Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

Alex Bowmer

BA Politics and Social Policy | 2013 - 2016

Photo of Alex Bowmer

What motivated you to apply to study your chosen course and why did you chose Leeds?

Being from London, I wanted to live in a city environment, so Leeds fitted the bill perfectly. In addition, the Social Policy aspect of my degree allowed me to look beyond simply studying political parties and systems and gave me the opportunity to delve into topics including crime and the role of the media in politics, which I greatly enjoyed.

How would you describe your experience at the University and what elements would you describe as the most enjoyable?

Overall it was enjoyable. There were certainly some very stressful points, particularly around exam season, but the variety of topics covered meant that the course continued to be interesting until the end. The most fulfilling aspect of my time at Leeds was working for The Gryphon, the University’s student newspaper. I worked on the sport section during my three years, reporting on university and professional sport, as well as conducting a couple of interviews. The time spent working for one of the country’s top student publications really boosted my confidence and made me seriously consider journalism as a career.

What did you think of your course? How has this helped in your chosen career?

The course covered a wide range of topics, which kept it interesting. The course helped me to develop perseverance and improved my ability to scrutinise texts, something I hope to take into sports journalism, which is the path I would like to go down.

How would you describe the help and guidance given by the staff within the School?

It was vital to have the one-to-one support from academics in the school, especially when I was writing my dissertation. Because you are seen on an individual basis, the help you receive is very specific and staff are always happy to make time in their schedule to sit down with you and resolve any issues you may have.

How would you describe the facilities at the University?

From what I experienced, very good. The University’s main sports facility on campus, The Edge, is state-of-the-art and has an extensive gym, as well as space for all indoor sports. The outdoor sports facility, situated in the suburb of Weetwood, is similarly impressive. The music and drama facilities are also first-class. Recently, the University installed Lecture Capture, a service that allows students to watch lectures back. In addition, the libraries are well-stocked and the Students’ Union has many shops, bars and services that can be utilised by students.

What would you say about Leeds as a city?

An excellent place to live. All interests are catered for. Despite being very lively with lots going on, the city is small enough that you can walk around without having to rely too much on public transport. Living in Leeds also gives you easy access to lots of amazing countryside and open space, so it is easy to move seamlessly between urban and rural environments.

Please tell us about your development since graduating from the university and how do you think your time at Leeds has helped with this?

Since graduating, I have undertaken one-week work experience stints on the sports desks at The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph and The Independent, before covering Fulham Football Club press conferences for GetWestLondon, a local media outlet covering west London news.

Please tell us about your current role/research. What are your plans for the future?

I am currently doing work experience at Squawka, writing news content and putting together quizzes for their website, as well as conducting research for some of their pieces. In September, I will start a multimedia sports journalism course at News Associates in Wimbledon, which will be completed in May 2018.

What would be your top tips in terms of careers advice for current students?

You can never ask too many questions. Think about what you’re interested in and find jobs and opportunities that incorporate these passions. Don’t feel that you have to have it all figured out. Getting work experience or an internship is a good first step to gaining an insight into a field of interest and if you apply yourself and remain helpful and inquisitive, the experience should be very beneficial.

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