Hear from some of our students - past and present - about their SOCSI story
I am currently the Education and University affairs officer at Cardiff University; a job I never would have imagined being in when I first arrived at Cardiff.
My job involves representing all 29,000 students of the University on academic issues, coordinating the student academic rep system, attending meetings to ensure the students' voice gets heard, and lobbying the University to make change for students.
When I initially came to study in the School of Social Sciences, I was going to study straight Education, having my heart set on being a primary school teacher, and only decided to undertake joint honours and make my degree Education and Sociology as an afterthought. Studying education and sociology however, opened my eyes to the fact that there is more to education than just teaching, and to the world of politics that surrounds it.
Through my time at University I became really intrigued by the influences not only on education, but what influence education can have on society. I started to get involved with the student representation system in the school and I developed an interest in how students can shape the education system they are within. I became a student academic rep and then went on to chair the student staff panel for two years, undertaking various projects such as redesigning the way the induction process is run, lobbying the school to improve the feedback students receive, and running focus groups to ensure that students' views were being heard.
Through the opportunities within the School and the support the staff gave me over the year, I was able to develop my passion for student representation. I turned what for three years was an extracurricular activity into an opportunity to continue it as a full time job, through running in the student elections and being elected to represent 29,000 students on educational issues.
Through my job, I have been able to further develop my interest in how we can engage students in their learning, and I am planning on pursuing a career in student politics. I really feel without having studied social sciences at Cardiff and having the opportunity to be challenged, engaged and shown there's more to a subject than you originally think, I wouldn't be fortunate enough to be doing a job that I am immensely passionate about and really love!
From California to Cardiff, Wendy Blyth first came to the School of Social Sciences in 2008 for a study abroad year. Here, Wendy describes how a serendipitous decision helped her on the way to a life-changing journey.
I’m a SoCal girl, originally from Huntington Beach in Southern California. My decision to study abroad at Cardiff was half fate and half good recruitment by the University's International Office. I knew I wanted to study abroad so I planned on going to a general talk about the process held at my University's study abroad office. When I got there, a representative from Cardiff University was holding a talk in another room just opposite. I was lured in by the prospectus showing the great Main Building of Cardiff University and I was hooked by the details about its reputation inside. There were also current students at the talk who gave me a sense of what living and going to University in the city of Cardiff was really like. From all that, I was sold. Hook, line and sinker.
I had a great time at the University, both socially and academically. I played on the Ladies Basketball team and made some great friends. More importantly I met some great academics and students as well. One thing that I love about Cardiff University is the investment in students. I’ll admit that with the reputation of SOCSI, I was a little intimidated and worried about how well I would do. When I got here I asked for help with assignments and put the extra hours in to do well. When you put the time in, the School is really great about giving back and providing support for you and your future.
Having had such a wonderful experience here during my year abroad, I wasn’t ready for it to end which is why I came back and did a Masters in Social Science Research Methods. People in the School inspire you to think big and do more. I had never thought about doing a Masters until I moved here, then when I finished my year abroad a couple of people at SOCSI put the idea in my head and it stuck. If I was going to do a Masters I wanted to do it in a school that supports its students' success, and from my experience, that was here.
I gained so much from this experience; great friends, great stories, awesome travel experiences and more cultural knowledge than ever before. But I think the biggest thing I gained, perhaps without even realising at the time, was self-confidence. Ask most people who have studied abroad, and they will likely tell you that there is something about putting all your belongings in one suitcase and jumping on a plane by yourself to live in another country that changes you as a person. Having to meet new people every day, I’m a lot less shy than I once was. New experiences and changes in life have become more exciting and less intimidating.
I am now living in Cardiff and I’ve recently got a job as a University Graduate Intern. I’m currently working in the student recruitment team, and enjoying every minute of it. I hope to stay living in Cardiff and working for the University for as long as possible.
Article taken from Cardiff News, Volume 19 No.3 (December 2012) Available to read here: http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/news/newsletter.html
I chose sociology because I wanted to study a subject that examined human behaviour and social organisation from ‘outside the box’. I also wanted to consider critical perspectives on society that weren't afraid to challenge the status quo. This is exactly what I got with SOCSI at Cardiff. I had never studied sociology before and in truth was unsure what to expect. I was gripped from my first introductory lecture, and was blown away by the breadth and diversity of the modules throughout. My favourite thing about the course was being able to pick and choose modules from across the social sciences, not just in sociology. After graduating I worked in health and social care, supporting adults with learning difficulties and mental health problems. My education at Cardiff equipped me in a multitude of ways. Perhaps most valuably, I was able to understand the mechanics of the bureaucracy I found myself working within. I was also able to get a deeper insight into how broader social and cultural issues affected the lives of the individuals I was working with. I will always cherish the experience, the knowledge, and the memories that studying sociology at Cardiff gave me.
Social Science BSc – BPS Route
When looking at degree choices I had not originally planned on a degree in Social Science, but now I am very glad that it is what I ended up doing. The path I followed (the British Psychological Society accredited course) was engaging and allowed for specialisation in the areas of the social sciences that I found most interesting. The lecturers are passionate about their subject areas, and their research-generated enthusiasm carries through in lectures and seminars. I loved my three years at Cardiff University and I will take many of the skills I have learned from my time at SOCSI with me into future study and my career. I am now about to start a post-compulsory PGCE and look forward to developing my knowledge gained in my time in university in the position of a psychology teacher.