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The University of Southampton
English Part of Humanities

Siobhan O'Reilly BA English

Siobhan O'Reilly's Photo

Hi, I'm Siobhan O'Reilly and I studied BA English within Humanities at the University of Southampton.

I love the campus buzz. Even if my lecture is off in a corner I try and go via the main concourse by the Students Union because there’s always something weird and wonderful going on there.

Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

I was born in Yorkshire, but I’d say my hometown was Buckingham, near Milton Keynes. I still haven’t ‘grown up’.

What made you decide to study English?

I guess I always knew I’d do English at uni. It’s the one subject I knew I’d always be passionate about.

Tell us more about the areas of English that you are now specialising in.

Without meaning to I’ve ended up doing a lot of Medieval modules this year and, despite my pre-uni preconception that I’d hate Medieval English, I’ve actually found it one of the most fascinating periods. However, I don’t want to specialise yet. I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface and there’s so much I still haven’t tried.

Are you enjoying your studies? What do you like most about your degree programme?

The variety. English is such a broad subject, you can find yourself discussing Freud, Wind in the Willows, the French Revolution and Alfred Hitchcock in the same week.

Do you get on well with the academic staff?

Most of my tutors have been brilliant. I’ve found that if you’re willing to learn then they are more than willing to go that extra mile to help you.

What’s the best thing about living and studying in Southampton?

I love the campus buzz. Even if my lecture is off in a corner I try and go via the main concourse by the Students Union because there’s always something weird and wonderful going on there. The shopping’s pretty good too.

What has been your favourite moment so far?

That’s a toughie. There’s been some amazing nights out but I think I’m going to have to say one particular night in with my second year housemates. We’d bought one of them Articulate for her birthday and what started as a quick couple of rounds ended up in a full scale battle going on until four in the morning and I don’t think I’ve ever cried with laughter so much. Fresher’s is awesome but you really do find out who your golden friends are in second year.

How were the first few weeks at Uni? Was it easy to settle into your studies, make friends etc?

I actually found it was incredibly easy. I’d taken a gap year so I was sooo ready to start uni having had that extra year at home with the parents, aching for freedom. Also, I was in a huge shared kitchen flat of 22 in halls so odds were there’d be at least one person I got on with.

Are you involved in any clubs, societies etc?

I started a new martial art, Taekwondo, in first year. I was then their social sec last year crawling them all round Portswood. I’m slightly panicking now that I haven’t tried enough clubs and I’ve only got one year left so I’m also planning on joining the Creative Writing society, Jazz dancing and Adhere (Advertising Society) next year, and maybe a choir too... I’ll see what I can fit in.

What are you planning to do after graduating? What steps have you taken towards achieving this?

Move to London / America / somewhere exotic and get a high flying marketing job in an exciting leisure / travel / retail company – or the closest I can get to that anyway. I’ve been working as a Marketing Assistant over the summer and doing some event volunteering with the BBC to try and beef up my CV with some good experience.

Do you have any advice for people considering studying English at Southampton?

Read as much of the reading list as you can over the summer – or at least the really chunky ones. You have no idea how much valuable drinking time those beasts take up in first year.

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