Ruth Leather is a 3rd year BA International Development student, and a member of the Student Ambassador team.
Please tell us a bit about yourself, and your background.
I'm from Shropshire and love being in the countryside! I'm an active person and enjoy running and playing waterpolo. I'm also very involved with Action Leeds Student Volunteers and am on the executive as well as running one of the projects called Outdoor Mix.
Why did you join the POLIS Student Ambassador team?
I have worked with secondary school students in the past and really enjoyed it. I am also interested in becoming a teacher. Picking a course and a university is a very stressful time and I would like to help make that decision easier for students by answering any questions they might have that only current students can answer.
Did you have anyone to talk to and support you before applying to university?
My teachers were helpful, and I have an elder brother who was already at university. but my parents gave me the most help and support.
What made you want to apply to your course and to Leeds?
I studied Geography at A-level and the part of it I enjoyed most was the human side: in particular, learning about less developed countries and issues specific to them. I thought International Development would cover these issues. I chose Leeds because of the feel I got for the place on the Open Day.
What do you think of your course so far? What aspects of the course have you enjoyed the most or are looking forward to the most?
I enjoy my course, particularly when we cover case studies of countries I have visited. I prefer looking at issues that are current and case studies of how these affect people a lot more than the theory side of things.
Is university really that different from school?
Yes, in many ways, it is. You are completely responsible for your own learning and there is a lot of independent study. However, the support is there if you need it.
What do you think of life on campus?
Great, there is so much going on at the university that there is something for everyone. There's always something to get involved with and lots of events taking place.
What other activities are available for students to take part in outside of their studies, and which ones have you tried out yourself?
I play Waterpolo for the university and am a member of Action Leeds Student Volunteers. Both have allowed me to meet loads of new people and make some great friends. They are also good for gaining lots of other skills out side of my studies that will hopefully help me when I get a job. There are hundreds of societies to get involved in from volunteering to the wine and cheese society. If you can't find a society for a particular thing you are interested in, then it's easy to set one up.
What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to university?
University is not just about the studying, you do get a great qualification at the end but the life outside of your studies is just as important. There are so many opportunities available to students that wouldn't otherwise be open to you.
Any top tips before starting university?
Take time to visit the universities you are interested in applying to; it's the only way to get a feel for the place and see if it's for you.
What do you plan to do once you've finished your course?
I plan to do a six-month Maths enhancement course, then a PGCE to become a secondary school maths teacher.