Amelia is currently a third year BA Politics and Parliamentary Studies with Quantitative Research Methods.
Why did you choose your degree?
Politics is a discipline that encompasses and impacts so many other areas: law, health, business, culture and more. It is a discipline that rapidly evolves; the political landscape changes daily which makes Politics incredibly fascinating to study. I enjoy how broad politics is as a subject (whether it be national politics, international politics or political theory) and the fact that my seminars can centre around both historical and current events. I was initially inspired to study politics as a degree because I enjoyed studying it so much at A-Level. A lot of my time in sixth form was spent studying different elements of politics: half of my A-Level history course centred around British politics, and I undertook an EPQ that centred around international politics.
Have you chosen a Study Abroad or Industry Placement year?
The university offers the ‘Parliamentary Studies Pathway’ exclusively for students studying BA Politics; this is a competitive process that allows students to spend a year working for an MP either in Westminster or in their constituency. I am one of the students set to start a parliamentary placement in September, and at the time of writing, I am waiting to hear back from MPs about interviews (and hopefully offers) to work for them. Staff support during this period has been great and they have consistently made sure to ease any concerns we have had throughout the application process, making me very excited to start my placement this September!
Why did you choose to study at the University of Leeds?
I chose to study at the University of Leeds for several reasons. Firstly, they are one of the small handful of British universities that offer both parliamentary work placements and quantitative analysis training, which allows me to have a highly specialised degree with in-demand skills and work experience. Furthermore, the university allows you to take modules outside of your degree discipline as ‘discovery modules’; this means that as students we can pick up new skills such as learning a new language or study subjects that we are interested in but aren’t directly related to our degrees. Outside of module choice, I love that the University’s buildings are all on one campus that is only a ten-minute walk into central Leeds; I find that it provides me with the convenience of a campus university but still allows me to feel very close to central Leeds and everything it has to offer. Leeds is a great city for students with a variety of shops, art galleries, concert venues, and transport links to other areas in Yorkshire and areas further afield!
What do you do in your spare time?
Outside of my studies, I work as a debate coach and as a student ambassador for the university. I have worked as a debate coach online for over a year now, I have taught students from the UK, other European countries, the USA, and students across eastern Asia which have significantly opened my worldview as well as provided me with great work experience. My student ambassador position also allows me to engage with a wide range of young people, discussing the benefits of higher education with them.
What are your experiences of accommodation at university?
For both my first and second years of university, I have lived in properties owned by private landlords. In the first year, I chose to live in a hall-style accommodation which was a more cost-effective option for me than staying in the university hall I was allocated. It meant I got a similar experience to those in university-owned halls, and I am still in close contact with some of my old flatmates. In my second year, I moved into one of Leeds’ student areas, Hyde Park, in a shared house with some of my friends. Both experiences have undoubtedly made me a more independent person and improved things like my budgeting skills to be able to afford bills, food, and other expenses every month.
What are your top tips for applying for University?
My top tip for applying to university would be to go to as many Open Days as you can for universities you wish to apply to; I found that the Open Days I went to had a significant effect on how I ordered my choices on UCAS. If you are unable to visit, utilise YouTube videos by the university or current students for more perspective on what it is like to study there. It is also important to consider university life outside of academics when choosing a university: a reason I chose Leeds over other universities was due to their high student satisfaction rate in league tables as well as for their strong academic reputation.
Where do you see yourself after university and how will your degree/university experience help you with that?
Though I do not currently have the desire to run as an MP (which is what my family assume I will say when I am asked about post-university plans!), I do want to work in politics in a role that is more ‘behind the scenes’. This could be as a policy advisor, a civil servant or working in parliamentary engagement/outreach. I believe that my degree, most notably my placement year, will well-equip me with the skills and understanding of Parliament to be able to do this.
Sum up your university experience (so far!) in one sentence!
A huge learning curve that has provided me with new friends and unforgettable memories.