Upon graduating from the BA (Hons) Fashion Journalism course, I got a job at a public relations firm, where I worked for over two years. Although I loved the experiences journalism and PR provided, my hobbies outside of work were what truly lit a fire in my belly. These included volunteering at Rape Crisis and writing blog posts for Annie Lennox’s women’s rights charity, The Circle. As my interest in international development and women’s rights developed, I decided I wanted to get more overseas experience, so I applied for a three month volunteering placement with ICS and UK Aid, where I worked in South India on projects including health, livelihoods and menstrual health management. Upon returning, I began to look at period poverty in the UK and volunteered with Homeless Women North East to make health and hygiene packs for vulnerable women.
I found that the global element of the MSc Inequality and Society course, as well as its unique module offering, really appealed to me and my future career plans. Right from the get-go at the induction day, our Programme Leader provided us with opportunities to get involved with volunteering at local charities, a field trip to Uganda, writing for national human rights organisations and forming a society for Halo Project – a Teesside charity working with survivors of female genital mutilation, forced marriage and honour-based violence.
Another great aspect of the course was the staff going above and beyond to help students. Coming from a journalism background, I found the MSc difficult in the beginning as I had never studied sociology and was unaware of a lot of the theories and methods being discussed. However, all of the staff were brilliant in providing real-life case studies to break the theories down and Study Skills sessions were especially useful too.
The University is constantly adapting, modernising and improving ways in which students can learn and get further opportunities beyond the classroom. Forward-thinking lecturers driving courses like the MSc Inequality and Society forward is a huge positive in recognising the current climate not only in the UK, but worldwide – and choosing to act on it.
University – especially at master's level – is a lot of hard work, but if you're passionate about the subject you’re studying, do your reading and essays in good time, and make the most of the opportunities provided, it can be incredibly rewarding.
In both of my experiences at the University, I’ve made incredible memories, met like-minded people and have always had lecturers who are extremely passionate about the subjects they teach. Returning to education to join the first cohort of the MSc Inequality and Society course was one of the best decisions I have made and I graduated with a Distinction.
I am now Communications and Fundraising Lead for Halo Project. The role encompasses a range of responsibilities from marketing, communications and fundraising, to providing direct support to women and children fleeing abuse. I have developed a range of specialist toolkits for the charity, including an Honour Based Abuse toolkit used by police and a toolkit for student volunteers at the charity's university Halo Hubs, where they raise awareness of hidden harms, signpost survivors and tackle sexual violence on campus. I also assist in casework, copywriting, event planning, webinars, partnerships and providing practical support, advice and guidance to survivors of abuse via Halo Project's national helpline.
For anyone thinking about studying a postgraduate qualification, I would say do it in something that makes you happy and your heart soar! Also, there’s no time limit on when you should and shouldn’t do a master's degree. The University staff are great and will help you every step of the way if you’re feeling ‘out of the academia loop’ and need support.”
Published 13 July 2022