Student in purple hoodie standing in back alleys

Charles’s time at university helped him learn how to advocate for himself and begin a career he feels passionate about

5 min read

Before university, I was completely unsure what I wanted to do. 

Navigating my gender identity and other life challenges took priority, including being a care leaver. 

All I knew was that I wanted to help people, so I took a variety of humanities and social science subjects during my GCSEs to open up a pathway for me to get to that goal.

Moving to a brand new city was terrifying at first, but I’m thrilled that I spent four years at the University of Portsmouth. I quickly found my feet and my love for the seafront - it became my sanctuary.

Portsmouth was a huge contrast to my hometown but certainly prepared me for the world better than I could have imagined.

Charles Dalby, BA (Hons) Childhood and Youth Studies with Psychology

Being a care leaver and an estranged student, but not fitting firmly into either bracket, meant getting support wasn’t easy at first, but eventually it worked out. The University gave me a support network, they got me through, believed in me, stretched me, supported me, laughed with me, cried with me and inspired me. It has been life-changing support and I will be eternally grateful.

I then spent time advocating for others in my position as a committee member of the Estranged Students' Society and working on the Life Solved resource packs and Up For Uni programme with the Ambassadors team. This helped me massively with confidence, self-belief and reframing my experiences.

My favourite thing about my course was the lecturers, they quickly became my biggest cheerleaders.

Charles Dalby, BA (Hons) Childhood and Youth Studies with Psychology

Dr Sukh Hamilton in particular supported me from the very beginning of my first year all the way through to graduation. I deeply appreciate my lecturers and firmly believe I wouldn’t have achieved so much without their support.

My dissertation was an in-depth analysis of the symbiotic relationship between friendship and identity. I was incredibly excited to conduct research into something I so deeply cared about. It touched on topics such as intersectionality, psychology, queer identities, social media and many more. I’m so proud of my grade as I pumped so much passion and energy into it.

I reached out for support and expressed my desire to achieve a First. I also worked incredibly hard and gave my all to every assessment in my third year.

Charles Dalby, BA (Hons) Childhood and Youth Studies with Psychology

I graduated with a First Class degree in Childhood and Youth Studies with Psychology and secured an internship within the Diversity and Inclusion team at the Royal Academy of Engineering, researching inclusive cultures and leadership programmes. 

I feel very lucky to have had this opportunity. I was able to apply my degree in a practical way and focus on intersectionality Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), which is a huge passion of mine.

I’m now doing a Master's degree in Psychology. My long-term aspiration is to work in child psychology with a neuropsychology specialism - meaning eventually I’ll be required to complete a PhD.

My four years at university transformed me. I learned how to release the fun, humorous side of myself, and I have motivation and strength that I can channel into my ambitions.

Charles Dalby, BA (Hons) Childhood and Youth Studies with Psychology