Originally from Lancashire and after going to school in Preston and studying for my A Levels at Runshaw College in Leyland, I read Political Studies at Leeds from 2002-2005.
I am now a Senior Account Director at London and Brussels-based PR and lobbying agency Hanover Communications, working with and for a host of clients on issues ranging from generating positive press coverage, to handling media relations, to advising on corporate reputation management and relations with Government and other stakeholders.
My motivation to study at Leeds
I originally applied to the University because I knew it was a good redbrick institution, but I decided emphatically that Leeds was for me after I visited the campus – I loved the buildings, the union, the facilities, the ethos, history and alumni, as well as the tutors, undergraduates and prospective students who I met on the open day.
I chose political studies as I realised that it was politics that would get me out of bed on a cold grey morning to make it in for a 9am lecture, as I wanted answers to the questions I was increasingly asking about society, human nature and the wider world.
I had a fantastic experience. The combination of the modules I chose, the tutors I had, and the friends I made, together with the atmosphere and environment of the University and the city made it one of the most enjoyable periods of my life.
The course was very good; it had a broad range of subjects that one could study, from political theory to systems of government across the world. Wonderful tutors, an excellent library collection and a real sense of relevance and urgency to the place.
The support and guidance in the School of Politics and International Studies was very good. If anything, I did not make the most of it. It astounds me now to look back and think of the huge amount of knowledge, experience and insight that was there just waiting to be tapped.
The facilities were excellent. The libraries not only have first rate collections, but are also perfect study environments. The computer clusters are a fantastic resource, and the overall campus is a pleasure to walk around and experience.
I'd describe Leeds as great fun whilst having a soul. It’s one of the friendliest places I’ve ever lived, and I feel tremendously at home here. The Headingley, Hyde Park and Woodhouse areas are some of the best places to live as a student anywhere in the country.
The University is always within walking distance or a short bus ride away. And the parks and surrounding countryside are beautiful.
My first year after graduating was a mixture of time out (to work out what I wanted to do) and office/call centre work. Both convinced me that I wanted to work in a field of endeavour that would enable me to continue my interest and interaction in politics, and use my research and analytical skills developed during my time at Leeds.
My overall experience also convinced me that I wanted to live in a vibrant city like Leeds, which was possible by being able to continuing living with friends from university long after we graduated.
To anyone thinking about applying to the Politics programme, I'd say do it! Choosing what and where to study is a very personal choice. I would say to anyone that they have to be sure it’s right for them.
But I feel so privileged to have studied what I did, where I did, surrounded by the people who I have remained friends with to this day. And don’t whatever you do be put off by fees – a good degree from a good university such as Leeds is worth it – the jobs market will only get more competitive.
I can’t speak highly enough of the University and the city and fee a real affinity and loyalty to both places.