Alumni Stories – Amelia Whittle

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 Amelia Whittle (Class of 2019).

During my time at Gloucestershire, I was extremely fortunate to be able to meet Peggy Vazoura from the careers team, and with her assistance, I was able to apply for a scholarship to study my master’s at the University of Birmingham in 2019-20.

My MA was in International Relations, and it is because of the valuable skills and knowledge I gained whilst a student at Gloucestershire, that I was able to succeed at my postgraduate studies and gain a Distinction overall. The skills I gained from my time at Gloucestershire include time management, source analysis and ability to research. I found myself at an advantage to many of my peers, who either did not have the transferable skills I had, or that they did not have the historical knowledge that I possessed. After all, how can you learn about a current affair or prominent terrorist group if you do not know the historical context and causation of an event?

Even with geopolitical events that I had not learnt from my studies whilst at Gloucestershire, I was able to use my contextual knowledge from what was happening elsewhere at the time in similar situations. For example, I did not have prior experience of the Arab-Israeli conflict, but I did have knowledge of how nations and empires are created (thanks to Vicky and David’s modules in second and third year!).

If it wasn’t for Vicky Randall pushing me in my dissertation topic – the role of women in the IRA during the Troubles – I would not have been able to expand upon this topic for my Master’s dissertation, nor would I have had the confidence to undertake such an idea.

Amelia presenting at Dissertation Day

My time at Gloucestershire has helped shape me into the person I am today. One, who at the time of writing, is back at University (this time a different establishment in the West Midlands), studying my PGCE PCET. Or, to those not used to the baffling acronyms used in education, is my teacher training for post-compulsory education. I am hoping to shape the minds of the future, as I am awaiting confirmation for a placement at a local Sixth-Form College teaching in the History department. I will also be helping vulnerable adults and hoping to reduce crime, as I will also be undertaking a placement in a local prison, teaching functional skills to individuals often overlooked and alienated by society.

Amelia with her graduating class of 2019.

It was my invaluable interactions with my peers and lecturers alike that has led me to the path I am currently on. If it wasn’t for the lecturers at Gloucestershire showing me how passionate and caring teachers can be, and for my peers for encouraging me to be my best, then I wouldn’t have the confidence to stand at the front and teach those either slightly younger than me, or a lot older in some instances!

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