Portrait of Jessica marie bull

Jessica Marie Bull

I was born and raised in Birmingham, England. I went to high school at a small girls’ grammar which had a focus on modern languages, this fuelled my linguistic passion. As was typical of their generation, neither of my parents went to university but have both entered professional careers. For me, it was clear that to reach the success they achieved university would be right for me.

I was impressed by the reputation of Leeds and loved the inner city location and active Student Union. Even when the northern heavens opened on my open day visit I thought the place looked perfect! Of course the degree programme was integral to my choice; the course included modules focused on all my main academic interests and offered me the opportunity to choose which of these I wanted to study after my first year.

I was a big reader when I was younger and have always adored language. As I got older I became fascinated by the way different types of language are utilised in varied contexts and communities. Alongside my studies of other languages I began to realise that my interests were best summarised by the study of Linguistics. I get excited reading about the ways in which these varieties of language are tied to people’s identities and societies as well as feelings of loyalty and belonging to speech communities. This strong social meaning means that language change and learning are often controversial topics and can create a lot of fascinating data.

I have also found the degree to be most fulfilling because I was able to study Discovery Modules from outside my subject area. Over the last two years I have done several Sociology and one German module. These have strengthened my interdisciplinary analyses of language greatly. We also have a fantastic phonetics lab and the availability of a recording studio means that we are able to carry out research based projects independently long before dissertations are even considered.

Our University is alive with societies, sports and activities for students. I have been involved with welfare societies in the union and student media. I have also had the opportunity to complete an Undergraduate Research and Leadership Scholarship for the Arts Faculty. This has been a rewarding and challenging task, spanning two years and incorporating training, research and representing my department.

I adore the city of Leeds. I have always been drawn to big cities and for me Leeds is exactly the right size. It is bustling and exciting and yet within months I knew the layout well and I feel totally at home here now. The opportunities afforded to students are wonderful here, there are businesses and organisations throughout the city with which the university work, such as those my scholarship programme have included. The city also gives many opportunities for students to get part time jobs or become a part of thriving social and cultural scenes.

When I finish my course I am hoping to continue onto do my masters in sociolinguistics. I love the topic and I'm eager to narrow my learning to my area of interest. After this I am not sure, although I am really interested in the fields of academic research, editing or social justice.