Portrait of Maddie grounds

Maddie Grounds

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

I come from a small village in Suffolk so studying in a city as busy and big as Leeds was definitely a big change for me! After going to Sixth Form in Cambridge, I was ready to branch out beyond the historical home of old universities and calm streets to a city more lively and cosmopolitan.

What made you want to apply to your course and to Leeds?

After doing a combined English Language and Literature A-Level, I was keen to continue both sides of the subject and was immediately impressed by the breadth of modules offered by the course at Leeds. At the open days, the students were extremely helpful, answering any questions that I had and showed an undeniable passion for the texts they were studying and the lecturers that taught them. Seminar leaders and lecturers treated me as an individual and provided me with information tailored to my personal interests. It was after seeing the School with my own eyes and experiencing the exciting atmosphere when I realised that Leeds was definitely the right choice for me!

What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?

The main aspect of studying English at Leeds that keeps me passionate is the freedom that the course brings with it. Predominantly in second and third year, students get to choose from a huge range of optional and discovery modules meaning that everyone can find something that they are interested in. This year my favourite module has been the ‘Forensic Approaches to Language’ module which considers discourse within courtrooms, legal language and police interviews. Before coming to Leeds I had never even heard of Forensic Linguistics and now I am looking to write my dissertation on it!

What aspects of the course did you enjoy the most?  

So far in my course, I have enjoyed my second semester of my second year the most as I absolutely love all three modules that I am taking! The literature module ‘American Words, American Worlds’ is really refreshing and different, covering modern texts on themes that I have not previously learnt much about including the AIDS epidemic and the Vietnam War. In English Language, I have particularly enjoyed working with large number of media texts and carrying out quantitative analysis using software programs. For one of my essays, I looked at political interviews and investigated the number of evasive answers used, revealing some very insightful findings on politician’s tactics! 

What has been the most surprising thing about coming to Leeds?

The most surprising thing about coming to Leeds would have to be the ease in which I settled in. Moving away from home and adopting a brand new lifestyle was extremely daunting yet after the first couple of weeks, Leeds already felt like my home and I quickly came to love my new university routine.  

What would you say about the learning facilities in your School and at the University in general?

My experience of the learning facilities in the School of English has been nothing but positive. Both staff and students are extremely friendly and supportive and there is a great support network that connects everyone together.  Teachers and peers have provided me with invaluable feedback in my essay writing and exam techniques and it is incredible how much I have learnt since starting my course.

What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to your course?

To anyone thinking of applying to English Language and Literature I’d say pick modules that sound most exciting to you even if you know nothing about them. You will be surprised at how much is out there and how much more can be discovered! University is the time for you to choose what you want to do and there is no better feeling than walking into a lecture or seminar knowing that each one is going to be enjoyable, insightful and inspiring.

What do you plan to do now you’ve finished your course, and how do you think the skills and knowledge you’ve developed at Leeds will help with these plans?

Once I have finished my course, I intend to go into the Media, Publishing and Journalism sector. I am currently considering doing a Master’s degree as I would like to concentrate my studies more specifically to the application of language in the media and I am aware that Leeds offer an extensive range of courses in this field. My ultimate goal is to spend my life writing and it is undeniable that I have the School of English to thank for maintaining, encouraging and enhancing my writing style to what it is today.