Alumna Sandra Wilson chats about student life, a chance encounter with a sporty scientist and how research skills gained at Edinburgh have been vital to her career.
|Degree Course||BA English Language & Literature|
|Year of Graduation||1980|
Your time at the University
I went to school in Edinburgh, one of Muriel Spark’s crème de la crème! University didn’t seem such a big step as I had tried to blag my way into the Chambers Street Union in my sixth year. However I thought I would be very “Brideshead Revisited” and purchase a university scarf only to find out I was an easy- to- spot fresher!
I stayed at home for my first year which I hated, but I succeeded in qualifying for an away from home grant as I lived in a village outside the city. This combined with a retail Saturday job meant that I managed to flee the family home for a student flat in the West End of Edinburgh for my second year.
I dreamt of meeting a Byronic hero around George Square, but I ended up with the sporty scientist flatmate who frequented a mysterious place called KB.
I had to share a room but I didn’t mind as I was in seventh heaven. A former tenant had left us a piano and luckily my new roommate (now an Edinburgh Professor!) was a brilliant pianist and we had many impromptu musical evenings. There were 9 of us in the flat, 5 girls and 4 boys - and we had some great parties and a good local pub downstairs.
As an arts student I dreamt of meeting a Byronic hero around George Square, but I ended up with the sporty scientist flatmate who frequented a mysterious place called KB.
Reader I married him! Worried that the romance might not last long I took up the offer of a flat with my own room in Warrender Park Road within a few months of our relationship! We’ve just celebrated 30 years of marriage so maybe that move was a trifle hasty!
Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University
I enjoyed my course immensely but I knew I didn’t want to be an English teacher. I went to the University Careers Library and read from A-Z and selected possible careers in Journalism, Librarianship and Publishing.
In the end I elected to do a Postgraduate Diploma course in Librarianship in Wales and had a good career as an information professional working in all kinds of workplace libraries in technical, business and health sectors in Edinburgh, London and Glasgow.
Later on I moved into project management and also spent time as a charity volunteer and I am about to join the board of a local carers charity. In both my work and personal life I became involved in event management.
While my children were young I worked as a freelance picture researcher for educational publishers, collaborated on a local history book, and researched genealogy. I’m now picking up the freelance journalist thread with creative writing and I’m also available to undertake research for authors. Research skills honed at Edinburgh University were vital to my career path and students have a wealth of libraries and institutions in Edinburgh, the first Unesco City of Literature.
Take advantage of the wonderful scenery. Walk across the Meadows in the Spring blossom sunshine, sunbathe in George Square in that unusually hot week in June, have a study day in the Botanics, read “One Day” by David Mitchell and climb Arthur Seat. Walk in the Pentlands and along the shore at Cramond, and stroll through the New Town on a summer evening.
My own favourite is to stand on the Mound on a grey November day and drink in the atmosphere, or take in the sunset on Calton Hill. There are few other cities that offer so much diversity of landscape and culture than my very own Athens of the North.