forward safely in my own time”
Oriana’s tutor Prof Anne Karpf at London Metropolitan University said: “Oriana is living proof of how education can enhance your life at any stage of it and help you grow in ways that you never anticipated.”
Helen Hammond, Principal of WMC, The Camden College, said “Oriana has taken an extraordinary journey that has led her to a place of strength and hope. WMCs contribution at the early stages has been a great affirmation of the power of Adult education and demonstrates the way that small steps in learning can build up to enable a higher level achievement.”