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CCCU: where academic careers and motherhood go hand-in-hand: Becky's story

At CCCU, anyone can thrive. We're here to support all our students to succeed. Read how Becky has progressed towards a PhD, all the while juggling motherhood, with the help from CCCU. 

Photo of Becky Thomson
Becky Thomson

Juggling studying and motherhood is never easy. But with the right amount of motivation and a solid support system, it's certainly achievable. 

Since joining Canterbury Christ Church University, Becky has graduated with both an undergraduate and postgraduate degree. She achieved a Distinction in MSc Forensic and Investigative Psychology and was the Students’ Union President (Development) and a Researcher at the University.

But this is only the beginning for Becky as she is about to start a PhD in Policing. 

Read how Becky juggles her academic career and caring for her three year old daughter with the help from CCCU.

The first to go to university 

"University was never mentioned in my family. I wasn’t even allowed to take my 11+ because it just wasn’t what people like us did.

"I moved out of my family home when I was young, and it was only when I finished A-Levels that a teacher helped me see that higher education could be a real possibility for me.

"Even then, my route into university wasn’t typical. I started a psychology degree at 18 but personal circumstances meant I left after just five months, and I ended up working as a supply teacher in Kent."

Working in education was amazing, but I still felt my passion was psychology, so I started a distance-learning degree part-time. When I became pregnant with my daughter Phoebe, I decided it was time to fully focus on my degree.

Choosing a supportive and inclusive university 

"I was accepted into multiple universities, but the difference here was the level of pastoral care I was offered. When I was going to Open Days I was seven months pregnant, and at other universities I was made to feel completely out of place - I didn’t fit into their image of what a student should be.

"But when I visited Canterbury Christ Church University, everybody was lovely, offering me support and talking me through my options, so I could work flexibly and balance life with my little one.

"During my undergraduate degree I took on research internships, which helped me build experience and make academic contacts - there are so many opportunities within the University if you just get involved, and you never know what it will lead on to.

"Now I’ve got my Master’s, and I’m planning on starting a PhD in Policing - I didn’t even think I would finish my undergrad!"

Canterbury Christ Church University is a unique university - we’re a small community but we’re so supportive of each other. For me, the University puts students first - staff really do care about their students and want them to do well for themselves, not just for academic status.

"Take up your space"

"I’ve met so many strong women here that have taught me so much. I never thought that you could be really successful in academia when you have children, but the inspirational women I’ve met here have proved to me that you can absolutely do it.

Higher education is for everybody - there’s always a way to make it happen, just be determined and ask for help. You are good enough to be here, so take up your space."