Alumni Stories: Rebekah Dinwoodie

This series of posts looks at what our former students do after they graduate in History at the University of Gloucestershire. It demonstrates the various types of employment and further study they can go into. It provides useful guides for existing students, but also highlights the fascinating journeys of our graduates. The next story comes from Rebekah Dinwoodie (Class of 2019).

Like many students, when I entered my third year I was starting to be asked the dreaded question, ‘what will you do after univeristy?’ I honestly had no idea. I wanted to do a Masters because I had enjoyed the History course so much and wanted to carry on, but I still had no idea about a future career. So, I decided to put off that decision until after I had my Masters. It was a no brainer that I wanted to carry on with history, but where to go? I wanted a course that had a teaching element, like I had been used to with the undergraduate degree. So, it became a toss up between a course at Bristol or at Birmingham. Initially I went for Bristol, but due to their strict entrance requirements (I was two marks off in my dissertation!) I went for the distance learning course at University of Birmingham (which ended up being the best option for me).

Rebekah (left) with two fellow students at graduation for the ‘Class of 2019.’

Being at Birmingham felt completely different to what I expected. I knew that doing a Masters meant that I was expected to produce a higher standard of work, but I’d also found that by changing university there were different expectations and standards all round. The lecturers at Birmingham hadn’t seen how I’d progressed throughout my undergrad studies, and in turn I had no idea about what to expect from their styles of teaching. But somehow I managed to get through my first year.

It was quite a bumpy first year. First of all, there were the lecturers’ strikes, which affected the weekly lectures. Then, just as those strikes finished, the country went into full lock down because of Covid! However, as I am a distance learner, I’m fortunate that all of our course material was online, and I didn’t have to step foot into the University. This meant that over lockdown everything carried on as normal. The only difference was that deadlines were moved back, giving us more time to complete our work.

Now that I’m entering my second year, I have to start thinking about my dissertation. While the lecturers seem more relaxed and only want us to consider ideas for the time being, I’ve thought about what I want to do and have made an annotated bibliography of as many books on the topic as possible. I’m now very excited about my chosen topic: how Lady Jane Grey was not quite the push over that history makes her out to be.

A portrait of Lady Jane Grey, see

Also, as this is my final year, I’ve had to think again about my future and I’ve come to a realisation of what I want to do next. Teaching has always been something in the back of my mind, but over this last year it’s been something I’ve looked into more and more. From some self-evaluations and seeing where my strengths and weaknesses are, I’ve come to the decision to go into primary education. So, between working on lectures, I’ve now started to plan my application and I’m looking forward to the years ahead.

If you are an Alumni in History and you would like to contribute, please contact Christian O’Connell 

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