School of Divinity

Dominique White - BD, Hons II.I Ecclesiastical History

Dominique White studied for the BD degree.

Dominique White

Current position: Mother & Bilingual Legal Secretary

It goes without saying that motherhood is a vocation rather than an occupation. It is also the most rewarding and exhilarating job I have had.

At this stage of his young life my son is unaware of the impact my time at New College has had on his life as well as my own.

Since graduating I have always found work through recruitment agencies, whose expertise and insight in the job market cannot be underestimated.

I became a bilingual legal secretary eight years ago because it was the most interesting job offered to me by the agency I joined when I moved to Spain. I have been with the same firm ever since, working now on a part-time basis.

I studied a Bachelor of Divinity for love of the subject. I had no idea that in so doing I would be picking up essential life skills along the way.

It is with hindsight that I realize that I learned how to think, argue and listen, as well as learning how to use criticism in order to better myself, whilst at University. I also gained interpersonal skills which helped me form life long friendships and respect for the dignity of the other.

The learning curve was gentle but steep. When attending First Year tutorials I found I had read all the books on the list but I didn't have a clue how to form an opinion or argue a point.

Today as I act as a sounding board for the lawyers who pass by my office to bounce their arguments off me, I realise the valuable skill I picked up through four years of tutorials and seminars at New College.

Although I know nothing about Spanish law I do know how to think through an argument and find its weaknesses.

How New College influenced my life

I learned an early lesson thanks to a mature student who took me aside after a tutorial to ask me why I never spoke. This person helped me overcome my reticence by encouraging me to participate even though I often felt intimidated by the age gap between myself and my peers. It took me some time to realize that they felt just as intimidated by me as I did by them!

I gained as much from the comments written by the lecturers who read my essays and explained my errors to me as I did from the lecturers who applauded me for excellent work.

One of the knocks in life I experienced whilst at University was that sometimes my best wasn't good enough. However, I am eternally grateful that I took this blow whilst still in the caring environment of New College rather than in an anonymous workplace.

The real advantage of doing a BD at New College is the fact that the students come from all age groups, races, creeds and nationalities. It is a credit to New College that every individual finds his or her needs met.

New College attracts incredible people as students and academics. People who have suffered, people who believe, people who question, people who are inspired and who inspire. It is an honour to have been considered one of their calibre.

I gained more than just a degree whilst at the University of Edinburgh. If asked to sum up my experience of New College in particular I would say it was the place where I was given a set of golden opportunities which I tried to make the most of, to the best of my abilities. I doubt I am the only alumnus who feels this way.