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Class of 2014

Spotlight on: 
Emma Carragher

5 July 2014

“Three years of very difficult but rewarding work, fuelled by a lot of baking and chocolate!”

Today’s Spotlight On feature bring you Emma, sociology student, Women’s Officer, and future Oxford University student. Emma

So Emma, why sociology?

I enjoyed studying Sociology at A Level, so it felt like a natural progression. The SOCSI lecturers were really friendly and interesting at the open day, and the course covered everything I was interested in, so it wasn’t a difficult choice.

Can you remember the day you moved here?

I remember standing outside of Taly North trying not to cry as my parents drove away! In retrospect, I don’t know what I was so worried about!

What did you most enjoy about your time in Cardiff?

Definitely getting involved with the Students’ Union. I was elected as Women’s Officer, and it was without a doubt the most rewarding experience I had at Cardiff. Through it, I was able to influence policy, run campaigns, and help make tangible changes to women students’ experiences at Cardiff. I also got to do things outside the University, like attending NUSW conferences, being interviewed on BBC breakfast radio and being quoted in Laura Bates’ ‘Everyday Sexism’ book.

Wow, that sounds like an incredible experience. You must be passionate about women’s rights then?

Definitely. I helped set up the Cardiff Women’s Association (CWA). The CWA has grown from 3 members to over 70 and won the ‘Best Association’ Award 2013-2014, which I’m so proud of. The trophy will definitely be coming with me when I graduate!

We’ve heard that you also took part in the Cardiff Award too. What did that involve?

It gave me some fantastic skills – particularly useful were the CV/covering letter sessions which were extremely helpful when it came to applying for summer internships. The organiser, Kath, is an incredibly dedicated person and even now I email her occasionally to ask her to look over covering letters etc. The Award also offered great exposure to top employers like Ernst and Young, which has helped me start to think in terms of employability. More than this, sessions on presentations, time management and problem solving were really useful for my role as Women’s Officer.

Was it hard juggling it alongside your work?

It was a challenge balancing my course commitments with all the external things I did, from volunteering to societies to my Women’s Officer role – it was often really difficult to work out what I should be focusing on at any one time. For example, I acted as campaign manager for some friends running in the Union elections – which were two weeks before my dissertation deadline! However, everything I engaged with I did because I really enjoyed it, and balancing all my commitments has equipped me with great time management and organisation skills, although my phone’s diary app has been my biggest help – if I’d lost it, I would have really struggled to work out where I was supposed to be when. 

Well you sound like you’ve a got a great career ahead of you. What will you be doing next?

In October I start an MSc at New College, University of Oxford. I’m really excited to continue studying Sociology, but it will be very weird being a fresher again. The long-term aim is to get into social research, either via the Civil Service or in the private sector.

How are you feeling about graduation?

I’m excited about getting my degree and celebrating with all my friends, but sad that it marks the end of my time at Cardiff. I’m going out for dinner with my parents before one final night out with my friends – what better way to commemorate university than via Live Lounge?!

Do you have any advice for future students? 

Make the most of every opportunity – Cardiff offers so much beside your course, so get involved in campaigning, join a society, or do The Cardiff Award. Not only will you finish university with a fantastic CV, but you’ll meet fantastic people and make friends for life. Additionally, focus on gaining relevant employment experience – the CUROP and CUPID schemes are fantastic for this. Above all, enjoy yourself!