Please tell us a bit about yourself, where you are from, your background etc?
I am from Basingstoke but have lived in Leeds for the last four years. I did my undergraduate degree at the University of Leeds in Sociology. I am passionate about challenging disadvantage and inequality in the UK, particularly amongst children. I also enjoy socialising and keeping fit, both of which I have managed to do whilst being at the University of Leeds.
What made you want to apply to your course and to Leeds?
During my degree at Leeds I decided I wanted to do a masters. Staying at Leeds to complete my masters was a no-brainer, I love the city and I love the university. I chose to do Childhood Studies, which combined a variety of disciplines, including sociology. I wanted to develop my knowledge of children and young people, and the modules offered on the course were of particular interest. I was able to choose a module on child poverty, and one on children’s family and personal life. Both were enriching and enjoyable.
What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?
Childhood is a significant part of human life, and to me it is fascinating. I truly believe that children should be respected, and have their own voices heard. The teaching staff at Leeds share this belief, and importantly this is reflected in their research and teaching. I am particularly passionate about challenging inequality, and therefore I got so much out of the child poverty module. I was also able to do my dissertation within this area, and the specialist knowledge my tutor had really helped.
What did you think of your course – what aspects of the course have you enjoyed the most?
I have now completed the course and I most enjoyed the variety of topics we covered. This allowed me to develop so much new knowledge, even though the course only lasted a year.
What would you say about the learning facilities in the School and at the University in general?
I was very happy with the learning facilities at Leeds. The university had everything I needed to reach my potential, including brilliant libraries, and specialist staff.
How did you find the student support in the School?
I found the support to be just right. I was always aware of the support that was available and when I did need help my tutor was fantastic. I couldn’t have asked for more.
What other activities are available for students to take part in outside of their studies, and which ones have you tried out yourself? (e.g. Clubs & Societies/activities in the School).
As part of the course I was given the opportunity to do an internship with the Child Friendly City Team within Leeds City Council. I did a variety of different activities within this internship, and met some lovely people who share my passion. The internship enabled me to develop many skills, and has given me career ideas. I also volunteered for IntoUniversity, a charity which work in widening participation. I was a mentor and worked with one child for the year, which allowed me to get hands on experience and make a difference to somebody’s life. Alongside this I volunteered for a Food Bank in Leeds which was difficult and at times heartbreaking, but was something which motivated me and kept me driven throughout, as I want the knowledge and skills to be able to inform and challenge policy.
What do you think about Leeds as a city?
I love the city, I now consider it home and have stayed in Leeds despite having finished my course. The night life is amazing and I love having everything on my doorstep. There are also fantastic opportunities in the city which fit with my passions.
What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to your course?
I would say go for it, but be prepared to work extremely hard. A masters is a step up from a degree and it is intense, but I am so glad I did it.
What do you plan to do now you’ve finished your course? What are you career aspirations?
I would like to do work within the city, hopefully for the council. I am committed to making sure Leeds is a safe and enjoyable place for children and young people. In the future I would like to complete a PhD, and then inform policy with my research. I am also currently working on getting my masters dissertation published, which would be a huge achievement for me.