Summary: Amelia reflects on her first year as a Joint Honours student and talks about the numerous opportunities available at the University of Leeds.
I chose to study a course within the School of English because at Leeds you can study both Language and Literature modules. As I was hoping to study joint honours English, most universities restricted the English side of their course to either Language or Literature. For me, however, I was desperate to study both and Leeds was one of the few institutions which allowed me to do this whilst still pursuing joint honours. I was also really attracted to the theme-based modules offered in second and third years, as these would allow me to follow my particular interests, which I preferred much more than a course which focused solely on literary periods.
More importantly, the skills gained from studying courses in the School of English are really valuable, and have helped me in my French studies as well as preparing me for the world of work. The attention to detail required in analysing texts, the art of presenting ideas verbally and in written form, and also the creativity encouraged by interpreting texts have really helped me develop my ability to construct an original, interesting argument and present it in a clear and effective manner.
What made Leeds really stand out though, was the social side of the University. The union seemed fantastic and the amount of societies and extra-curricular activities really couldnt be beaten by any of the other universities I looked at.
What I enjoy most about studying English is that it is not simply the study of texts. When studying literature you are also studying history, sociology and the art of communication. It is an exciting subject in which you can discuss really interesting topics such as feminism, colonialism, the language of the media, all of which (despite being discussed with regards to particular texts) have a great significance in todays world. I enjoy this side to my course the most, it is great to be in a room with like minded people discussing such topics, and it is really just as valuable as the reading and writing.
I have been lucky enough to be awarded an Undergraduate Research and Leadership Scholarship this year. This is a fantastic opportunity where undergraduates complete original research with the support of an academic at the university. My research has been focused around the language of British and French soldiers of the First World War, as part of the Universitys wider Legacies of War project. It is a really exciting project to be involved in, and I have benefited so much already from the experience. I have gained such valuable skills in research, which will benefit me immensely with my studies at university and in particular with my dissertation in final year.
As a joint honours student I feel really lucky to be at the University of Leeds. The university is fantastic with its organisation of joint honours courses, and I have never had trouble with the workload or clashes of commitments with either subject. The University encourages study outside of your degree subject and where many universities offer elective modules, few offer them outside of your subject areas, and throughout your entire degree. This is a really valuable quality, as it allows you to pursue wider interests and really make the most of being at University by taking up new subjects or studying existing interests in further detail
Leeds is a fantastic city, and aside from the brilliant night life and music scene, the new Trinity centre is a massive asset to the city. I spend so much time in there with friends, and it really seems to be at the heart of the city. Another gem though is Millenium Square. There is always something going on in there such as the Christmas German Market, food festivals, theatre and television events, etc. Even when there is nothing scheduled going on, it is still a great place to hang out on a nice day with the numerous bars around it and the huge television in the centre!