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Case Study

Shannon Hodge

Doncaster, UK

BA (Hons) Fashion Journalism

MSc Inequality and Society

Shannon Hodge originally studied BA (Hons) Fashion Journalism at the University of Sunderland and, after she graduated in 2015, landed a job in PR. However she realised that her true passion lay in her extracurricular work and decided studying MSc Inequality and Society was the next logical step for her career.

Upon graduating in 2015, I moved to Newcastle and 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 Tamil Nadu, 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. Forming the Halo society has been one of the best aspects for me as I was able to complete Home Office accredited training with them, get the opportunity to go to regional events to raise awareness on harmful practices, and now volunteer in the office at Halo’s HQ in Middlesbrough, which is giving me a deeper insight into the tenacity and hard work that goes into running a charity and the resilience of its service-users.

Another great aspect of the course is the staff going above and beyond to help students. Coming from a journalism background, I found the course 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 have been 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 new courses like 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 MSc 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. So far this academic year, I’ve attended academic conferences, made a new best friend, gained great results from my first semester, have a volunteer role with an amazing charity, am going away on an MSc writing retreat to help with my dissertation and I’m currently applying for the gold SUPA award accreditation. University isn’t just about lectures so grab every opportunity you can!

In both of my experiences at the University, I’ve made incredible memories, met like-minded people and have always had lecturers who are incredibly passionate about the subjects they teach. Returning to education to join the first cohort of MSc Inequality and Society has been one of the best decisions I have made and I’m looking forward to doing more of what keeps the fire in my belly burning!“

Published 20 April 2020

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