History - Elizabeth Prochaska
Elizabeth went to St Paul's Girls' School in London before coming to study History at St John's in 1999. She graduated from Cambridge in 2002 and continued to study history on a Henry Fellowship at Yale University. She is now a graduate student in law at Somerville College, Oxford.
'After three years at Cambridge, marked by excessive acting, politicking and far too little history, I wasn’t sure I was going to be useful to anyone. I spent a year on a fellowship at Yale, which allowed me to study whatever I liked (more history, some urban design for the sheer perversity of it) and a year doing various jobs, none of which felt quite right. In the end, like so many Cambridge graduates, I alighted on law. Everyone cites the same reasons: intellectual stimulation, social impact, lifestyle, all of which motivated me. Above all, I wanted to use my academic abilities in a ‘real-life’ practical context. Academia seemed too staid, but I hoped that in law actual consequences flow from your work. I did the law conversion course at City University, which I would recommend to anyone as a fascinating, if demanding, year.Having completed a BCL (the trumped-up Oxford name for a masters in law), I am now doing my pupillage at Matrix Chambers. Plenty of people told me becoming a barrister would be impossibly competitive, but if you’re stubborn and persistent, it is achievable and offers the chance to make something of those acting and politicking skills you learnt at Cambridge.'
- Elizabeth Prochaska, graduated 2002