Lancaster University graduation ceremony: ‘I went back to University 25 years after I started the first time around’
For Charles Mountain, studying for an MSc at Lancaster University felt like coming home – 25 years after starting his first degree here.
The Cartmel College graduate studied Physics from 1993, and returned last year to complete an MSc in Cyber Security, in which he achieved a distinction.
Charles met his wife while he was an undergraduate at Lancaster, and said returning brought back fond memories of his time here.
“It was interesting coming back” said Charles, who now lives in Knutsford, Cheshire. “I went back to University 25 years after I started the first time around.”
He said he thought the University had both “changed, and not changed”, and said: “The whole of south-west campus wasn’t there when I was first here and my college had moved. There has been lots of investment in various buildings, with facilities available 24 hours a day, and it has moved on a lot.
“But there’s still the good collegiate feel and you feel part of a community, and it’s always friendly.
“From accessing the Internet for the very first time to pizza at 4am, I have many great memories from Lancaster having been involved in social and sports groups and making lifelong friends in the process.”
During his first degree, Charles took the opportunity to study in Calgary, Canada in his second year, which he says helped make him more confident and outgoing.
He said: “I came back to Lancaster to do my third year and that year I met my wife, Emma. She was in Cartmel too and studied French and German. Apparently I wouldn’t stop talking about Canada! We got together and now we are married with two children.”
Charles took a career break in 2016 after working in IT for 20 years, and decided to apply for a Masters in Cyber Security and was keen to return to Lancaster. He joined Graduate College, and said: “It was really good to do it again, it just seemed to go very quickly.” Charles combined studying with a full-time job working for Defra, and now hopes to continue to build his business in Cyber Security and deliver secure end to end solutions.