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Alumna's motivation to inspire students

In the latest in our series of interviews with alumni who take part in Alumni Insights event to advise current students, Emily Goetsch explains how her own experiences as a student have motivated her to inspire others.

Emily Goetsch

Why have you chosen to take part in the Alumni Insights events? Is alumni advice something you yourself benefitted from while a student?

I am always happy to take part in alumni events with current students partly because I had such a wonderful experience during my MSc and PhD at Edinburgh. I am keen to give back to the University wherever I can and, as a teaching fellow in the University, I think it's incredibly important that students have a sense of the opportunities out there, learning how to take advantage of the resources available to them.  I did not have much advice from alumni while I was doing my degrees, but I think it's a great area for the University to develop as I would have relished the chance to hear about how others developed their career paths and dealt with challenges after graduation.

Why is it so important that students hear from graduates who have gone on to have successful careers?

I think it's important that students have evidence of the different ways their degrees are applied in the real world. The job market is extremely competitive right now and it's important to know that it is possible to get jobs in one's field and that there are diverse applications of the skills acquired during both taught and research degrees. I also think it's really important to recognise the challenges that come with applying for jobs while trying to balance and develop both your professional and personal lives. It is easy to feel isolated when you're trying to plot your own course, and it's helpful to know how other people dealt with different challenges. 

Why would you like to help Edinburgh students? Do you believe our Edinburgh education is a unique one?

This might be a bit self-serving since I have two postgraduate degrees from Edinburgh, but I believe that Edinburgh students come away with strong academic degrees as well as an awareness of the world that a city like Edinburgh can provide.  It is a pleasure to work with and help students who are committed to their interests and their communities, and I am happy to help students and recent graduates pursue their interests and engage with other communities.  

Which moments or activities during your studies really influenced your subsequent career choices and opportunities?

I was fortunate to have a very supportive supervisor, who encouraged me to organise conferences, take up teaching and push myself in all sorts of ways.  I have had great experiences developing conferences and exhibitions, and teaching at a range of levels. These sorts of collaborations and work with students at a range of levels encouraged me to pursue an academic career and I credit the lecturers in the department for making me aware of different opportunities and approaches to the discipline of history of art.

What do you wish you’d known as a student? 

I wish that I had been more prepared for the period of time immediately following the completion of my degrees.  My postgraduate experience was formative, and I wish that I had been better prepared to apply for postdocs and jobs, and manage the balance between personal and professional life after the PhD. 

Your insights

The Alumni Insights events are only possible thanks to the generous support of our alumni who take part. If you are interested in participating in one of our events, please contact CJ Cochran, Alumni Manager:

Email CJ Cochran

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