IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Q&A with Marian Adejokun

Marian was an Early Years Education MA student, class of 2017 and is now an Early Years educator and founder of ReachOut2All CIC. She tells us about her time at IOE.

Marian Adejokun at a UCL Student's Union fair. Image permission: Marian Adejokun.

Why did you choose to study your programme and what made you choose IOE?

I have always been passionate about working with young children since I was a teenager at the age of 16, having had a lot of experience in SEN, Primary and Nursery school settings. I also believe the foundation of a child's life is crucial and most importantly, children always remember what adults have instilled into their lives and share it amongst their peers and even into adulthood.

The key aspect is ensuring that children's needs are being met first, with the guidance of professionals to improve their learning and developmental areas.

Having enjoyed my course at the University of Roehampton, which was Early Childhood Studies BA, I wanted to embark on furthering my education, as I felt this is what I needed to enhance my skills and knowledge even more, in order to be the best early years educator.

I started doing extensive research around UCL IOE and found out it was the top ranked university in the world in Education, and the lecturers interested me in their specialist areas, of course.

I took a leap of faith that year and applied to study the Early Years MA, and that was the beginning of a memorable journey... One I will never forget and cherish forever.

What did you enjoy most about your programme?

As much as I was dreading typing up a 20,000 word dissertation, I can now say I enjoyed this task because it just went to show that I was able to complete it despite the odds. I had the most amazing lecturers who supported me from beginning to end – as well as being able to meet so many students from around the world, hearing their educational journey and finding out the different between their Early Years educational system and the UK's.

How did you get to where you are now in your career? Was there anything in particular from your time at IOE that was valuable?

I have always referenced that my time at UCL IOE has been an important aspect of my teaching journey. The topics covered whilst I was studying can be implemented in my approach to teaching in early years settings or schools.

How have you applied the learning from your degree/teacher training programme in your job?

I have definitely utilised my knowledge from UCL IOE; I have also found out that I don’t have to stay in the classroom. I can also apply my knowledge, skills and experiences in blog writing, speaking, creating educational content and working with other early years educational organisations as a researcher.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I would say making an impact in the lives of children. I have also had the privilege to facilitate workshops on the importance of play and mental health in the early years.

I am a brand ambassador for Childcare Expo Education, and a blog writer and speaker for them. I have also spoken with the Charted College of Teaching on the topic of the early years. I am also part of the Global Early Childhood Education Cohort with Theirworld Charity and work as a presenter and advocate for Early Years Education. Lastly, I am a school governor and Oasis Community Hub Leader.

Since leaving, have you used any of the services for alumni such as networking events, reunions or mentoring tools?  If so, have these been useful to you?

As an alumni, now is when I took time to find out the support available to entrepreneurs like myself. I was speechless that the university had so many resources that could be of benefit to my young social enterprise. I have currently joined UCL Innovation and Enterprise and the UCL BME Alumni Network.

I have also had the opportunity to mentor UCL students, join networking events, speak at various UCL events and engage with other students.

I have also hosted a youth mental health and wellbeing event, which was a success, and I definitely hope to support UCL IOE more and more through speaking, hosting and sharing the work done here to encourage students looking for a university in London to enrol in their programmes.

What was it like studying in London and do you think it benefited your studies? If so, how?

Studying in London has been a blessing, as this is literally where many students come to prepare them for the future and their desires in their chosen work field. There as so many opportunities available when you are a student; it’s important that you take advantage of them, as this could lead you to your dream job position, as well as meeting with prestigious individuals.

London is a place where you can learn, grow, develop and enjoy your educational journey.

I always say, “Your journey is more important than your destination.” Enjoy yourself whilst studying, as this is something I didn’t consider… I thought I had to be stuck in the library all day studying, but found out later there is so much more than that.

Can you tell us about a time you overcame a challenge?

Back in 2011, I suffered from a one-in-a-million, rare, deadly allergic reaction to eye drops, which caused my whole skin to peel off from head to toe, and I ended up in a coma for a month. The name of this deadly illness is known as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.

Despite all the odds, I pulled through, making it to university to complete my degree. I am now a published author, a multi-award winner, youth advocate and entrepreneur.

Since recovering from the coma, I have been interviewed by a lot of media outlets like the BBC, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror and ITV News. I have also met and shared my story with Martin Luther King Jr's family during the Atlanta Global Humanitarian Summit back in March 2016. I have had the privilege to work with prestigious media outlets regarding my story and the positive impact.

I am also the founder of ReachOut2All, which is about “Giving youths a voice through their talents,” which could be dancing, singing, poetry, inspirational stories etc.

ReachOut2All was birthed in 2013, hosting events for young people aged 13-30 years old and running youth initiatives.

Last updated 24 July 2023.