Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Laura Sparks

BA Politics | 2011 - 2014

Photo of Laura Sparks

About Me

I’m a recent POLIS graduate and I absolutely loved my degree. It was the perfect combination of contemporary analysis of current affairs and of more theoretical approaches to political science. I found that I had a great deal of choice and support so that I was able to follow my own specific interests.

In my final year, I applied for one job and got it. On paper it was a job that was a dream graduate job – well paid, great perks and lots of scope to learn new skills. For me, the work itself didn’t feel right so I am currently looking for a new opportunity. I’m keen to see if I can maintain the 100% success rate though!

Why I wanted to study BA Politics at Leeds

I had a very international upbringing and I knew from a young age that I wanted a better understanding of the world we live in. For example, my family moved to Indonesia the year after Suharto fell. I remember hordes of people streaming along our street to take part in political rallies and demonstrations. I remember the “grown ups” around me talking in urgent, concerned and often whispered voices. At the time, my parents tried to explain what was going on to me but, as I got older, I found I had more and more unanswered questions.

When it came to applying to University, I knew I wanted to study Politics. I was initially quite flexible on where I did the actual studying - until I visited Leeds. Firstly, I fell in love with the city and could see myself living here right away. It’s big but not too big, the people are friendly and I’ve always felt safe.  Secondly, I found that the University itself attracts very open-minded, fun-loving AND academic people. Finally, I couldn’t fault the staff, the facilities and the general buzz about the place. For me, it was the perfect mix.

Student Support

I couldn't fault the student support. Unlike school, when you need help and guidance at University, you need to go and look for it – but it’s readily available. Seminar tutors, lecturers, personal tutors and even all the admin staff in POLIS will go out of their way to help you, console you and celebrate with you.

Some of the academic staff, whose passion for their subjects is nothing short of contagious, taught me for all three years and they are likely to be the reason I come back and do a masters at Leeds.

Facilities

The facilities provide everything you need and more. Even in my third year I was still discovering new computer clusters and libraries.

I also worked at The Edge which is one of the best university gyms in the country – eight lane adjustable depth swimming pool, sauna, steam room and more than 150 exercise classes a week.

My Advice

When I was in my final year, I panicked about jobs after graduation. I applied for a job and put days and days in to my application. I went to the interviews, got offered the job and, against my instincts, accepted the role. I was wooed by the prospect of having a plan, a salary and something to tell everyone who asked me what I was going to be doing next.

Lessons learned:

- Employers want you as much as you want them. Job adverts can be misleading and they may seek to exaggerate their own success.

- If it doesn’t feel right, listen to those feelings. Take some time to find a job that suits you and that makes you happy.

 

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