Elizabeth Kirk – Eden Project
00:00:03 My name is Elizabeth Kirk, and I’m the Staff Aromatherapist at the Eden Project. I’m here one day a week, just on Thursdays, the rest of the time I’m back at college doing another degree in Applied Zoology. I work alongside sort of the Occupational Health Department. So I tend to treat a lot of like the gardeners for sort of injuries, or retail staff for any problems they’ve got, or I tend to work a lot with the Foundation staff for like stress, or repetitive strain of the mouse and key board and things like that.
00:00:41 I didn’t know I always wanted to do Aromatherapy, it was something I sort of always had a general interest in. And then with – when we had to apply for sort of our UCAS placements at Uni, I was really – I’m very indecisive, and I couldn’t sort of decide where I wanted to go or, you know, when you’re sort of 17, 18 you’re like – God I don’t know what I want to do for ever. My one dread was being one of these people that wakes up every morning thinking God, I’ve got to go to work and I don’t really want to go and – I couldn’t imagine having to do that for – well for all my working life. It didn’t appeal to me. So my college tutor at the time just said if you don’t pick your course, you’re not going to Uni, it’s as simple as.
00:01:21 It was the deadline. And I did, I opened the page and went Oh that looks nice, and sort of filled that in, and that’s what I ended up doing. But I’ve sort of, I’ve enjoyed every sort of minute of it, it seems to be very natural to me to do that anyway, so – whether it was meant to be or – you never know do you, it just sort of happened for me. When I was younger I really wanted a career with animals. I think like all children you were like – you wanna be a vet, or you wanna work in a zoo or, you know, animals were my passion. But when I was younger I thought well everyone wants to work with animals, and I didn’t really see much of a career for myself in it. But after going away and doing the degree on Complementary Therapies and then sort of coming back and working in it, there was still always that like niggle that I wanted to be more involved with animals. And that’s why I’ve gone back to do another degree now in Applied Zoology.
00:02:20 When I came to the end of my course I didn’t have an idea really, I just knew I would have to come home and find work. My Mum also works at Eden, and she’d been telling them what I’d been doing and such like, and they gave me a call up, and asked me to come and give it a go and sort of – I was sort of the first step in the whole new look at getting sort of more health benefits for the staff, and so it was really nice not only to find a job in what I’d qualified in, but to actually find quite a new and unique job as well. So I was quite lucky really.
00:02:53 Probably the highpoint is realising that I can go back and change my mind. When I first was unhappy with just doing the Aromatherapy I was like – Oh God, I’ve spent all this money, I’ve got a degree, I’m in debt, and I don’t think I can change anything. And to then sort of sit down and go – well actually I can. And to actually go back, and now do something that I love to do has made all the difference.
00:03:22 I’d never like to plan where I was going to be in five or ten years’ time, I don’t tend to work like that. My initial plan is to finish the course that I’m on, that’ll be another two years, and then just see what happens. Wait for that next big, spur of the moment decision that I haven’t had to make yet. (LAUGHS)
00:03:42 I suppose if I could do anything, I would concentrate on my passion for reptiles, I suppose. I don’t know quite where I would take that, whether maybe I would bring the Aromatherapy into that, or go and live in the Galapagos with the tortoises. I don’t know. But probably I would follow my reptiles somewhere. As long as I could take the ones I’ve got with me. (LAUGHS)
Liz K, staff aromatherapist at the Eden Project, found choosing a university course aged 18, quite daunting; but she thoroughly enjoyed her studies and the work that followed. More recently, her greatest revelation has been that she can combine her current role with returning to study. She is taking a further degree in applied zoology so that she can follow her childhood passion for animals, most specifically reptiles.
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