Isabel Edwards

Isabel Edwards

What made you want to apply to your course and to the University of Leeds?

The diversity of choice in terms of period, place and person – there is so much to choose from. You’re also given so many opportunities to pick options in terms of modules: I’ve been able to decide most of my modules throughout my three years here. The teaching staff that I met on visits were so enthusiastic about history. Overall, Leeds just seemed like the perfect place. The people of Leeds, the city and university were and are strikingly great. It also had the right mix of campus, city, facilities, nightlife activities and beautiful countryside, as well as all the exciting things to explore in a new city.

What do you like most about your course? 

The variety of modules is amazing, you explore such a wide range of historical periods. I also love getting to discuss ideas in seminars because the course can be so broad, I like it when ideas from different modules serendipitously link to each other. The teaching staff make the course really enjoyable; they are enthusiastic about their subjects and for students to learn. All my teachers have been great at engaging students in all class discussions whether it be on a historical topic, about the weather, or even Leeds United Football Club. We also have a large History society which makes meeting course mates a bit easier and is often a good introduction to university life in Leeds.

How have you found the learning facilities in your School and at the University in general?

We are blessed, as history students, to have access to so many libraries which are packed with books covering pretty much any historical niche you could think of. We also have the Special Collections archive in the Brotherton Library which is full of articles and little snippets of history from Yorkshire and beyond. These have been a godsend for dissertation students this year with the pandemic! There are lots of study spaces for you to work at that all courses can you, I especially like booking group study rooms for me and my friends to study in.

What other activities are available for students to take part in outside of their studies (e.g. societies), and which ones have you tried out yourself?

There are so many societies in Leeds for people to get involved with. History has its own History Society of which I’ve been a member since I came to Leeds. I’m now Sponsorship Secretary and it’s been so much fun getting to meet course mates through quizzes, coffees and the infamous ‘Otley Run’ pub crawl. Societies are great ways of meeting people, and participating on committees is a good little addition to a CV. I’ve also tried a tonne of other societies including: Women’s Rugby, Symphonic Choir, Volleyball and Tennis. If sport or music isn’t for you, there are masses of other societies about food and drink, nationality, or sewing, the list is huge. I have participated in some of the charity societies which are a nice way to feel more connected to Leeds outside the University. If there isn’t a society that you want to join you can always start your own!

How have you found the transition to online learning in more recent times? Has the School been supportive with this?

I think we’ve experienced the best online teaching possible in the circumstances. My teachers, more than ever, have been great at checking in on students both academically and personally making sure we all feel like we’re learning and feeling supported. In my seminars, reading and discussion can happen as they would have in person either with break-out rooms or class discussion. In terms of reading, teachers have made sure that weekly readings are available online and extra readings can be reached either through the new library requesting system or online.

What do you want to do after you finish your course and how do you think the skills and knowledge you’ve developed at Leeds will help with these plans?

I plan on undertaking a law conversion when I graduate in the summer, I’m going to do it in Leeds because I don’t want to leave just yet. Being in Leeds has given me a lot of confidence in my ability to look after myself and I’ve learnt a great deal academically. In terms of law, I’ve learnt a lot about structuring arguments and persuasion through history essays. Class discussions have also taught me to be open-minded and to think originally – something that would be useful in any field.

What would you say to those who have applied to your course and are awaiting exam results?

Good luck in your exams next summer! The hard work will be worth it in the end and hopefully we’ll see you in September.