Portrait of Nikita Clark

Nikita Clark

I’ve dreamt of going to university since a very young age and while I was never certain of what I wanted to go there for, I always seemed to gravitate towards language and I will still keep writing or talking until someone stops me. After studying English Language, Sociology and Psychology at A level, I became interested in the possibility of studying for a degree which incorporated all three.

After many years of a passion for English, I knew that I wanted to study language and I visited open days with that degree in mind. After looking into these courses, I was disappointed to find that these degrees were not an extension of my A level, but a completely different area of study. It was recommended to me when I visited Leeds that I should look into Linguistics instead and once I’d visited this department, I felt like I had found a course that had been created just for me.

I’m not sure that I can pinpoint what makes me passionate about Linguistics but for as long as I can remember, I’ve been boring people with “why language is amazing!” and “just think how powerful language is!” I’ve always been fascinated by the way language differs and what impact those differences have on society, life, individuals and their relationships; I think because of this, I became very interested in how languages are developed, processed, learned, produced and basically everything surrounding how and why we, as humans, have language. Linguistics allows me to explore all of these features (and discover new ones).

The course has definitely opened my eyes to new areas of study and even a new way of actually studying, as degrees require a different approach to researching and writing. I find the content of the course incredibly interesting, in particular Phonetics and the Sociolinguistics strand we have just started; I am very much looking forward to being able to choose more Sociolinguistic modules in my second year. I do find, however, that the course is very challenging and requires a lot of focus and hard work (I had fallen for the “first year is easy” line so this came as a bit of a shock). Still, if you are willing to put the work in and have a passion for the course, your results will be all the more rewarding!

I have found that the facilities in the department at Leeds are of an especially high quality. There are books on languages and topics I never knew existed, some of which you can access from the internet. Library opening times are very convenient, meaning that there is almost always somewhere quiet to study and practically constant access to research. If the library isn’t providing the necessary answers, the lecturers’ office hours mean that you can ask them direct questions and of course, there is always someone ready to help you via e-mail. This was all incredibly helpful and comforting when adjusting to a new style of education.

The vast array of societies at Leeds is astonishing and means that you’ll never be bored. From the course societies (like LingSoc which allow you to get to know people of a similar academic interest), to the hobbies and interests you might have never heard of, there’s always a way to make friends and keep yourself busy in between studying. Not only is there an incredible choice of societies, but the amazing gym facilities at the University are an excellent way to blow off steam after working hard. I’ve attempted a few classes like Spinning and Body Combat and they’re certainly worth a try.

Outside of University life I try to earn as much money through a part-time job as I can when I’m not studying (the university has some excellent links if you wish to do the same and Leeds itself is so big that there are always jobs suitable for students available). I’m also utilising the University’s links to industry for work experience to enhance my employability. When I’m not doing this, I like to relax and slow down as I work hard during term time. I love enjoying Leeds’ incredible nightlife with the new friends I’ve made in the city and the novel experience of living with these friends means that there’s always someone around to have a laugh with.

The beauty of this course is that it can open doors in so many different fields. I have course friends interested in Speech Therapy, some in Journalism and I intend to enter into Public Relations. Ideally I will gain some experience in the UK before starting a career in LA as a publicist; I’m aware of the competitive nature of this kind of work, however, so will be using the University’s connections to gain some work experience beforehand and give myself an edge!