‘One day I will study here’: Stratford graduate achieves dream

Paola Torrani. Picture: Dominic Mifsud/Birkbeck

Paola Torrani. Picture: Dominic Mifsud/Birkbeck - Credit: Dominic Mifsud

Two decades after first visiting London and setting her heart on studying there, a woman from Stratford has finally achieved her dream.

Paola Torrani, 39, has graduated with a BSc in social sciences with social anthropology from Birkbeck University of London despite being branded ‘lazy’ and ‘stupid’ by teachers when she was a child.

Paola, who is originally from Italy, had always wanted a career in science and when visiting London aged 18, she took a photo of the Senate House building in Bloomsbury and sent it to her mum, saying: “One day I will study here.”

After moving to the capital aged 30 to work in marketing, she eventually plucked up the courage to apply to university, taking evening classes while working during the day.

She was diagnosed with dyslexia duering her course but went on to complete her degree and graduated earlier this week.

Paola said: “I don’t have a job now, I have a career.

“I’m not going to stop here – sometimes it’s just about having the courage to achieve, with the right people behind you.”