Graduate stories: Emma Kent

What was your major and/or main academic interests at University of Birmingham?

Emma KentAlthough I majored in international relations, my program of study was incredibly varied. Alongside American politics and international security, I also took classes in music, English literature and history. During my year abroad in Sydney I branched out and took some particularly unusual classes such as Australian sports, game studies and piano performance. 

Which of your top skills did LANS help you to develop and how did it prepare you for the graduate job market?

Moving between subjects was quite challenging, as it required catching up on information I would have missed in the core modules for some subjects. I found that dealing with this helped prepare me for my job as a reporter, which requires being able to research unfamiliar topics quickly on a daily basis. The sheer breadth of my studies has also given me some unique perspectives to bring to my writing - such as analysing an in-game piano using music theory (while also playing and singing Christmas carols, of course). 

Reminiscing on the wider uni life, what’s one thing you loved about being a student in Birmingham?

Definitely all the clubs and societies! As part of the University Women’s Choir I performed Elgar at the Royal Albert Hall and went on tour to Switzerland, which was an incredible musical experience and a great chance to travel with friends. In my final year I also joined the university paper Redbrick as a gaming editor, during which I made some very close friendships, and gained essential experience for my career in games journalism. 

What are you doing in the present and which new career pathways have you found yourself taking since graduating?

After I graduated, I successfully applied for an internship with Eurogamer, which is one of the biggest video game websites in Europe. I was fortunate enough to be offered a job as a reporter following the internship, and I’m still working there two years on. 

Where do you see yourself in five years time? (specifically, in terms of your career goals)

It’s hard to say, but I hope to continue refining my skills as a journalist and perhaps progressing towards an editorial role. I’m currently really enjoying my work as a reporter - it’s challenging, gives me travel opportunities, and allows me to write about something I love. So, for now, I’m going to keep doing that!

What’s one piece of advice that you’d wish you’d known when you were a LANS student? /What one piece of advice would you give to our current students to prepare them for life after uni?

To say yes to as many opportunities as possible. My year abroad definitely made me a more confident person - flying to the other side of the world on my own was initially daunting, but was ultimately a wonderful way to discover new cultures and perspectives from other countries. I said yes to as many trips and activities as I could!

As part of this, don’t be afraid to try some brand-new subjects on your LANS course. You might find a new subject of interest, or new perspectives to bring to your major. And it’s also just quite fun. 

Thinking back on your degree, can you give an example of how your approaches to learning and career planning might have changed during and as a result of your LANS Experience?

Before coming to Birmingham I imagined myself majoring in American and Canadian studies, but LANS gave me the opportunity to experiment and discover subjects I would have otherwise missed. One of these was game studies, a class I happened to take on year abroad and thoroughly enjoyed. Following this, I focused my final year LANS dissertation on how video games can effectively analyse themes of war and violence. LANS allowed me to discover my enthusiasm for writing about video games, and then gave me opportunities to strengthen my CV for my internship application. In short, I would not be where I am now without my unique LANS course!