Hello – welcome to my blog!

Hello! My name is Madeleine and I’m a third year student at The University of Manchester. For my first and second year I have been studying Politics & Philosophy, and have absolutely loved my course! During my degree so far I have focussed on Politics, taking more modules each semester than I did in Philosophy, so I’ve made the decision to move onto just studying Politics for my final year.

My degree programme is the BA in Social Sciences (more commonly known as BASS), and it’s this programme that’s allowed me to have great flexibility in choosing exactly what I study each year. This was a big factor for me in deciding what course, and at what university I’d like to study. The BASS programme has allowed me to tailor my degree as my interests changed and evolved.

If you’d asked me whilst I was applying to university why I chose the course I did, I wouldn’t have been able to give you a reason. Yes, I had taken Politics at A-level and this had sparked my interest, but I’d never studied Philosophy and I wasn’t sure it was the degree for me. It wasn’t until I started studying at university that my horizons completely opened and gave me a much clearer idea of what it is I am interested in. If I could give one bit of advice to my Year 13 self, it would be to not put so much pressure on choosing what degree subject to study. The soft skills you develop whilst at university are just as beneficial as the title of your degree! Of course, choosing a degree you are genuinely interested in is important, but don’t get put off if your interests start to change as the years progress. Embrace it! You never know, you may get the opportunity to shape your own studies around that newly discovered interest in a piece of independent research or a dissertation.

My experience at university has definitely been a positive one. First year flew by; you’re just getting used to the independent study and the structure of lectures and seminars and suddenly it’s time for the summer break. It wasn’t until the end of my second year that I took up the opportunity to get involved in extra activities to fit around my studies and part-time job. In the Students’ Union, there’s a chance to get involved in tons of stuff, from volunteering to event planning, to outreach projects and even to getting your own slot on the university radio station! You name it, there’s a society for it. I got involved in a project called Student Voice. Student Voice delivers alternative political education workshops to secondary school students in the local area. When I first joined the project, I felt totally out of my depth as I’d never done anything like it and was sure I didn’t have any relevant skills to bring. After helping to deliver a series of ten workshops to a group of Year 9s, my attitude had totally changed. The experience was so rewarding, not only did the students enjoy it, but I gained a huge confidence boost and was totally inspired. My only regret is that I didn’t get involved in my first year!

It was this experience that gave me the courage to apply for a summer internship before starting my third year. During this last summer, I joined the Student Recruitment and Widening Participation team at The University of Manchester for 8-weeks. Whilst part of the team, I got involved in lots of different projects all centred around supporting prospective university students and raising their aspirations to higher education.

Now that summer is over and I am back studying again, I have joined the UMASS team and will be providing you with insights into my experiences studying and living in Manchester over the next 8 months via the UMASS blog.