Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
Originally I am from Kingston-Upon-Hull where I went to Sydney Smith Secondary School to attain my GCSEs. Whilst it was not a great school, I achieved respectable GCSE grades and moved onto Wyke Sixth Form College. I studied Law, Human Biology, English Language and Physical Education, as well as an EPQ and General Studies. I enjoyed all of my courses and achieved A*A*AAAB.
Outside of education, I come from a sports-mad family. My father and his brother played football and cricket from a very young age, my Grandad is a huge rugby league fan. They have all had a huge influence on my life, and those three sports are three of my biggest passions, being a big fan of Leeds United and Hull FC. I also really enjoy watching new films and listening to music.
What motivated you to apply to study your chosen course and why did you chose Leeds?
In the end I decided to study Law at Leeds because having studied law at GCSE and A-level, I knew it was something that I was very interested in. I had only studied two topics in any detail up to that point and so to me, the degree offered me the chance to expand on my interests more than any other topic. I also knew that I was really interested in a career as a solicitor and so I was excited by the platform the law degree offered me to build on.
A big part of what drew me to Leeds was the campus itself. I think the single campus right in the city centre is fantastic compared to other universities which are outside cities or are scattered across the city. The single campus offers the best chance to meet people and really feel a part of a big community. The Law Society also played a big part in my decision to join the University of Leeds.
The Liberty Building I think is one of the best buildings on campus. It is a really well designed School which was very impressive to see, and it made me more determined to ensure I earned a place at the university because I wanted to say I was a part of that School. The facilities inside it are brilliant with room to work and to socialise with friends. The staff offices being so transparent made it seem, which has turned out to be the case, like they were very encouraging to visits from students. The support the School has for its students is excellent, and of all the places that claimed to really care about and listen to students, no other school demonstrated that to me as well as at Leeds. I remember very well being torn between Leeds and one other university, and on an open day Nick Taylor, whom everyone knows and loves in the School, spent a significant amount of time listening to my thoughts and reassuring me of all of my concerns, but the biggest factor was how genuine he was. He did not portray the School to be something it is not, but he was very clear on the strengths of the School and how there was such positive momentum behind it, which is even more true today. That was a huge factor in my decision to choose Leeds.
What do you think of your course, have there been any particular highlights for you?
So far my course has been everything I thought it would be. It is very well designed in the main, and it contains some very interesting and thought-provoking content. The best thing about the course is how the module leaders listen and really care about student opinion of the course to improve it, especially with new modules which they pioneer to improve the skills they give the students. The variety of options that you can choose to study is another strong point and they offer plenty of information to help you choose. Highlights of my course has been studying interesting points in criminal law and constitutional law in first year, and banking and financial law in the second year also has some very interesting topics. How relevant the course is to everyday life is something I find enjoyable.
How would you describe the help and guidance provided by the staff within the School?
With very few exceptions, I do not think the staff could do any more to help the students fulfil their potential. The twice-a-week office hours provides an opportunity to go and discuss any concerns we may have about topics or choosing a dissertation topic. Learning is also well guided by suggestions for readings on all topics and for any extra reading we may wish to do. Further to this, seminar leaders are always happy to point us in the direction of useful cases or some of the better articles on relevant topics. The feedback we receive on assessments is in far more detail than any of my friends from other courses receive on their own assessments. For everything we receive the feedback form which breaks the mark down into each criteria to show where we were strong and where there is room to improve, as well as adding steps we should take to improve in future assessments. The support staff behind the School are constantly providing us with more opportunities to improve and build our education and learning with extra-curricular events. As well as this, whenever students feel as though there is something that could be done to improve the course, the staff are more than happy to listen and take any action they feel appropriate.
How would you describe the facilities at the University?
The facilities at the University are excellent. The Brotherton library where the vast collection of law books is located is a wonderful building which is a really nice place to work in. The library is hugely important at University where you are expected to do a large amount of independent learning, contains almost every book or journal we would need for our studies. Those that it does not, the university has acquired access to online. The Liberty Building is a wonderful environment to work in, as are some of the other work spaces in libraries, the brand new Laidlaw library for example. It is also really nice to be able to work in places such as the Refectory and the Roger Stevens café, where it is a much more relaxed environment than the libraries.
Have you been involved in extra-curricular activities, such as societies, summer placements etc? How have these enhanced your experience at the university?
I have been involved in the negotiating competition run by the Law Society which was a very exciting and interesting experience. I decided to take part in this to build on my presentational skills and my ability to structure an argument in a persuasive way and I feel as though I definitely did just that. Competitions like this are a great way to meet new people whilst developing practical skills in a fun way.
I have also taken part in things such as society football competitions. These are also a great way to meet new people on your course doing something you all enjoy. They also offer a chance to relax and have a break from studies and destress.
Although my applications for summer placements have not resulted in success so far I would certainly say I have learnt a lot from my attempts both about what is needed in applications and about myself. They make you consider everything you have learnt not just through your degree but everything you have been doing in the last couple of years, for enjoyment, employment or otherwise, as well as all of your strengths and weaknesses.