Keele is renowned for its close family networks and generations of families attending the University, as well as helping to create brand new families!

So when Recruitment Robin owner Selina Rudzik, was asked to do a feature with her sister for National Siblings Day, both sisters jumped at the chance.

When were you at Keele? 

Selina studied at Keele University between 2000 – 2006. Beginning a BA (dual hons) in English Literature and American Studies (2000 – 2003), and then later undertaking a MA in Human Resource Management (2005 – 2006).

Roxana studied at Keele University between 2002 – 2008. Initially commencing a BSc (dual hons) in Psychology and Criminology (2002 – 2005), First Steps in Counselling short course whilst also embarking on a Certificate in Counselling course (2005 – 2006), and then completing the MSc in Counselling Psychology with Distinction (2006 – 2008).

Were you at Keele at the same time?  Did  you spend your time together or apart?

When Selina was in her final year of her BA degree, Roxana had just started as a fresher in September 2002.

To be honest, most of the time we were immersed in study, attending lectures and/or seminars, or setting up camp in the library so we didn’t really hang out together while at Uni due to our differing timetables. Fortunately, we spent time together every single day as we lived together off campus and were even ‘roomies’ during our early student years.

While undertaking our bachelors, and living off campus, neither of us really got involved in any society or clubs regrettably. However, when Roxana returned to undertake a Certificate in Counselling and MSc in Counselling courses, she was actively involved with KUBE Radio, Dance Society and Musicians’ Society, becoming Treasurer initially and then elected President of the Musicians’ Society for 2years running. When Selina returned to Keele University to undertake her Master’s degree, she would often offer support or actively participate providing vocals at Open Mic nights and Folk Club. Both of us have always loved singing.

What made you choose Keele? Were your reasons different or similar?

Being local girls, having grown up in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, we were aware of Keele. Keele woods was one of our haunts to visit as youngsters with our family and pet at the time, Shi Tzu Rupert.

Therefore, when applying for University, it’s perhaps unsurprising Keele was a first choice for us both as it seemed to be a familiar ‘home from home’. Keele University seemed to be a perfect choice with its dual honours bachelor’s degrees sounding very appealing to us both, a variety of subsidiary courses on offer at the time, decent and comprehensive library resources, and of course, the beautiful grounds.

Did one sibling recommend Keele to the other? Was their recommendation the right one?

Selina often recounted how much she enjoyed attending and studying at Keele University and so it was a given that Roxana would also study there. The Rudzik sisters ended up completing further studies at Keele University, so it must have had a very positive impact on us for us to return to Keele!

Whilst at Keele University it can feel like being in a ‘bubble’ on campus and even though we lived off campus, we still felt a part of the Keele community. Moreover, Keele was and became part of us.

On reflection, we are in agreement that in the most part everyone was very welcoming, approachable and supportive. We each met like-minded people through the courses studied and forged long-lasting friendships.

Yes, Selina’s recommendation was absolutely spot on. We loved Keele and the surrounds so much so that we each walked up the Chapel aisle twice over for graduation ceremonies. Furthermore, Roxana was blessed to also walk down the aisle as a bride, with Selina her Maid of Honour, at Keele Chapel in 2010. Keele has a special place in our families’ hearts.

Were your experiences different – or similar? In what ways?

Whilst our experiences were quite similar, in the sense that we both attended lectures, seminars, workshops, used the same library and the same facilities, because we studied very different subjects, attended two years apart, and had different social circles, our experiences were also quite individual.

Months after Selina’s graduation, unfortunately tragedy struck the family when our great-grandmother passed away. This affected Roxana immensely who was then mid-way through her BSc. Feeling lost, running on empty and consumed with grief, Roxana considered walking away from Uni during this very challenging time. Had it not been for the incredible care and support from Dr Mark Trueman, who strongly recommended to try counselling, Mrs Faye Harris at KUSU’s Independent Advice Unit, and the space to talk with a counsellor, Roxana believes she would have left Uni altogether. The support structure available at Keele University was second to none! Moreover, due to her personal experience of seeking support, feeling listened to, understood and supported with positive outcomes, this was a major contributing factor in Roxana choosing to study to become a Counsellor herself to ‘pay it forward’ so-to-speak and offering support to individuals who may be struggling with their own mental health issues personally, academically and/or professionally.

As previously stated, Roxana got involved in various extra-curricular activities and societies while undertaking postgraduate study, whereas Selina decided to focus on her studies.

We are each very passionate about the subject matter we had studied at Keele University and both feel very fortunate to have been able to put all our years of learning, knowledge and experiences gained into setting up our own businesses in our respective fields.

Beyond Keele

Selina runs a successful fixed fee recruitment business in Newcastle-under-Lyme, helping employers to fill permanent vacancies within their organisations. She is a keen networker in the local business community as well as a Business Mentor with the Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce, a STEM Ambassador through Entrust, a Committee Member for the Staffordshire Region of the Federation of Small Business, and a Steering Group Member of Finest. Selina’s business was also entered into the 2017 Newcastle Business Boost Awards ‘Going for Growth’ category and received a Highly Commended Award. She has also been listed amongst the top 100 inspirational business women in the UK in the FSB 100 Women #PressForProgress campaign which recently ran on International Women’s Day 2018 (8th March).

Roxana runs a private practice offering counselling and supervision services, both face-to-face and online. She also works as an Online Counsellor for Mind|Box and Dr Julian App, as well as part time as a Schools Counsellor for a local charity in North Staffordshire. Roxana was shortlisted for a ‘Profession Hero – Therapist’ Mental Healthy award by mental health organisation Mental Healthy and national charities SANE, The Mental Health Foundation, The centre for Mental Health and Emergence in 2012. Additionally, Roxana was nominated and shortlisted by students at the University of Chester for an ‘Above & Beyond’ award as ‘Outstanding Non-Academic Support Staff’ in her role as an Associate Counsellor in 2015. To relax and unwind, Roxana enjoys listening to music, jamming with musicians, writing, and photography. In her spare time, Roxana is learning more about mindfulness.