Jack Pink BA Archaeology, 2014
Maritime Archaeology MA Student
I really enjoyed being able to pursue almost any aspect of Archaeology I chose.
What made you choose Southampton?
On my first visit to the Open Day I felt the department was really welcoming. The Archaeology Department has an excellent reputation. I was just able to see myself at Southampton and it felt like a better fit than any of the other places I had looked at.
How did Southampton help you settle in once you started?
The Archaeology Department ran an induction day that was really useful and a field trip that helped me get to know staff and other students. My tutor was also an excellent point of contact and throughout my time here has been amazingly helpful!
What were your Southampton ‘highlights’ whilst you were studying here?
The fieldwork options were a definite highlight. I also really enjoyed the community at Southampton and studying on Avenue Campus was easy and comfortable. I also liked being taught by the people who wrote the books and articles I was reading.
What did you enjoy most about your course?
The department members were fantastic and really friendly. I enjoyed taking part in the fieldwork and being able to have conversations about archaeology with staff members. I just really enjoyed being able to pursue almost any aspect of Archaeology I chose.
What opportunities did you take up (within your degree programme and extra-curricular)? In what ways did they help your personal development?
I took up as many fieldwork options as I could. These were mostly offered as part of taught modules. These helped provide me with important experience for work after university. They also provided me with a set of useful skills, particularly computer based.
I also did work experience with two commercial companies during my university holidays. This was a mixture of fieldwork and desk-based research. Both of these provided me with an understanding of archaeology outside of an academic environment which is very different.
Did any exposure to employer involvement or research led learning during your course help you achieve your ambition? If so, how?
My ambition is to one day do a PhD and I felt that the academic environment at Southampton helped me clarify this ambition.
What networking, employment and work experience opportunities did you undertake and did they enhance your Southampton experience?
Fieldwork and guest-speaker seminars allowed me to meet people from outside the University. These greatly enhanced my experience here.
What is Southampton like as a place to study?
The University is excellent; there are loads of facilities and places to go when you need a place to work, either with friends or on your own.
What have been the highlights of your career to date?
There have been many: working on geophysical projects for the British Academy in Spain; producing an undergraduate dissertation and receiving a first class degree; being accepted onto Cambridge’s MPhil program (even though I chose Southampton because it’s just better!).
What advice would you give to a student starting their degree at Southampton?
Take as many opportunities as you can. If you are ever offered a fieldwork/project by a member of the faculty you need to jump on it.
Use your first year to adjust to the way assignments and lectures are done; don’t skip too many just because you might think “it doesn’t count”. Your first year is really helpful in providing background knowledge and skills for later years.
If you had your time at University again is there anything you’d do differently?
I would ask more questions about projects. There was the possibility of participating on a project in my first year, but I forgot to pursue the emails – I would like to go back and redo that!
What tips would you give to current students looking to start a career in your sector? What could they be doing now to make themselves more employable when they graduate?
One thing I have found that goes down well with commercial sector employers is being able to demonstrate capability with computer programs, so I would recommend taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the archaeological computing department.
For the maritime sector, my advice would be to make sure you have a decent diving qualification (normally one that is HSE recognised) and focus on getting a good grade at the end of your degree.
I would also recommend learning as much geophysics as possible. It seems to be really good to specialise in a subject and geophysicists are quite employable. The geophysics and survey modules also have some Desk Based Assessment (DBA) assignments and teaching. Being able to show you have an understanding of DBAs and site research like this is really good because that’s quite a common role in the commercial sector.
Send lots of e-mails whilst you are at the University to potential employers. Even if they don’t have jobs it shows you are interested and if you attach a CV and cover letter sometimes they can even contact you at a later date!
Do as much work experience and fieldwork in university holidays as you can. I find that being able to demonstrate I have had a role on multiple projects really helps to get employers interested.