Welcome to the first installment of our new article ‘Spotlight’ where we get to know a member of UCLMS staff a little better. Here is Marta….
Marta Darrat Student Support and Records Assistant
Tell me about your role I arrange appointments for Years 4, 5 and 6 students to come in and see the Student Support Tutors for those years – Peter Raven, Anthony Silverstone and Amali Lokugamage. I also type the notes from these meetings and ensure they are distributed and filed correctly. I am also managing the diaries for Peter Raven and Gaynor Jones (Head of Medical Student Admin).
What’s your favourite part of your role? I really love working with all the Student Support Tutors, especially Peter since I have taken over as his diary manager. I really enjoy this part of my job – they are great to work with!
What do you find challenging in your role? My job has changed a lot since I started here 5 years ago, and is constantly changing! So I need to be very adaptable and learn quickly. Also, I work in an open plan office so it’s sometimes difficult to focus on typing notes while blocking out any distractions and noise.
What did you do before coming to UCL? What’s your work history? I am actually an English teacher. I taught in Poland (where I am from) in state schools, then in England in private colleges – anything from complete beginners to those nearly fluent. In Poland it was pretty difficult at times to maintain discipline as I was 21 and just 5 years older than my students! I really enjoyed it though and miss teaching sometimes.
What was your favourite subject at school? Easy – P.E. I loved all sports; my favourites though were basketball and gymnastics. . I was the captain of my university basketball team and still play sometimes when I can.
My second favourites were maths, chemistry and physics. I think I have a very logical mind and love structure and working out formulas! This comes across in my language teaching as I would always enjoy breaking down sentences and examining the structure of them.
What would your ideal job be (if money was no object!)? I would be a headteacher in a school. Organising the school, managing and overseeing it all sounds like great fun. Or I would be involved in charity work – maybe running a care home for the elderly, or helping them in some way. They have so much life experience and so many stories but are often ignored.
What do you like to do outside of work? Well, I have a 3 year-old son, Michael, so he keeps me very busy! But I have recently got an allotment and have started growing my own radishes, lettuce and even a cherry tree, so am really looking forward to some home-grown organic food over the summer. It’s hard work but you really feel like you’re achieving something and I love being close to nature.
Where is your favourite place to eat / drink / walk in London? Apart from my allotment, I like going to the park with Michael – Alexandra Palace and Trent Park are local to me and really nice to wander round. Or in the summer we love going to the seaside. We try to go to a different place each time and have so far discovered Brighton, Southend, Bournemouth, Littlehampton and Torquay among others.
What 3 things would you take to a desert island? Michael of course! Apart from him… some photos of my family and friends. I am not really interested in ‘possessions’ as long as I have the people I love around me.
Do you have a nickname? When I used to play basketball they called me ‘Mala’ which means ‘little’ in Polish as I was so little (for a basketball player)!