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News > Alumni Interview > Hattie Hall

Hattie Hall

Our Michaelmas Term 2021 OP interview was with Hattie Hall.

Bit of background, where you live, what you do for a living:

I am a Data Scientist for an international financial services group. Living in London, but working with businesses across Asia and Europe.

I got here through a BSc in Mathematics, MSc in Operational Research and an MPhil in Spacecraft Trajectory Optimisation. I am also a Yoga and AcroYoga teacher in my free time.

When were you at Princethorpe - years from and to?

Sixth Form: 2009-2011

What was the school like in your day?

Gosh, 'in your day' makes it sound like so long ago! but it doesn't feel that long.

Princethorpe was very different from the school I had come from. It was an inspiring building and each classroom had its own personality. Even different corridors within the school had their own distinct feel - some that I liked, and would actively try to include in my routes between classes, and others that I tried to avoid as much as possible! they gave me the shivers!

There were some strange rules (and dare I say it - teachers!) but I found it to be an incredibly welcoming place with a positive energy and a lot going on! I genuinely looked forward to going to school every day and participating in school events.

How did Princethorpe affect the person you are today?

Princethorpe didn't try to mould me into the perfect Princethorpe student. They allowed me to question things and rebel (within reason of course!). So they just helped me to be me!

What advice would you give to your teenage self?

Don't let one bad experience of language learning put you off - start learning a language now! It's so incredibly useful and I wish I'd learned a language, sooner!

Who or what has been the greatest influence on your life?

One of my biggest motivators in life has always been people that say I cannot do something. From as young as nine I remember being told I was incapable of a variety of things. A teacher once told me I would never achieve top grades in Physics or Maths purely because I was female. Age, gender, race, personality, disability, it doesn't matter the reason they gave, these people inspired me to prove them wrong and achieve great things. So I should probably thank them!

Perhaps one of the greatest examples of this began at age 16. I was diagnosed with a chronic eye condition and I began losing my sight from the outside in. It felt as though overnight the whole world was telling me I couldn't do things anymore. You can't read, you can't navigate, you can't live independently, you can't go skiing. etc. But none of these things are true unless you make them true, by not trying.

What keeps you awake at night?

Climate change and figuring out how to break disability stereotypes.

What has been your proudest moment/greatest achievement so far?

Choosing not to finish my PhD in Maths is probably the single thing I am most proud of. Which sounds odd, I know! I'm proud that I recognised that it wasn't teaching me what I needed, or wanted, to be taught. Instead of sacrificing my mental health to override my instincts and finish it anyway, I chose to leave and pursue other opportunities where I learnt much more and excelled. Maybe It'll be the right next step in a few years, or maybe it won't. The beauty is, it doesn't really matter! Just because it looks good on paper doesn't mean it's the right choice for everyone!

What’s your biggest indulgence?

Chocolate and musical theatre. I love having London's theatres on my doorstep!

If you had to have one last meal, what would it be?

A vegetarian roast dinner and hot chocolate fudge cake with cold custard!

If you could be anywhere right now, where would it be and who would be with you?

I would be deep in nature with my partner and close friends. Somewhere with mountains, forests, lakes and fast moving clouds I can watch swoop by Canada or Scandinavia sounds perfect for some hiking, kayaking, forest bathing and evenings toasting marshmallows by the fire.

Lasting memories of Princethorpe:

I loved all of my Music experiences at Princethorpe. From the choir tour to Lake Garda, the Sixth Form Jazz Choir's rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody or just composing new music with friends in the practise rooms.

Maths was also a love of mine at Princethorpe. We had a weekly 'biscuit club' with Mrs McBride - we ate biscuits and did Maths. it was a lot cooler than it sounds!

Are you in touch with any other Old Princethorpians, if so whom?

The wonders of modern technology mean I have a lot of my Princethorpe contacts on Facebook. We have met up over the years and it's always a lot of fun to see what's new in everyone's lives.

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