Portrait of Eleanor corkery

Eleanor Corkery

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

I grew up in Uxbridge in North-West London and went to St. Bernard’s Grammar School in Slough. I have two younger sisters, and am very close with all my family. I enjoy travelling and going on holiday, as well as getting involved with sports such as netball, running and dancing. I was heavily involved in the Irish Dancing Society at Leeds, undertaking the role of social sec in my final year. 

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

I studied classical civilisation at A-Level and really enjoyed it; I had considered taking law at university, but I wanted to keep my options open and knew I could always do a conversion course if I still felt the same way in a few years’ time! I visited a few different universities before applying and definitely got the best vibe from Leeds – it was a no brainer really! Also, my auntie studied medicine here 18 years earlier, so I knew it was a great place to study and live already. 

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

I found classics really interesting at school, and enjoyed learning more about it at university, but my passion definitely developed whilst studying classics in Verona during my year abroad. I just felt like something finally clicked and I couldn’t learn enough about the classical world!

What aspects of the course did you enjoy the most?

My favourite modules were Plato on Love and Roman Comedy, the former because it was quite philosophical and so in-depth, and the latter because it was light-hearted and overall enjoyable. 

What would you say about Leeds as a city?

Leeds is one of my favourite places on Earth – I think it’s an incredible city and an amazing place to live, especially as a student. There are a huge variety of shops and restaurants, and plenty to do, whether you like going to the cinema, bowling, working-out, or even going for a walk on Ilkley Moor! And everyone knows the nightlife is simply unbeatable…! 

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

The libraries are all lovely and very modern, with Brotherton still maintaining it’s classic style. Plenty of books are available when you need them and there is always a space in the computer clusters. Lecture rooms are good and clean; good working spaces. 

What was your experience with the FYP (Final Year Project)? What did you do your project on and what skills did you gain during the process?

My dissertation was on the significance of prophecy in Sophocles’ Theban plays. I knew I wanted to do my FYP on mythology, and probably plays, because that is my favourite part of classical literature, and my dissertation supervisor helped me to narrow down the focus by asking me questions that allowed me to realise where my interests lay. 

Did you spend any time abroad and if so how was your experience?

I did an optional year abroad in Italy, where I studied at Verona University. It was an amazing experience and I feel extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to do a year abroad thanks to Leeds. I made so many new friends from different nationalities and consequently had the chance to travel to lots of different countries within Europe throughout the year. I am so glad that I had to learn Italian in order to go to Verona, as I now have a new skill and also developed a love for languages, inspiring me to take up beginners’ Spanish as a discovery module in final year. Most importantly, it was during my year abroad in Verona that I formed a true passion for my degree, and felt a really strong desire to learn as much as I could about Classical Civilisation! If there’s one piece of advice I can offer to somebody starting their university experience, it’s to definitely make sure you do a year abroad!

Did you undertake any work experience or worked in a job related to your degree during your time at university? If so how did the skills gained as Leeds help you?

I did a PR internship during the summer before my final year, and on my last day the boss admitted that he offered me the position solely based on the fact I had done my year abroad in Italy. He said, “I love Italy, we just had to have you!” Although it’s highly unlikely that this will always be the case when searching for a job, I definitely believe that having an international year on your CV turns employers’ heads and puts you one step above the rest. 

What are your career plans after finishing the course?

After moving out of Leeds, I did a few weeks’ work experience at 3 companies in the PR, Advertising and Marketing sectors, all of which went really well. I am now essentially taking a year out before looking for a career, but will start a 3 month paid internship in September before moving to Australia for 4 months in January and working somewhere part-time whilst out there. I look forward to seeing what the future holds and am very excited to step into the big wide world!