Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

Ashley McAnearney

MA Social and Political Thought | 2017 - 2018

Photo of Ashley McAnearney

Please tell us a bit about yourself, where you are from, your background etc?

I’m originally from Sheffield, but I have lived in Leeds for the past four years now and have loved every second of the experience. I believe moving away from your home city is the best thing one can do when attending a university, it makes the experience so much better. I am 22 years old very active in sports and music and Leeds as a city is very accommodating with my hobbies be that going to open mic nights to play some music or going MMA training whatever your hobbies something will be very close by to the University as it’s a stone throw away from the city centre.

What made you want to apply to your course and to Leeds?

I was initially drawn in after looking at what the course had to offer and the modules I would be learning, but the fact I would be studying within the Bauman Institute was the icing on the cake for me. After reading about this amazing social thinking throughout my undergraduate to then been able to study at an institute dedicated to him was a deal maker.

What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?

What makes me passionate about studying my subject is that it makes you see the world around you in a totally unique way. Aspects of society that you see day in day out that you may have previously just viewed as normal become living evidence and examples to help you understand critical theory or different forms of sociological thinking. My keen interest is based on the class difference within society and throughout my course it has equipped me with the tools to help me answer the questions I previously did not even know existed.

What do you think of your course so far – what aspects of the course have you enjoyed the most or are looking forward to the most?

The best part about my course and the most enjoyable aspect for me so far is the group discussions. How an entire class can take part in a healthy academic debate and teach the rest of the class their way of seeing a certain theory is really engaging. Not only are you taking all the information in but in having to explain your point of view and your stance to others makes it further solidify your understanding by having to explain it to others. Within the entire group discussion the lecturer within the class will encourage your own way of thinking and challenge it with their own to allow expansion and a wider range of knowledge.  

What would you say about the learning facilities in the School and at the University in general?

Really good, I still consider myself rather new to the University as I studied elsewhere for my undergraduate degree. However, the facilities I use have become like a second home to me in a sort of way, after discovering the post-grad room it has become my go to place for work and rest - I can crack on with some writing at the tables and move to the relaxing chairs for a really nice space to just sit back and read.

How do you find the student support in the School?

The student support is honestly outstanding. throughout my undergraduate degree at a different university I never got above a 64 in an essay, that was my highest ever essay mark. The first essay I submitted for my master’s degree here at Leeds received a 73. I personally think it was the support from lecturers and staff to help me achieve something I was never able to do previously, the open-door policy that lecturers have which makes you able to see them is truly something not to take for granted and to get the most out of.

What other activities are available for students to take part in outside of their studies, and which ones have you tried out yourself? (e.g. Clubs & Societies/activities in the School).

There is so many societies the University has to offer. Personally I have tried Leeds Brazilian ju-jitsu which was really amazing and I was really surprised how much they managed to fit into 2 hour lessons, however due to other commitments I had to stop. I have also been a part of Leeds University gymnastics society, this was a truly once in a life time opportunity for me to be able to try things I never even dreamed of and making some amazing friends along the way, being part of a society is a definite must throughout your time at university, even if it’s a sport you never think you would enjoy in a million years you might just end up loving it. 

What do you think about Leeds as a city?

I love Leeds as a city! There is so much variety here - it caters for so many different types of people. If you want a chilled afternoon at the outdoor skatepark you can do or you are 10 minutes’ walk from the city where you can go shopping or go the other direction you are close to bowling, cinemas everything is so close, and with such a range of things to do I really enjoy living in Leeds. 

What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to your course?

Do it now, thank me later.

What do you plan to do once you’ve finished your course? What are you career aspirations? 

I really want to go into a teaching career, because I have such a big passion for the social sciences I would love to pass that passion on to other keen students wanting to learn.

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