Victoria Rose Richards
Current Employer/Organisation Name
What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?
I began creating and selling art when I left university and now do this full time as a self-employed artist.
Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?
I chose it because I began creating art at university to deal with stress caused by it and realised how whole and happy it made me. I therefore decided to focus on this once I left instead of using my degree for as long as I’d like before going into the science area I studied for.
What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?
I really enjoyed the third year where I got to chose all my modules and those modules were my favourite of the whole course (environmental and marine sciences). My biggest highlight was at the end of the second year when my group went to Torquay beach to carry out rocky shore species counts.
What did you enjoy most about studying here?
The campus is so green! I’m from the countryside and the idea of going into a big city like Exeter to study was kind of distressing to be apart from nature; instead, I felt quite at home as I could spend free time and weekends exploring the nature areas of the campus (I especially loved the pond areas!).
Why did you choose to study at Exeter?
Because it was only 50 miles from home – I’m autistic and while I wanted to be away from home to study, I wanted to be close enough that my parents could reach me fast if I wanted help. Exeter has a good reputation and felt the perfect distance.
What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?
I’m not sure I’ve been using specific skills I built on my degree course for my art but I do know that my time at university gave me more confidence in myself and I don’t think I would have taken the plunge to start my own business if I didn’t have that experience at university.
What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?
If they’re thinking to start their own business or work for themselves too, that things take time and not to be put off by a slow start. When I first starting my business, it was very quiet for several months because obviously there is so much already out there and people have to find you through it all – it doesn’t have a bearing on how good you are. Once the ball gets rolling, things will change and you’ll be glad you stuck to it!
What are your plans for the future?
Right now, I plan to continue my art but at some point I’ll switch to part time and start working in my degree area too – while my art makes me very happy, I also want to do biology-based work in the future too as I still have a love for it.