Testimonial 7

Banker with an interest in palaeontology

I am Paul Varotsis, I have been a banker most of my working life. A few years ago I started working part time and decided to take this opportunity to volunteer at the Natural History Museum in London. I enjoyed the experience and decided I wanted to improve my academic knowledge.

Being a fossil fan, I signed up at Birkbeck for a certificate in Palaeontology and Earth History and after a year decided to switch to BSc Geology. As I study part time and have a day job, I found Birkbeck flexible enough to allow me to do both. More than the evening classes (that I try to attend but cannot always because of travelling), what I found most helpful has been to watch classes over the Internet or even on my mobile phone and the accessibility of the lecturers. They have made my Birkbeck experience so valuable. It is hard to get a scientific degree while you work and wish to keep a semblance of family life, but Birkbeck lecturers and staff have been crucial to allow me to understand some of the more difficult aspects and to keep me motivated to get to my degree.

I particularly enjoyed the field classes, my last one was in Lanzarote – not the best place for a fossil fan - but I found it fascinating to understand how volcanoes work. I was proud at the end of the course to be able to write the geological history of a volcano I had never seen before. I am now even thinking of getting a Masters, but I am getting ahead of myself.

Paul Varotsis