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SHINE - Issue 3

Welcome to the third edition of SHINE, an opportunity to shine a different light onto different lives. We hope you enjoy finding out more about Maria Djurkovic (Class of 1978).
15 May 2024


1. How would your best friends describe you?

Impatient, argumentative, honest, assertive, very opinionated, and very quick to make decisions. 

2. If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would that be?

Don’t let people put you down and do not allow yourself to be a victim.  Have confidence in yourself and accept that you need to work hard.  You do not have a magic key – open every door with confidence.

3. Share a vivid memory while you were at St Helen’s.

I met my oldest friend, Alison Holmes (now a professor and OBE with many letters after her name) at age 9 when she started at St Helen’s.  Together we were a little bit disruptive and were often in detention.  At that time, pupils who misbehaved in PE lessons were sent to practice the long jump at the sandpit, which was behind the LAX pitches. We discovered that this lovely secluded sandy spot was ideal for sunbathing, and this soon became our favourite thing to do until the PE teacher discovered us.

4. How do you stay in touch with your friends from school?

I haven’t seen Alison in years, but we are going for a walk on Saturday. We don’t get a chance to meet often and do very different jobs, but there is still a bond between us.

5. What was your first job and what are you doing now?

My first job was in Boots the Chemist in South Harrow. I hated it and they wanted me to work on Saturdays which I wasn’t keen on.  I didn’t work on Tuesdays so on one of my days off I managed to get a job at a gallery which I loved. I am now a Production Designer.

6. What one dish can you make from scratch without a recipe?

I never cook, ever, ever. I am lucky as my partner is a very good cook.

7. A book you would recommend reading and why?

The Oxford English Dictionary as everyone is becoming illiterate! Haha!  

8. Who or what inspires you?

Beauty inspires me, whether art, a wonderful exhibition, or a landscape.  I am inspired when surrounded by beauty.

9. What moment in your past do you wish you could experience again for the first time?

Starting university gave me a fantastic feeling of liberation. My first week of Oxford was extraordinary. I absolutely adored those three years, best years of my life.

10. Name an animal that best matches your character?

I can’t think of any one animal.  I love animals and am always surrounded by them.  Someone has suggested a sea otter as they are creative thinkers, high energy, productive and resilient.  

11. Where do you feel most yourself?

At work, being creative, having a purpose, having a very definite job to do.  I like working under pressure with completely crazy deadlines.

12. Who would you trust to help you bury a body and why?

My partner – he is the person I can talk to the most and who understands me the best.

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