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The University of Southampton
Economic, Social and Political SciencesUndergraduate study

Ed Pocock Bsc Politics

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Hi, I'm Ed Pocock and I studied Bsc Politics within Social Sciences: Politics & International Relations at the University of Southampton.

SUPA events offer a really good connection between students and the work place and on top of what the University already offers for careers support.

Q: Why did you choose to undertake your studies at the University of Southampton?

Above and beyond, when you are in lower 6th you think every uni must be the same, but it’s not the case and when you go and visit universities for the first time there’s a certain feel about each one and I think Southampton seemed very down to earth and that’s what I liked - it lacked the pretentious atmosphere that some of the other universities had. It’s got a beautiful campus and the fact that it is a campus university sits head and shoulders above some of the other universities which are maybe more city based. This helps Southampton give a better undergraduate experience. It’s got a very good reputation and I’m very glad I made the decision I did.

Q: What opportunities are there for extra-curricular activities?

Southampton has a wealth of opportunities when it comes to societies, it’s got everything you can think of; cake decorating, ice hockey or even make up your own sport and start a society you can do that too. I’ve done a lot of music and drama in the past which I wanted to continue and Southampton has a very good reputation for the arts, with the designated concert hall on campus (Turner Simms) and theatre is highly regarded. I think Southampton is unique in that respect that it has both those facilities on campus and it does make a big difference; the University also has a thriving music and theatrical scene and you don’t have to be doing music to get involved with it, which is brilliant for someone like me who is doing politics.

Q: How did you get involved with SUPA (Southampton University Politics Association)?
 
SUPA is the departmental Southampton University Politics Association and I think it’s rather aptly named as we are super at lots of different things. We attract some big figures, we’ve had Daniel Hannon and Nigel Farrage visit and we have regular visits from MPs and policy makers in addition to lobbyists and researchers. We get them down to talk about why they chose their career, what that entails and how students can go about getting involved with those things after they graduate and I think that’s a really good connection between students and the work place and on top of what the University already offers for careers support. I think Southampton and what SUPA do is above and beyond other universities. We’ve been working very closely with a political lobbying group, Bite Ballot. Their aim is to get young people more involved in politics and they’ve done a great job. They are currently doing a campaign whereby they are going into schools around the country to explain why people should be involved in politics. 18-25 year olds are one of the most underrepresented groups in the country. They are really making a difference with signing people up to the electoral register and have a new major partnership with Google. When they visited they provided training and SUPA will be going into schools over the next year to try and get people more involved.
It helps to give something back to the local community which as a student you may not be able to do.

Q: What activities do SUPA run?

It’s not just about careers, working as hard as we all do we need to unwind sometimes and we have social events and we had a brilliant Social Sciences and Humanities ball before Christmas, which was very plush; we had champagne and got dressed up. It was great fun and great to get people socialising outside of the classroom.

Q: How have you found the support from staff?

Lecturers are really helpful, they’ve always got an open door and if you drop them an email they’ll reply instantly or if you go and see them they will be very inviting and find out how they can help. A friendly and open department who are willing to share the stuff that they are doing is really rare and I’m lucky to be in a department which does that.

Q: What did you enjoy about the course?

One of the things that made Southampton enticing was the huge range of opportunities when it comes to module choice. There is now even more choice of modules available, so you can major in politics and minor in something else whether it be a language or whatever you want to do.

A lot of the universities they gave core modules, but not much flexibility whereas Southampton, the first semester was core modules and after that you really did get to choose what you wanted to do and I found it massively beneficial to me, for career purposes now I can go off and show that I have these modules that are relevant to the career path that I want to go into.

Q: What did you focus on for your dissertation?

It was important to me to choose a subject that I would maintain interest in and I went for Cyber Warfare, it’s a useful academic debate which I thought I can really bite my teeth into and I am looking at ways to foster cooperation in cyberspace to deter the threat of cyber warfare and we very lucky here, we have Darrell Howlett who’s an expert on cyber security and he’s helped a lot and it’s going brilliantly.

Q: What is the university's careers support like and how has this helped you for the future?

The University offers lots and lots of opportunities for second and third years to take placements which they otherwise wouldn’t be able to do through the Excel placement scheme and I went for a series of interviews for an internship with a company called Huawei a China’s biggest communications company. I was successful and will be spending two weeks in Bejing learning about Chinese culture, how China sees itself as a global player and three weeks in Shenzhen, north of Hong Kong, which is a bit of a Google village and it’s really at the forefront technological innovation.

Companies target university of Southampton and that’s another great reason for being here – the top 100 graduate employers target certain universities and Southampton is one of them, so it really opens up doors and especially with a degree like politics it’s very applicable to different fields of employment; I’ve also enhanced those opportunities and enhanced those doors.

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