I was born and raised in Thetford in Norfolk. You might recognise that it's the town in which Thomas Paine was born. My background showed an interest in community and politics from a young age, having set up my towns first youth council when I was just 15. We attempted to create positive spaces and campaign for them and market them, so young people had an alternative to the street.
Why I applied for Politics at Leeds
I initially applied for PPS. When I read about the programme it seemed really unique and at interview I got a feel for the department and the city on a normal day. I instantly loved the city, university and department and enjoyed meeting my first member of staff, Dr. Stuart McAnulla. I was unsuccessful in my PPS course application, but the department did want me to consider coming to study the BA Politics course which I did.
Politics is all about how we manage our societies or how we should manage them. So it has a broad appeal and is something I feel is very important and applicable to everyone. It is laden with firm beliefs and claims, which are rather interesting to unpack intellectually and compare with one another.
I really liked the diversity of my course. I was able to shape my learning in a way that allowed me to develop knowledge from politics in the Middle East and the Far East in Asia to the mechanics and bureaucracy behind the British central government. To, how political parties become successful and what the history of ideological belief is.
University Facilities and School Support
The University has some of the best libraries in the country with a vivid varied politics and associated sections for your studies. It is set for further investment and a further library, so it really sets a high standard in providing you with the facilities you need to become an aspiring researcher.
University as an experience is not always straight forward, moving away from home, relationships, family, and finance issues. It can be difficult at times. The student support staff in POLIS have been there to assist me rather than penalise me. They were understanding regarding some personal matters I experienced for a difficult few months in my second year and with their help I managed to pull through my difficulties. Many of the support staff will go far out of their way to help you, beyond what is required of them.
Outside of studying
I cannot recommend the Harry Potter society enough- even though you might be starring and laughing right now – it was a really supportive society that was welcoming to anyone and everyone. They do lots of events with a Harry Potter theme and I met people from many other schools and backgrounds who introduced me to lots of other interesting things. I joined primarily to try out Quidditch, but it was so much more than that it became an extended student family.
Leeds as a city
I loved the city the moment I set foot in it- vibrant, varied, diverse and brimming with opportunity and really polite people. I really aim to stay in Leeds that’s how much I loved it, at least until a career takes me elsewhere. It has a lot of culture that might not be apparent on a first glance and lots of varied cultural scenes, from steam-punk nights to art exhibitions to the best fancy dress student pub crawls, namely the Otley Run.
My advice to prosepective students
I recommend you come and visit the University. Perhaps sit in a lecture and introduce yourself to current students to get a flavour for what a life here could be like for you at Leeds. Have a look at where some of its alumni are now, many of whom work in political institutions around the UK and worldwide. If that sounds like something you might like to do, but still want a broad learning experience and freedom to change your mind on a career later, then a degree in Politics could well be for you. People do lots of different things with a politics degree after graduation that you might not expect. For instance one of my friends has begun a career in finance.
After graduation I went on to study a Masters degree in International Relations, also at Leeds. I really want to work for an embassy and become a part of a British expatriate community overseas. I liked working for an MP in Leeds, but I find international issues and foreign policy so much more interesting, so the idea of being an attaché really appeals to me.