I research French Caribbean history, translate from French into English and have the privilege of teaching undergraduate historians. I’m due to complete my PhD over the course of the next year. Neither of my parents had stayed at school beyond the age of 16 and I didn’t know what a university was until I got there. Still, I never for a moment doubted that I wanted (needed!) to study Arts subjects at university. Luckily for me, I was not discouraged, and I went to an excellent secondary school with supportive teachers. Money was always a problem under the first student loan scheme, so I dread to think what it feels like these days. I survived on the loan and on part-time jobs, and was fortunate (and driven) enough to gain funding for postgraduate study. An MA in Cultural History opened up ways of thinking about huge questions, showed me that I was not the only one pondering them, and provided the tools to come up with more creative and productive ways of doing that pondering. I volunteer for Arts Emergency because I would like the opportunities I’ve had to be open to all who might want them. There should be no paywall on the riches of human experience!