Beth Hurrell talks to us about her eye-opening Edinburgh experience and what it means to do more than just say "yes".
|Year of Graduation||
Your time at the University
I chose Edinburgh because I was both enchanted by it, and because I felt at home as soon as I stepped off the train. The city itself has everything – the town and the history but with the sea and the countryside so close as well! Edinburgh University is renowned for research and teaching but it is also friendly and accessible. It is prestigious without being pretentious. The 4 year course really appealed to me and I ended up changing my degree from philosophy to history.
I had a fantastic 4 years at the University of Edinburgh and I made some great friends. Some of my favourite memories involve going on tour to Europe with the Wind Band (and Beerinteering!), Hogmanay, sitting on the roof of a Marchmont flat watching Bonfire Night fireworks, going to Burns Suppers and ceilidhs and bike rides to the Pentlands. The whole University experience at Edinburgh was an eye-opener for me, I had some of my best experiences at University (and some of my worst during dissertation time in the Hugh Robson computer bunker!) I am so pleased I chose Edinburgh and really value the time I spent there.
The more engaged you are with the city of Edinburgh, and branch out from the student bubble, the better prepared you will be for life after graduation. It should hopefully be enjoyable as well!
Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University
Since graduating in 2010 I have completed a 4 month paid internship with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. I was then successful in securing several different jobs with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, including programme assistant for the anti-poverty strategy for the UK and research assistant for the Neighbourhood Approaches to Loneliness programme.
I went travelling for 2 months in South America – an amazing experience for me having never been outside of Europe! Upon returning I undertook some research and editing work on the ‘Why Poverty?’ book authored by Julia Unwin, Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation; something that I am personally very proud of. I have since worked as tenancy housing assistant at City of York Council and I currently work at the University of York in the Student Recruitment and Admissions team.
I am particularly proud of the training I have undertaken to become a volunteer generalist advisor at the Citizens Advice Bureau in York. I have been advising clients for a year and find this really rewarding as well as personally challenging. I am also hoping to embark on teaching piano to beginners.
During my time at University I tried to say ‘yes’ to opportunities that arose but my advice would be – ‘Don’t just say ‘yes’ to what comes your way but actively seek out opportunities!’
In hindsight I feel that it is so important for your personal and professional development to gain experiences that will be valuable to you once you have graduated and wish that I had made more of my time at Edinburgh University in that respect.
I would advise applying for internships (paid ones do exist!) or undertaking voluntary work in your spare time and making the most of the Careers’ Service (before 4th year!). They offer a wide range of talks and other activities so that you get a broad insight into what jobs and careers exist. Take a chance and email or phone employers to gain experience shadowing in an area that you are interested in, or volunteer with a local charity. The more engaged you are with the city of Edinburgh, and branch out from the student bubble, the better prepared you will be for life after graduation. It should hopefully be enjoyable as well!