Katherine Nichol

3rd year Sociology BA

Katherine NicholAs a mature student I was attracted to study sociology at the University of Birmingham by its great reputation, course content and campus. Birmingham is also a great place to live, with amazing food, music and opportunities which you can only get in a big city.

I hadn’t studied sociology at college, so was initially worried about lacking the theoretical knowledge needed to comprehend the material. However, I found the first year gave me a fantastic and thorough introduction to several key social and political theories and theorists, as well as equipping me with the study skills and research methods I have subsequently used throughout my degree. I particularly enjoy the small seminars as they are a great way of debating key ideas with my peers in a relaxed environment.

One of my favourite aspects of the university is the vast array of extracurricular activities available. Through my course I have taken the opportunity to be a Student Representative for my peers, secretary for the Sociology Student-Staff Committee, and a mentor for students at the Solihull college. I was also treasurer for the Vale Festival: the largest student-run charitable festival in the UK. These opportunities have allowed me to make a fantastic network of friends and peers and acquire more varied, valuable and rewarding experiences than I ever imagined.

The research skills I learnt on the course also gave me the confidence to successfully purse a role as a voluntary research assistant for The Future Melting Pot Social Enterprise. This organisation was working to develop a scheme to re-skill youth in Nottingham who were not in Education, Employment or Training. Being a part of that project was fascinating and stimulating, and definitely not something I would have felt able to do before coming to university.

Through my course I have grown passionate about public policy creation and evaluation. The university’s careers office helped me pursue a fantastic internship: shadowing the Director of Local Services at Birmingham City Council. This gave me amazing hands-on experience of the public sector, and helped me realise a lot about myself and what I want to do after University. The university even financially helped me to undertake my internship, awarding me the UK Professional Placement Bursary.

These opportunities have made me really grateful to be in an institution that understands its students needs and goes the extra mile to give me the support I need to explore my options for post-university work.

Course information: Sociology BA