As soon as you get the confirmation that you have been accepted
into university, your mind goes all over the place - planning what you will do.
For many, it is sorting transport and moving away to your very own place.
However, the side of this journey that is not always seen is those who decide
to stay home, like me. When I got accepted to the University of Manchester, I knew
immediately I was going to stay home. I am not a very adventurous person and
have never even left Manchester without my family. I had no idea staying at
home would be an adventure in itself. My name is Faryal and I live at home with
8 other people whilst studying Law at the University of Manchester.
The Ups and Downs of Living at Home
Staying at home does have many positives. I do not have to
pay rent, bills and I do not need maintenance loans. I help at home when I can
but it costs considerably less than having my own place. Travelling to
university comes at a cost but compared to travelling home on the weekends, it
is much less. I personally believe staying home has helped with my mental
health, being surrounded with people I am comfortable with and have lived with
my whole life.
Staying at home, however, is not all money-saving and family
time. It does come with its struggles. Peace and quiet are pretty much non-existent in my home. It is also more difficult to make friends when you do not
live with other students. Travelling to university can be hectic in itself as
there are specific times you must be there and busses coming on time is as rare
as sunny British weather. The biggest issue is definitely how to make the most
of university when living at home, how to live the true university experience.
How to Make the Most of Uni
can be overcome. I cannot stress the importance of these tips and wish I really
took full advantage of the opportunities. The most obvious way is to join a society
or volunteering. Freshers Fair at the University of Manchester is full of societies
signing up new members. There really is a society for everyone. The best thing
about joining a society or volunteering is you are surrounded by people with
the same interests as you, whether it is Mixed Martial Arts or Accounting you
are interested in. The Manchester Students’ Union lists all sorts of different
societies. Listing the societies you are interested in as well as being
spontaneous and trying something new is the best way to go for Freshers.
Seminar groups really push you to meet new people. The best
advice I could give is when you talk to people in your seminar group, ask for a
way to contact them. Whilst you may seem shy, they probably want to ask you the
As a home student,
seeing other students already knowing each other, it could really affect your
confidence, not only in making friends but also speaking to people in general.
During the beginning of my first year, I found myself barely participating or asking
for help. It is so important to push yourself within the first few weeks to
participate in seminars and ask for help when you need it because you can then
fall into a habit of being withdrawn and quiet. It can be really daunting at
first and you feel like everyone is watching you but it soon becomes second
nature. It is so vital to ask for help when you feel your mental health is not the
best it could be. The University of Manchester counselling support is amazing
and really can make the difference. University is such a special experience and
getting into university is a fantastic achievement so you should really make
the most of it.
One thing I love about the University of Manchester is the
campus. The greenery, the libraries are all great places to spend your time.
Instead of rushing straight home, go to the library or even take a walk around
the campus and just enjoy the experience.
Staying at home is as ‘boring’ as you make it. It can really
be the best experience if you take full advantage of all the opportunities you
have. For me, whilst the beginning of university was really difficult, once I
pushed myself and became more social around the university, I really loved it
and cannot wait to start my next year, surrounded by my family when at home and
by friends when at university.
name is Eleanor and I am a third year PhD student at the University of
Manchester. My research looks at queer sexuality in Samuel Beckett’s work
during the 1960s. You might know Samuel Beckett as the playwright who wrote Waiting for Godot, but did you know he
was also a novelist, poet, screenwriter, director for both television and film
and a short prose writer? My work focuses on the 1960s in particular because
Beckett’s work during this period begins to change into something much more minimal
(the scenery is often a plain white space, bodies nondescript and their actions
often simply breathing and sweating) and, simultaneously, much more gender-fluid.
Here I am giving a paper at the 4th Annual Beckett Society conference in Mexico City.
school, my favourite subjects were English Literature, Religious Studies and
Art & Design. I never got on very well with Mathematics or any of the
sciences, although now, surprisingly, I find that I am using theories from
these disciplines in my work as well! My undergraduate degree was in English
Literature at the University of Sussex, and I did a Master's in Comparative
Literature at Queen Mary’s, University of London, which allowed me to study a
broader range of literature in other languages and in translation—as well as
translation theory—and to make more comparisons between subjects, such as
comparing literature with music, art and performance.
This has helped a great deal with my current studies, as Beckett wrote in both
English and French, and did a lot of self-translation, as well as working in
aural and visual mediums.
current research brings queer theory to an area of Beckett Studies to which it
is absolutely crucial, while simultaneously allowing this research to reflect
back upon the current state of Sexuality Studies.
The theoretical work that my thesis has opened up is different from what I had
imagined when I started my PhD, but in an exciting way! The journey you take
when you study literature can be unpredictable and messy and that’s what I love
about it. Often, you will find that literary criticism has been subject to
compulsory heterosexuality. This term was coined by groundbreaking feminist
scholar Adrienne Rich to explain how society expects, assumes and reinforces
heterosexuality as dominant. At its most basic, my work seeks to undo this.
also work as a Teaching Assistant, which has been an extremely rewarding role
and has taught me a great deal. When I graduate, I would like to continue to
teach at university level. I work as a Widening Participation Fellow, I am a
tutor on the MAP programme, I undertake Research Assistant work, and I am the administrator
of the Beckett Society. On top of this, I also have a part-time job as a
customer service assistant at an art supplies company. When you do a PhD
part-time, you have to keep a very strict calendar, and be very aware of your
reason that I fell in love with studying literature was theory. Theory is a
broad category, which encompasses all sorts of ideas, from feminism and Marxism
to deconstruction and psychoanalysis. Some people don’t see theory as very
valuable because it doesn’t have a material output, like a science subject
might. However, studying literature is important because it examines the bedrock
of our lives: not just language itself, but narrative and how it is
constructed. In studying literature, you are also able to examine the
narratives of productivity that are fed to us by society and find better ways
of ascribing value and importance.
A rainbow printed onto the road in the Castro District, San Francisco, ready for Pride celebrations.
 Translation theory asks at how best
to translate a text – can one translate for both sense and feel? How to make up for the importance of sound and rhythm?
How to make up for small but significant differences in meaning and account for
cultural context? It has been suggested, for example, that the translation of
poetry is impossible.
 Queer theory is a broad category of
theorizing that foregrounds sexuality and gender, reading texts through a lens
that is often denied us in critical theory. Eve Sedgwick, one of the most
famous queer theorists, suggests ‘it's about how you can't understand
relations between men and women unless you understand the relationship between
people of the same gender, including the possibility of a sexual relationship
between them.' This is why it is so crucial that queer theory be brought to
Beckett Studies, as this has so far been neglected in scholarship.
Hello! I’m Krystyna. I’m a graduate intern at the University
of Manchester and I work in the Student Recruitment and Widening Participation
team. This means that I work in a team which works closely with schools and
colleges in order to show learners what university is all about and what other
options young people have to continue their education and succeed in the
I studied French and Spanish at the University and in my
final year I did an extended research project on the topic of anthropomorphism
– the way that animals (or non-human characters) are treated as if they had
human qualities. Not at all French or Spanish! But what does all this have to
do with what I studied and my current job?
What is the School of
You may have heard people refer to university as ‘The School
of Life’, but what do they mean by this? Arriving at university is an
experience unlike any other. You are likely to be living without your family
for the first time, independently, with a group of other students. You can meet
new people every day if you want to through your course, and though the various
societies (clubs) and activities going on on-campus or in the city. You are
faced with so many new situations that your ability to overcome problems gets
better, and you find yourself getting more confident. More confident and
learning a whole lot of new skills and knowledge. All of these experiences give
you an insight into the world beyond your comfort zone and prepare you for your
future whether you have a career in mind or not.
As you find your feet, and get deeper into your work and settle
into your student life, you also start finding out more about your interests –
what are the things that spark something inside you? What are the things
that get you excited? Where is it that your strengths lie? What do you want to
get better at? These were some of the questions that helped me make the most of
the opportunities at university.
How does this help you
University isn’t only about attending your classes and only
sticking to classes from your course – that’s right! If you’re doing a business
degree you can take up a language and vice versa! I was able to take a course
on animal ethics in my final year which explored the relationship that we,
humans, have with animals. Not only was this fascinating, but it also changed my
world view. This, paired with my growing abilities in the languages I was
learning, made me reconsider my future. I started thinking beyond my subject
and started thinking about how I wanted to impact society in the future.
I became a student ambassador in my first year through to my
final year. This is a role in which you represent the university at events and
get to talk to people visiting campus about your experience there. As an
ambassador, one of the things I enjoyed was the opportunity to work with
schools. I would help university staff run events that encourage secondary
school pupils to take up languages and in my final year, I was able to teach
four beginner French lessons to 12 pupils in year eight at their school. This
is because many, if not all, universities also work with their local
communities in many different ways and I was able to be a part of that.
How does this help shape
As I came closer to finishing my degree, I started to
understand that my degree doesn’t restrict me to finding a job linked directly
to my studies. I started to understand that at university you learn so many
different skills that can be applied to many different jobs. At university,
not only did I gain independence, experience and learn about many things that I
wouldn’t have otherwise learned about (such as studying linguistics, and animal
ethics, and even studying abroad), I was able to reflect on my experiences and
skills, likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses and find where it is that
I want to go next.
If you decide to come to university, I hope that you will
push yourself to learn and experience new things, get involved in the work that
your university does in its community and discover, from these experiences,
where your passion might lie. I hope you have an excellent experience in the
School of Life!
Hi my name’s Liz and I’m a second year PhD student in the
Geography department, where my work focuses on young people’s activism in times
of economic and political change. My research is done in collaboration with the
young engagement organisation RECLAIM, and explores the following questions: Why
might young people get involved in activism, and what kind of campaigning work
are young people doing? How does learning about politics from a young age
impact young people’s lives? And how are small charities managing after a
decade of cuts to public services?
is a Greater Manchester-based youth leadership and social change organisation
committed to supporting working class young people to have their voices heard.
Young people (aged 11 and up) working with RECLAIM campaign against a number of
issues including young people’s exclusion from political decision making, a
lack of representation within politics, and negative class stereotypes.
We know that economic cuts, also described as austerity
measures, in the UK and across parts of Europe over the last decade have had
devastating impacts on public services, and, affecting young people in
particular, youth services. These austerity measures are experienced
differently across social groups and places around the UK, and we know that
working class communities and charities have been disproportionately affected
by cuts to services and the changing funding landscape. In this context it’s
important to explore the ongoing marginalisation of young working class people
in political decision making, and how young people are campaigning and engaging
in activism in times of economic, social and political change.
of three boys on a bridge in London, one is wearing a t-shirt that says
“working class young people being seen, being heard and leading change.
My research involves working with staff and young people at
RECLAIM over a year to explore the kind of activism and campaigning young
people are doing and why, how young people feel about gaining a political
education at an early age, and what impact austerity measures have had on
RECLAIM. Each day is a bit different, but mainly the research involves going
along to events and workshops run by or for young people, going to team
meetings, hanging out in the office and doing some interviews and workshops
with staff and young people at RECLAIM. In the current global pandemic all face to face
fieldwork has stopped, and instead I am following team meetings and other
activities online and delaying some of the research with young people until the
social distancing measures are lifted and it is safe to continue with face to
I hope this research will provide some important information
about how young people are pushing for social change, what supports young
people’s activism and what acts as a barrier, and what small charities are
doing to manage a difficult funding situation.
Picture of a group of young people and RECLAIM staff and
volunteers outside Rochdale town hall holding placards.
My Route into Geography
I’ve done quite a few different things over the last 10
years and I never imagined at 18 that 10 years later I would end up doing a PhD
in Geography – as you’ll see I took quite an unusual route to get here…
I really loved languages and reading in school and I was
interested in learning about the cultures and histories of different countries so
after trawling through university prospectuses and getting advice from teachers
I decided to apply for a languages undergraduate degree. I went to Exeter
University to study French and Italian, which included a year abroad. Doing a
languages degree was great because alongside the language classes (French and
Italian grammar, speaking and translation), I also got to study French art,
Italian novels, and the history of both these countries. But the real highlight
was doing a year abroad teaching English in Rome, I made lots of friends,
visited some beautiful places, and ate A LOT of delicious pizza and ice cream!
I also did some modules outside of my degree in politics and
international relations and for the three years that I was in Exeter I was very
involved with Amnesty International and did a lot of campaigning against human
rights abuses across the world, including a lot of work on gender equality and
women’s rights, which is something I’m still passionate about.
When I left Exeter I was fortunate to get a paid internship
with a small project in London called the MsUnderstood Project, working on
young people’s experiences of gender inequality. Following this I worked
briefly as a teaching assistant in a year 1 class, and in a bookshop as a
Christmas Temp, and then got a job as a research assistant at the University of
Bedfordshire where I stayed for two and a half years. My job there involved
working with young people to think about the best ways of protecting children
from harm, and how to improve services to make sure they listen to children and
work in the best way to support children and young people.
All these experiences instilled in me a real desire to work
to support young people to have their voices heard in a variety of settings, to
make sure policies and systems work for young people, based on their expertise,
and to work to challenge
wider structural systems that typically exclude children and young people from
power and decision making. When the opportunity came up to do a PhD in
collaboration with RECLAIM, who are doing brilliant work on these issues, I
thought this be a fantastic research project to work on, and so far it
- For more information about Geography at MAnchester, visit the website: https://www.seed.manchester.ac.uk/geography
- Amnesty International UK is the organisation I first started
working with when I was a student, to find out more about their work to protect
human rights across the world you can check out their website here: https://www.amnesty.org.uk
- The MsUnderstood Project was set up to improve local and
national responses to young people’s experiences of inequality. The project has
now finished but you can find information about the project and a number of
resources on their website: http://www.msunderstood.org.uk
- The University of Bedfordshire have a number of resources,
many created in collaboration with young people, aimed at improving support for
young people who have experienced harm. You can find out more about their work
- You can find out more about RECLAIM and the brilliant
campaigning work they are doing here: https://www.reclaim.org.uk
- A recent campaign run by young people at RECLAIM was the #IfWeDidThis campaign,
you can watch the video here: https://www.reclaim.org.uk/ifwedidthis
- Kids of Colour is a Manchester-based organisation which
provides a platform for young people of colour to explore race, identity and
culture and challenge the everyday, institutionalised racism that shapes their
lives. Their website has loads of brilliant videos and information about
upcoming events (when these are back on): http://kidsofcolour.com
- If you are interested in campaigning work Campaign Bootcamp
have interesting and informative blogs, along with other resources to help you
get started: https://campaignbootcamp.org
- To keep up with me, check ut my Univerisity of Manchester page: https://www.research.manchester.ac.uk/portal/elizabeth.ackerley-2.html
I'm Vicki. I'm a second year PhD student in Bioethics and Medical Jurisprudence
here at the University of Manchester. I'm also part of the Greater Manchester
Patient Safety Translational Research Centre - yes, it's a very long name! The
'translational' bit means that we are developing and testing new ideas and
approaches to patient safety. My research aims to understand how effective our
healthcare regulation system is at keeping patients safe when they leave
Before starting my PhD I studied for my undergraduate degree in
Philosophy, and a master's degree in Healthcare Ethics and Law. I had no idea
when I graduated with my Philosophy degree that I’d end up where I am now. I
worked for a charity as a Fundraising Manager and studied for my master’s
degree via distance-learning. My master’s was helpful for me in switching job
roles – after graduating I spent a few years working for the General Medical
Council, which regulates doctors in the UK. This really sparked my passion for
healthcare ethics, regulation, and patient safety!
After that I applied for my PhD, which is funded by the National
Institute of Health Research. Unlike a traditional PhD, my PhD is 'by
publication'. This means that rather than writing one huge piece of writing, I
produce a series of shorter articles to be published in academic journals. But
these articles still need to relate to each other under a common theme! At the
end, they will form the middle chapter of my PhD, sandwiched between an
introduction and a conclusion.
of the main aims of healthcare regulation is to keep patients safe. This is
done by several different regulators in the UK. Some regulate healthcare
professionals (like doctors and nurses), whilst others regulate healthcare
providers (such as hospitals). The common theme of my research is how do all of
these regulators make sure patients are kept safe when they leave hospitals?
You might be surprised to learn that leaving hospital can be a really dangerous
time for patients, especially the elderly! I’m nearly halfway through my
research but I already have several ideas for how regulators could be doing
more to keep patients safe.
A friend once said to me
that when choosing her career 'it matters that it matters'. She meant it was important that her work made
a real difference to people's lives. It’s an odd quote but it sums up how I
feel about my research! I hope that it will be useful in improving safety for
patients at a time when they should be going safely home.
a useful introduction to the variety of topics that philosophy examines, see here.
- Visit this blog by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, to learn
more about the field of bioethics.
can read about my research centre here.
- Find out more about the exciting work Greater
Manchester are doing to improve patient safety.
more information on distance-learning see here