Summary: Jessica Elliott talks about studying English, the highlights of studying at Leeds and shares her top-tips for new students.
Why did you decide to study here?
The thing that first attracted me to Leeds was the English course. The department here is one of the strongest in the country and gives me the freedom to study almost any aspect of literature imaginable. When I visited Leeds, I realised it was the perfect city for me. It's a really manageable size so you never feel lost or intimidated, everything's easy to find and it has so many shops, bars, clubs and things to see that you can never get bored. I also loved that even though the University was so close to such a great city, the campus itself feels quite separate so you feel very safe and as though you're part of a community within the city.
How would you describe your course?
It doesn't feel like work, I get to spend all day doing what I love! Studying English at Leeds gives me room to explore so many different things and to shape my own study, so that I can focus on exactly the things that I'm interested in.
What are the highlights of studying in Leeds?
Firstly, that it has a good University with world-class teaching. Secondly the city is very much geared towards students. That means there is always something going on and there is always a great night to be had, particularly when you want to celebrate handing-in assignments with your friends. For me, Leeds really is the best place to work hard and play hard!
What university clubs and societies are you a member of?
I am a member of the English Society, which is great because you get to know a lot of people on your course, making those first seminars much less daunting because they're filled with friendly faces! The society organises socials and theatre trips- I'm going to see 'Grapes of Wrath' at the West Yorkshire Playhouse with them next week. It's very relaxed so you can just take part in what you want to, but it's a great opportunity to get involved in fun trips, as well as getting to hear advice from others about studying and living in Leeds.
I'm also part of the RAG society, which raises funds for some really good causes, and can allow you to participate in once-in-a-lifetime experiences! This year there are trips to Thailand, Uganda, Croatia and lots of other places. I'm cycling to Paris in April which promises to be a big challenge, but a lot of fun.
Give an example of one of your favourite things to do in Leeds.
In the summer, there's nothing better than grabbing a group of your friends (and a rug!) and having a picnic in nearby Hyde Park. There's always so many other students doing the same and it's a great relaxed way to spend a sunset. In winter, I love getting all wrapped up on a cold night and exploring the German market with a warm cup of mulled wine and seeing the lights of the city with my friends.
What are your top-tips for new students?
Don't be afraid! I remember myself and all of my friends being really worried when we started University, especially about making friends and being accepted. If I could tell new students one thing it would be to be brave and be confident about being yourself. Talk to as many people as you possibly can, and don't be afraid to ask for people's numbers, chances are you'll never see them again, so there's no need to worry about embarrassing yourself, but if you get on well arrange to meet before your lectures, you can make some really great friends, just don't be shy!
I would also say throw yourself head first into your course, try new things and go to as many socials and trips outside of classes as possible. I always wish that I had got involved in societies earlier, there's so much to do here, and you can waste all the opportunities by not trying things out. Don't be worried that you won't have time with your course; you can always make time for something you really want to do.