Mary Fleming

MSc Biodiversity and Conservation with African Field Ecology – Part Time
Talking about
Postgraduate study

“I chose postgraduate study at the University of Leeds because, with a background in marine biology and a strong interest in sustainability, my research showed that this course best covered the variation between those areas, as well as offering the most hands-on experience opportunities and the opportunity to travel as a part of my studies.

I have found that far more doors and opportunities have been opened to me through studying at Leeds than I was expecting. Doors to support services, employability advice, work experience and my social and sporting life. The only aspect that has been disappointing is the teaching disruption due to strike action.

Coronavirus and strike disruption have both been a challenge as well as periods of illness. Maintaining honest communication with my personal tutor and engaging with the support services on offer have been key to planning and catching up on work without feeling too overwhelmed.

I was diagnosed with Post Viral Chronic Fatigue Syndrome two years ago after previously living a highly active and busy life. So naturally I was concerned about my academic abilities. I have had brilliant study support through the disability services as well as from my tutors to ensure I am on track, coping with the workload and achieving the best that I can.

My course mates created a group chat and started meeting up before the course even started – this is the foundation of a supportive group friendship where we all work together. I have also joined the Orienteering and Fell Running Club where I have been able to start a little exercise again and meet likeminded people. I even joined the BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) weekend which has been a highlight so far!

It is possible to feel overwhelmed when you start at university – you are getting to know everything and having loads of information thrown at you about careers and university activities. My advice to new postgraduate students is to engage with as much of it as you can! Find what excites you, leave what doesn’t and make use of all those open doors while they are open to you!”

Mary Fleming was supported by the Plus Programme.