My Uni Life series is finally back and I have lots of inspiring interviews to share with you.
The purpose behind this interview series is to give prospective and current students an insight into life at university, what it takes to get there and how to survive. I hope that these interviews will give you a chance to learn from current and recently graduated students about the courses you’re interested in.
I’m kicking off the series by chatting to Lucy, a History student at the University of Birmingham.
What course are you studying at university?
I’m a second year history student at the University of Birmingham.
Did you have to study specific subjects at college to get onto the course?
You’d be required to have a history Alevel or the equivalent but your other subjects don’t matter.
How did you know this was the right course for you?
I was always nervous to pick history, as it is quite a competitive course but it’s the one I enjoyed it out of all my alevels, it’s the one I wanted to do the work for so it became an obvious choice.
What do you enjoy most about your course?
You have such a range of choice in module, after you’ve done survey courses in your first year which cover broad periods of time – these are normal for all history courses. You’re allowed to specialise and pick what you want to study in the second and third year. This makes studying more enjoyable, as I’m learning about areas of history that I am interested in.
What keeps you motivated?
I’m generally quite a motivated person and I want to do well. Although I think remembering that you’re paying a lot of money for this education and that your degree is going to be what you highlight about yourself when applying for jobs.
Also I find that buying nicer stationary actually encourages me to work and I set myself breaks and activities, I try to do something each day that’s not work related, even if it’s just reading my book and writing a blog post.
What do you find most challenging about your course?
Time management. It’s completely different from school and alevels. As I’m doing an arts degree, I have fairly little contact time and a lot of it is independent study. That means you have to be quite strict with yourself otherwise you won’t get things done!
Are internships easy to come by in your field?
I’ve never really looked because I don’t live near them. However, my department sends a weekly email with a range of different opportunity’s that you could apply for. Also, with doing a history degree it means that you’re flexible and could do an internship in so many different areas of an industry. However, a lot are based in London which is not feasible for me.
Do you have any career plans in mind for when you’ve graduated?
At the minute I’m strongly considering teaching, so later this month I have a few weeks work experience in the school. Thinking about what job you might want to do is quite important, because in your final year you’ll have a lot of work that counts a lot towards your degree so you’ll be in a better position if you haven’t left your plans until after summer.
What do you wish you knew about university life before you started?
You’re still in education but it’s nothing like school or college, sometimes you won’t know what you’re doing. At school and college, you’re guided through the whole process and then at university I think it’s easy to just get lost but the help is there if you look for it. It’s a whole new way of life, I moved out of home which was a challenge in itself.
What advice would you offer to prospective History students?
Go for it! Make sure you like the subject, it’s so much reading but if you enjoy it and find it interesting it will be easier. Also, I’d say do you research and compare the different entry requirements and make sure you’re being realistic. History is such a competitive course, if you miss a grade you might not always get in.
What do you do in your spare time?
I’m part of the university’s dance society so I dance a couple of nights a week. Obviously I blog and then I just like to spend time with my friend or go out other days and sometimes nothing beats laying in bed and watching Netflix.
Finally, what is your go to meal after a busy day of lectures?
Tomato pasta bake. It’s a really boring dinner to be honest just a pasta bake with a tin of chopped tomatoes, pasta and then melted cheese on top. My grandma used to make it for me so I think I enjoy it because of the memories is brings back for me. It’s so quick and easy and you don’t really need to buy anything. Or I’ll just take something out of the freezer that I’d cooked early so like a Spag Bol or a curry – It’s like a healthy version of a ready meal.
Thank you so much to Lucy for taking the time to be a part of Uni Life. I wish her the best of luck in her degree and future career. You can find Lucy over on her blog, dimpledbrunette, Twitter and Instagram. She writes a lot about her university experience so be sure to check out the posts for more advice.