Before studying at Sunderland, I was a student at the University of Hull where I completed my degree in English and American Literature and Culture. I knew I loved the writing side of my undergraduate degree but I didn’t quite have the skills to go into a writing career straight away. The next step was to find a way to gain these skills and the experience, so I opted for a masters in journalism.
I decided I wanted to stay close to home while doing my masters and there were a few local universities I could have applied to. The deciding factor for me was the additional NCTJ qualification that Sunderland offered alongside the course. I knew this would give me the extra skills, experience, and qualifications that I needed to build my career. Plus, all of my modules were taught by great writers who had years of journalistic experience behind them.
The facilities and flexibility offered by the University were great. We did everything from writing workshops and magazine design in the newsroom, to video journalism in the editing suites. It was great having a go at everything and finding where my strengths are. We also had complete freedom with what we chose to write about. Everyone on the course had different interests, but we all got to write about something we were passionate about. Then, we could share our writing with everyone else by submitting it to the University's magazine and news sites. My favourite part of the course though, was the opportunity to create my own magazine from scratch. I did everything from forming the initial concept, to writing and interviewing, and designing the finished magazine. It was really fun and I'm still so proud of it. It even earned me the award for 'Best Final Project'.
I would advise future journalism students to keep writing even if it's just for fun. The more you write, the better you're going to get at it, so do as much as you can and take on board every tiny piece of feedback you get. The journalism tutors at Sunderland are always there to read your work and help you out as much as you need it. Make sure you keep your options open. Although your course might seem like the perfect career for you right now, you might end up on a completely different path to the one you set out on. So, keep looking for experience in different topics, whether that's by joining clubs or looking for different job roles. You might even find that you like something else even more!
After studying at Sunderland, I applied for any role that would allow me to write. I undertook an internship at a social media marketing agency where I wrote blog posts and managed their social media. I'm now a Content Executive at Glass Digital, a digital marketing agency based in Newcastle. My role is incredibly varied — some days I can be writing a guest blog post on jewellery trends and other days I could be writing optimised website copy for king size beds — but the skills I picked up at Sunderland mean I can be flexible with my writing style to suit any audience, tone, or purpose. Everything I do is to help improve our clients' search engine rankings, and it's great to see the results of all my hard work pay off. That's why I'm hoping to learn all I can about digital marketing and SEO copywriting.
The skills I learned at Sunderland have been invaluable. I was able to hone my writing and research skills — two things that are so important to my current role. Plus, having the opportunity to share my work with others helped to build my confidence in my own writing. Without the experience I gained at the University of Sunderland, I wouldn't be where I am today.”
Published 30 April 2021