Studying in Manchester
Hello, my name is Emma, and I have just graduated from the University of Manchester from BA English Language and Literature. Throughout my time at university, I have gained a plethora of interpersonal skills, as well as academic skills and enhanced my cultural awareness. Going to university helped me to gain a range of transferable skills, such as communication, teamwork, and leadership. Throughout my experience I became a lot more independent. Living away from home really helped me to leave my comfort zone and helped me to meet plenty of new people.
What’s it like living in a big city?
When I was in first year, moving to Manchester felt like a big change, as I come from a small seaside town, Southport. However, this was something that I was really able to embrace. When you’re in a big city, there’s always somewhere new to visit, or a different place to explore. I really enjoyed visiting lots of different coffee shops, trying new foods, and going to lots of different venues. I could go to a different place every time I went out and I’d never get bored. There are also so many different cultural places to visit as well. Manchester has so many different Museums and Art Galleries - there’s still places on my bucket list that I haven’t got round to seeing. Especially as an English student, I could regularly go to the theatre to see different productions of plays.
During COVID_19, there were lots of different parks and outdoor spaces around Manchester that were great to visit, Fletcher Moss was my personal favourite.
What was my course like?
Doing a course like English, there is a lot of time for independent study. For the Literature side of my degree, I spent a lot of time reading different texts, and on average I would be reading a different novel each week. For the Language side of my degree, I did a plethora of different things. Some modules could be very analytical, so I would be analysing data from linguistics, whereas others could be more theory based. In an average week, I would have 9 contact hours, spread across lectures and seminars, and then I would spend the rest of the week in the library doing my reading and my assignments.
What’s it like doing joint honours?
With doing joint honours, you get the best of both sides of your degree. I was able to really specialise in the sides of Language and Literature that I really enjoyed. I got to learn so many different skills and meet more people than I would have met doing single honours. It was really interesting to move from one discipline to another, and it has definitely given me a broader experience of university and academic life.
What was my accommodation like?
In first year, I lived in University halls. The place I lived in was called Manchester Gardens. I lived in a flat with 3 other students, I had my own en-suite and a shared kitchen and living room area. The shared area was a great place for socialising and sitting with my flat mates. I also had access to different outdoor spaces at my accommodation, and there was a study section where I could use the university computers and get my work done. In my second year of University, I lived in a private house with 7 other girls. This was absolutely amazing because we felt like we really had our own home, that was our own space to live in. We also had a great landlord who would help us with anything that we needed. Throughout my final year, I lived with 5 others in a privately owned flat. This was perfect as we lived right in a centre of Fallowfield, and we were really close to all the local amenities.
What was the student life like?
Living in a bit city like Manchester, the student population is enormous. The student life can take any direction. For some people this entails plenty of drinking and going out, and Manchester has plenty of venues for that. For others, the student life involves things such as going to different open mic nights or different Art Galleries, and Manchester has all that too. During my first year, I regularly would go out in the town centre, visiting all the different clubs and pubs that were there. During my second year, I often went out to the bars in Fallowfield, near to where I lived. During my third year of University, I had less time for socialising, but I still managed to pop to the local bars with my friends.
Was there time for extra-curricular activities?
Throughout my time at university, I was frequently involved with the volunteering hub. I regularly volunteered for a Manchester based publishing company, an opportunity that I found through the university, and I now have been awarded the Manchester Leadership Award. As well as this, I also worked as a Student Ambassador part-time for the university. This was a great way for me to get to know the university campus, as well as meet many different students from different courses. Working as a student ambassador, I got to engage with the university in a way that I wouldn’t have done as a student. I regularly gave campus tours, accommodation tours, and helped with widening and participation events.
How did COVID_19 impact my experience at University:
As was the case for many students, COVID_19 had a big impact on the way that I was able to engage with university. However, I was very quick to adjust to the online format. By the time the new academic year came around, the university had many different contingencies in place, and the plans for online learning were now much clearer. Although online lectures felt a bit different to in-person lectures, I saved a lot of time by not having to travel into university and I was able to watch the lectures whenever I wanted, rather than at a set time. During the second lockdown, in November 2020, the libraries stayed open and students could book out rooms in order to study or to watch interactive lectures.
Although the student life was definitely impacted, I spent more time doing small activities with my flat. We would have different games nights, movie nights or wine nights, and we were still able to make the most of being a student. When things started opening up again, we’ve been sure to go back out as much as possible.
What have I gained from my degree?
I have gained a plethora of skills from my degree. I have learnt so much academically, and I have learnt so many skills that will better equip me for the workplace. I have met some fantastic new people, and I have gained so much independence from living on my own in a big city. I’d recommend University to anyone who wishes to enrich themselves and to have an amazing experience.