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EnglishPart of HumanitiesUndergraduate study

Thomas Wallace BA English, MA Creative Writing

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Hi, I'm Thomas Wallace and I studied BA English, MA Creative Writing within Humanities at the University of Southampton.

The English department are really friendly, helpful and passionate about their fields of interest. As a course rep last year I was a part of board of school meetings where it became clear how focused the staff are in constantly improving English and tackling problems that arise. You always feel that there is someone you can talk to if you have any questions, and tutors are always prompt in replying to emails!

 Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

I was born in High Wycombe and have lived in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, all my life. I have dual nationality and spend a lot of time in Switzerland.

What made you decide to study English at postgraduate level?

I enjoyed the BA so much: really diverse and interesting topics, periods and literatures were looked at, lots of freedom to choose things of individual interest, that it felt like a natural next step to pursue a masters.

Why did you choose to study at Southampton?

I feel really settled into Southampton's student life after 3 years here, and in that time I've got to know many of the department's tutors very well which helped my decision to stay in Southampton. The range of MA English courses is impressive, and the creative writing course is ideal.

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

I chose to do an MA in creative writing because I hope to find a career somewhere in this field. The BA offered many opportunities to have a go at creative writing, which I took and very much enjoyed, so now I can specialise in a degree that directly builds upon the skills I want to use after uni.

Do you get on well with the academic staff?

The English department are really friendly, helpful and passionate about their fields of interest. As a course rep last year I was a part of board of school meetings where it became clear how focused the staff are in constantly improving English and tackling problems that arise. You always feel that there is someone you can talk to if you have any questions, and tutors are always prompt in replying to emails!

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

I love Avenue Campus which is where Humanities subjects are based. It has a very relaxed feel which makes it a nice place to study...and to have a meal or a drink between seminars! Nothing is too far away to walk to from student accommodation areas, and the bus service is great if you need to use it. The city has a good night life too, whether you want to be lazy and stick to Portswood or go into Bedford place or into the city, there is something for every taste.

What has been your favourite moment so far?

It's hard to say, there are so many to choose from! I'd say that the most worthwhile thing I've done at university has been getting involved in the students' union. The English Society is a really vibrant and active society, and I was incredibly proud to be a part of the committee in my third year as an undergraduate and our win at the EVA awards (Southampton University's annual awards ceremony) was a massive highlight. I'm excited to be a part of the committee again as a post-grad and also as the academic president of English this year I hope for many more great moments to come.

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

I want to go into something related to my degree, but I'm not entirely sure which direction yet. I've always been interested in the film industry and have worked as a runner on some film sets and at Pinewood Studios so that is one avenue I'm considering.

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

Southampton has the nicest campus of any university I've seen; the staff are really friendly and passionate; the courses are varied, interesting and well taught; the city has a great night life and has a lot to offer outside of study. My only advice would be to get involved in the student's union! It's easy to put your head down and work and not do much else, but Southampton has a fantastic student's union that offers so much opportunity. It's worth considering that activities with the SU will look great on a CV, but more importantly, being involved in the SU is something really unique and gives you a chance to make a difference, so I'd urge new students to get involved!

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