MA English Literature student Holly tells us how receiving a Postgraduate Taught Scholarship has renewed her confidence and allowed her to pursue her ambition of becoming a lecturer.
Can you tell us a little bit about the programme in your own words?
“On the MA English Literature course, we’ve got a really nice mix of people. Some (like me) are hoping to build skills to go on to study a PhD. Others are looking at publishing, teaching, or just wanted to spend time studying on the MA. We have weekly seminars for each of our subjects, and then the whole year meets once a week to learn about general MA issues (eg. dissertations, research, etc). I’ve particularly enjoyed the support from lecturers this year. They’ve encouraged me to go out and research new things, without feeling I’m all on my own!”
What did the Postgraduate Taught Scholarship mean to you?
“The Postgraduate Taught Scholarship has really returned my confidence. I had a gap year and was feeling very stressed about my future. I knew I wanted to do my PhD and become a lecturer, but the thought of funding it was terrifying, and I was worried I wasn’t academically fit for this level of study. When I got the scholarship, it changed everything. It’s really helped me balance my finances to prepare for the PhD, and made me feel like I can achieve my dreams.”
Have you been able to secure funding from other places, how else are you supporting your studies?
“I took a gap year, so I saved up quite a lot of money that way. Now I work 2 part time jobs, and get support from my parents and husband.”
What were your motivations for undertaking a postgraduate degree?
“I’ve always wanted to be a lecturer, so I always knew I wanted to go on to postgraduate education. Around third year, I really lost my confidence, and started to worry I wasn’t good enough. My tutors were really encouraging and supportive, and made me feel I could go on to postgraduate study. When I decided to take a gap year to help fund my studies, they all assured me that I would be able to return without any problem, and were really kind when I contacted them for my references.”
Why did you decide to do your postgraduate degree at Cardiff?
“I’d already studied my BA at Cardiff, so I knew it was a lovely and stimulating environment. There were lots of facilities which I felt I wanted to use throughout my MA, including SCOLAR and the MEMORI lecture series.”
Is there anything about your postgraduate course that has stood out in your experience?
“When I was choosing my texts for one of my essays, I was a little worried, as it was a lower form of popular culture than many of the texts on the course. When I discussed it with the lecturer, he was really friendly, and assured me that even though other people hadn’t written on it, Cardiff would support me.”
What do you think of Cardiff as a place to live as a postgraduate?
“I love Cardiff. I was terrified of moving to a capital city, but it doesn’t feel like a capital city. It has all of the shops and parks and museums you’d expect from a capital city, but it’s bright and clean and friendly. The thought of moving out of Cardiff is now much more scary!”
How do you think your postgraduate course will contribute to your future career plans?
“I want to do a PhD and become a lecturer, so I feel that the MA has helped me to build up the necessary skills, and start discussing my future research plans with other academics.”
Has studying for a postgraduate degree at Cardiff University lived up to your expectations?
“I was worried that my MA wouldn’t be as enjoyable as my BA, but it’s been wonderful. It’s harder work than the BA, but it’s often more rewarding. I’ve really had the chance to develop my own research and interests.”
What are your biggest achievements as a postgraduate student at Cardiff University so far?
“Last week I applied for my PhD. I am very scared, and excited, and very grateful to the staff at Cardiff who helped me get this far.”
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