"Now I ask myself: 'What would you do if you weren't afraid?' - it helps me realise that my fear may be holding me back and that I should move out of my comfort zone if I want to progress."

Name: Lauren Edwards

Studied at CHS: 2006 to 2010
Current role: Senior Patent Consultant, Arizona

Route after leaving CHS: 

After completing my A Levels at Congleton High, I went to university to study Law. Once I had graduated, I got a job in an employment law firm in Wilmslow. It was an administrative job and there was a lot of potential to move up in the company to become an Employment Law Consultant. It was also the first job that meant something to me (my actual first job was working in a call centre ten hours a day, five days a week, so I like to forget that!). 

I was then lucky enough to be offered an internship in Arizona at an Intellectual Property Law Firm. Intellectual property Law was a field I never even considered, but as it turns out - it's my absolute dream job! I learned a lot as an intern and got to see the daily workings of a law firm.

Following my internship, I secured a position at the same law firm in Arizona as a Patent Consultant, writing patents, performing patent searches/trademark searches and handling general admin. I have since been promoted to Senior Patent Consultant and am also Human Resources (HR) Representative for the junior consultants in the firm. I wouldn't say 'no' to an opportunity in Contract Law but right now I am absolutely living the dream!

My next step is to take my LLM (Masters of Law) next year and then sit the California Bar Exam (judged to be the hardest in the country) to become a practicing lawyer as soon as possible.

How does your present role compare with what you thought you'd be doing?
I wanted to be a lot of things, from fashion designer to forensic psychologist! My ultimate dream was actually to be a detective but I'd never pass the fitness test to be a police officer! However, I left university knowing that I never really wanted to get into the criminal law field. I deal with happy and excited people every day and that's what makes me happy and why I got into law.

What are your memories of CHS?

My form tutor from Year 7-Year 11, Miss Robinson (Now Mrs Mortimer-Jones) was the best form tutor. She was like a second mummy to all of us and was also very supportive when my dad suffered an accident, as was Mrs Eckersley. 

I was terrible at Maths. I remember getting a Level 7 in Year 9 SAS exam and Mr Fleming literally didn't believe me! (He was a great teacher, I was sad to see him go), but I got Mr Warren in GCSE and he got me from a D to a B in my GCSE's. He was hands down the best teacher I have had - he made maths easy. He explained it in a way that made sense to me and had a lot of patience. 

Mr Baxendale in Art was also someone I really looked up to and respected. The Art classroom became my second home - I'd stay there after school until Mr. Baxendale kicked me out!

In sixth form, I took law (my passion), so naturally I became close with Miss Wiggins, my Law teacher. She was great and taught me a lot. My proudest moment was definitely getting the first A* for the Law department in my A-level. Miss Wiggins is a teacher I have kept in contact with. She was always very supportive of my career.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I would tell my school-girl self not to be so shy and stop worrying about what people think. I used to live by the saying "everything happens for a reason" (and I still do) but I also think that encouraged me to not be a go-getter. I was so worried about what others would think of me. Now I ask myself: "What would you do if you weren't afraid?" - it helps me realise that my fear may be holding me back and that I should move out of my comfort zone if I want to progress.

Also, I fell out with a lot of my friends from school and I now realise that if someone doesn't like you for who you are then they don't deserve to be your friend. Be yourself and you will attract long-time friends who love you for who you are.