|English and Related Literature|
|Medieval Literatures and Languages|
|University of York|
Like this profile?
Add this profile to your favourites so you can return to it later from your account.
A day in the life of a Postgraduate Student in the United Kingdom
I hope that the MA I am undertaking will equip me to work on a PhD, so I can then spend my career in academia.
Briefly describe the organisation you work for
I study at the University of York, in the Centre for Medieval Studies.
What do you do?
I studied English Literature for 3 years as an undergraduate degree, before beginning a masters. I am interested in Medieval Literature and Language, specifically researching Old English works and learning languages. For my course, I do a lot of research, write a lot of essays, and read a lot.
Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?
I realised during my undergraduate degree how much I enjoyed exploring the stories of the past, and more specifically, the stories of the medieval world. After that, I knew I wanted to keep studying. I hope that the MA I am undertaking will equip me to work on a PhD, so I can then spend my career in academia.
Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?
I didn't really have any idea of what I wanted to do after I graduated, so actually no! I think people who know me well could have guessed I would choose to pursue a career in academia, but I didn't really expect it.
Describe your most memorable day at work
I'm going to describe my most memorable week - simply because it was the most life changing thing that happened during my undergraduate degree. Basically, it was the start of term, halfway through second year, and I had picked a few fun modules, all about medieval literature and language. I had no idea what they were going to be like, I was excited, but I wasn't expecting to LOVE them necessarily. Anyways, every single class I went to during that week, I enjoyed so much. I loved talking about the medieval texts we'd been told to read. I loved learning Old English grammar. When I was trying to explain to my friends later on, what an amazing week I'd had learning these (very niche) things, I got myself so excited, and they looked at me as though I was a little bit crazy. That was when I realised that I was UNUSUALLY in love with these topics, and started considering doing a masters.
Are there any challenges associated with your job?
It can be hard to stay motivated, and have sensible work days! You have to have a lot of self-discipline because no one is checking up on you. So some days I'm a bit lazy, and don't do as much work as I should, and some days I'm very motivated, and put far too many hours in, forgetting other things I should be doing.
What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?
I joined a few different societies during university, and kind of experimented with different interests. I learned a lot about organisational skills, and pursuing what you're interested in.
I also work as a Student Ambassador, and have learned so much about marketing, and outreach.
What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?
Well, I'm only a masters student myself. But maybe, stay positive? That's what I'm trying to do at least.
What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?
Ask me anything! But I'd be best at answering questions about studying academically, English Literature, or Medieval Literature.
If you like the look of Isabel’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Isabel a message to find out more about their career journey.