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The University of Southampton
ArchaeologyPart of HumanitiesUndergraduate study

Joseph Lee BA Archaeology and History

Joseph Lee's Photo

Hi, I'm Joseph Lee and I studied BA Archaeology and History within Humanities at the University of Southampton.

I instantly became fond of Southampton because of the combination of professionalism and friendliness in the staff.

I grew up in the town where I was born in the West Country, surrounded by constant countryside, but still in a relatively industrial area. I loved my home, with my local rugby club just down the road inspiring my decision to take up the sport on a regular basis.

My GCSE history teacher was really enthusiastic and encouraged me to do something I enjoyed and I started to think about what I enjoyed, rather than what I was good at, which at the time was maths, and found I was enthusiastic about history, and have been ever since then.

Choosing Southampton

I went on multiple open days to universities, literally all over the country, but felt that Southampton was the most in line with my personality, abilities and I just really enjoyed my short time here. Even with the pressure of an interview, I was able to relax here and be myself, talking to new people and just relishing my time here. I instantly became fond of Southampton because of the combination of professionalism and friendliness in the staff.

I study combined honours History and Archaeology. I chose this as I’d been interested in, and enjoyed, studying history for a few years by then but thought that pure history wasn’t for me. Although I do enjoy reading and analysing, I’m a fairly active person and saw archaeology as an opening into a different world of learning that included some practical skills which I could gain from.

Settling in

A culture shock would be an understatement in describing my first few hours, however after a short time, speaking to my new flatmates, who I knew I was going to be living with for a majority of the next year, I relaxed slightly and was able to go out and enjoy myself, meeting a lot of new people. I think I came with the right state of mind; that everybody here was in the same boat and was just as nervous as me. I think being catered for helped with the settling in process, as I was constantly around the same people, and got to know everybody really quickly. Although there was a place for me to get away (my room), I was always with people.

When it came to studies, obviously nothing happens in the first week in that respect, but settling down to study didn’t take long as I knew why I was here and what I had to do. Although it came as a bit of a shock to some of my friends, getting down to do work was relatively easy, especially having only been out of school for one summer. I must admit, coming straight out of school to a brand new city, a relatively far distance from home, knowing literally not one person was daunting and a huge jump out of my comfort zone, but the whole process has helped me grow as a person and realise what I can do for myself. The second-years who organised our first two weeks of socials were invaluable in rallying the troops and making sure everybody had a good time, which helped in meeting new people and making new friends.

Humanities are an extremely exciting and complex area of study and I’m glad I chose it. The depth of information, level of argument and constant realisation that it is your opinion, judgement and interpretation that counts, and that the right answer does not necessarily exist, is great and very interesting.

Getting involved

I play for a couple of intra-mural sports teams, but saw the intensity of the full university teams as too much for me to deal with in my first year when taking in new surroundings, lifestyle and level of work. The intra-mural sports are a great way to meet new people with a shared interest, from different years and different courses. I intend to get involved more in the life of the university next year, now I know what I’m in for and capable of, by joining the rugby team and assisting my halls of residence JCR in next year’s Freshers.

As I’m studying archaeology, summer placements are compulsory in my summers between years anyway, and I was always interested in getting out there, seeing archaeology in practice and gaining my own experience and testing myself. However, I’m not concentrating on careers events until I am in a place to relax and consider my future after university, which I have no doubt will be next year considering how well I have settled down to life here. I have applied for a curator placement which could possibly happen after university. The only reason I found out about this amazing opportunity was through the university and its connections to outside professionals.

Future plans

I aim to start a career for myself, after my personal development here in Southampton. I see change as a good thing and as a way to challenge and improve myself, so putting myself out into the world can only help me grow as a person and I aim to push myself upwards in whatever profession I go into. I’ve already applied for an opportunity to curate museums over an 18 month period once I’ve finished University for experience and as a possible career destination. However I do see myself going into teaching, as I would love to share my enthusiasm with the future about the past as my history teacher did for me.

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