When Pippa Karikari came to Liverpool Hope, it was with a clear career goal in mind. “I would love to be a care manager or mental health professional,” she said. “If I could influence policy, especially policy related to mental health, then that would be even better.”
The journey to discovering her passion wasn’t an easy one. “After I finished my A Levels, I started studying fashion in London,” she explained. “But it wasn’t a close knit community like Hope and I wasn’t impressed with the course or the way it made me feel.”
Struggling with her own self-doubt and lacking confidence in her choice of degree, Pippa was presented with the opportunity to model in her first fashion show. “It helped to build up my confidence and I’m definitely less afraid to do and try new things now,” she said. “Obviously, it is nerve-wracking walking in front of people you don’t know, but it helped me realise that it was time for a change.
“So, I took a risk and decided to take some time out from my studies to see what types of work I enjoyed.”
Throwing herself into the working world, Pippa took jobs in many different areas, including both modelling and social care. “Modelling in particular can be tough,” she said. “It’s an environment where you don’t have many people to talk to. The intense social situations and passive aggression means that you need to be resilient.
“It’s a trait that I had to learn pretty quickly.”
“I just felt like I needed to be somewhere where I was contributing to the world a bit more,” she continued. “So, when an opportunity came up to work in the Health and Social Care sector, I went for it.
“I was confident in my abilities to understand and care for others – a quality that was brought on by being partially marginalised in the past,” she said.
“It’s a serious job and, as a 20-year-old with no prior experience, it was extremely nerve-wracking,” she continued. “But, thankfully, I loved it and my managers were really encouraging and said that I was doing really well in the role.”
It was during this job that Pippa decided to throw herself back into university. “I realised that I wanted to be a little more influential in the industry, so the obvious next step is to get a degree,” she explained.
“When I came to an Open Day at Hope, all I kept thinking was ‘this is it’! It’s just so beautiful and it’s so me.”
And Pippa wasn’t afraid to throw herself into her life at Hope. “What haven’t I got involved in?” she said with a laugh. “I joined the African Caribbean Society and have just started the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. I also visit the employability hub a lot and really like all the help there is on campus.
“I’ve actually set up a baking society as I like making unique cakes,” she said, before adding “cherry cake and honey cake are two of my personal favourites.
“I love my life at Hope and definitely prefer living up North – the people are so helpful!”
From being unsure of her future, to flourishing in an environment that supports her, Hope has helped Pippa take one step closer to her goal of influencing mental health policy. “I’ve transformed as a person, both mentally and physically.
“I started out on the wrong tracks but I took a risk, made a change and have found something that gives me a sense of purpose. And with Hope’s help and guidance, I hope to one day drive a positive change for the wellbeing of future generations.”