Summary: 2nd year student Emily talks about her time at Leeds so far including becoming an Undergraduate Research Scholar, studying Medieval Literature for the first time and visiting the Yorkshire Dales.
At A level, one of my English teachers let me borrow a copy of Joan Smiths Misogynes. Coupled with my interest and enjoyment in literature, this stimulated my curiosity for studying English at degree level. When I visited Leeds on my open day I was able to visualise myself being happy here. Being from a small village, the enticements of the city were the fantastic public transport and cultural opportunities in Leeds.
I find studying literature so interesting because it permits you to follow interests in other subjects. English cannot be entirely divorced from history and lends itself to contemplating philosophical ideas. I love the variety within the subject, from learning to pronounce Middle English to studying writers I had never heard about before coming to university.
My course is so flexible that while the breadth of historical periods is broad, I can still specialise in my main interests. This aspect of English at Leeds has resulted in the opportunity to study Medieval Literature for the first time alongside returning to some of my favourite writers with new perspectives.
The most surprising things about coming to Leeds for me are the Special Collections and the UGRE (Undergraduate Research Scholarships) scholarships. Special Collections are home to extensive collections, definable as treasures due to their value, rarity or distinctiveness - and they are particularly exciting and useful for English students.
Every week students are emailed about opportunities and one email that I received last year was for UGRE applications. This opportunity not only brought me to Special Collections, but has been instrumental in shaping my career aspirations. In brief, opportunities are numerous at Leeds!
Everyone finds their own spaces on campus for work and socialising. I particularly enjoy using the Brotherton Library and spend a significant amount of time in the School of English foyer. Computer clusters are dotted all around campus but having one in the School of English can be really useful if you need to print documents before a seminar.
Joining the English Society helped me to meet more people on my course; some of whom I would not have encountered in any of my seminars. Societies are one of the first set of opportunities that first years will be faced with and they are brilliant ways of meeting like-minded people. They can be chances to challenge yourself; in my first year I joined the Folk Music Society and found myself singing a duet in a pub. This year I have joined HOMED, a society seeking to help the homeless in Leeds. I would encourage people to look at opportunities outside the University too; I joined a local choir and this contributes to me feeling that I am not only a student at Leeds but a resident of Leeds.
Leeds is a great city with enough opportunities to allow for spontaneity. One highlight for me was being able to watch Doctor Faustus at the West Yorkshire Playhouse after having lectures on the text a couple of weeks earlier it really brought the text alive. The University is well-placed in relation to the city: it is close, but remains a distinct campus. Outside of studying I pursue my musical hobbies, I go to the cinema and theatre, and sometimes I go walking in the Yorkshire Dales. This winter I am also playing a part in a local pantomime.
To anyone thinking of applying to study English Language and Literature at the University I would say look at the optional modules and picture what you might choose if you were to study here. Above all, come to an Open Day and have a look around.
When I finish my course I am hoping to return to University and further my studies. I love the course and have found several academic interests that I would like to pursue.