Philosophy and History & Philosophy of Science
On graduating with a degree in philosophy and history & philosophy of science,
Lizzie went on to be elected as welfare officer in LUU during 2007/8. Her ability to challenge underlying assumptions, thanks to her course, has been a real help to Lizzie in her Exec role.
What is your current profession?
I am the Welfare Officer, at Leeds University Union on the Student Executive.
Describe your role
I work full-time as a student representative, representing students on a wide range of issues, most significantly student support and all aspects of student health and wellbeing, both to the University and to external organizations, such as the Primary Care Trust.
Describe your career progression.
Whilst studying and before being on the Student Exec, I was involved in many Union activities, including being on the committee of a number of societies and taking part in various democratic activities, such as referenda. This led me to get more interested in LUU as a whole, and as I knew a couple of people that were on the Student Exec last year, I asked them about it and decided that it was something that I was really keen to do.
Student welfare was something that I was particularly interested in, especially during my final year when things were a bit harder! So I decided to run for the position of Welfare Officer, and I was fortunate enough to win the election.
What did you do whilst studying that helped pave the way into your chosen career?
Before I came to University, I knew that I wanted to get involved in things outside of my course, and when I came to visit Leeds, there seemed to be loads to do and get involved with, particularly in the student union, so it all started with my choice of University really! In my first year, I was involved in People & Planet and Swing Dance society, and played Ultimate Frisbee, and then carried on doing lots of things whilst studying, including getting more involved in student politics and things going on in the student union, and it all went from there really.
What skills and attributes did you develop as part of your course?
Philosophy is really good for developing analytical skills, and structuring thought and writing, all of which are important in and outside of work. My written communication improved significantly during the course of my degree, as did my ability to present my thoughts and ideas clearly. As clichéd as it may sound, I feel that studying Philosophy and History & Philosophy of Science really helped me to think about things thoroughly, and to challenge the underlying assumptions that so many of us make in our everyday decisions and acceptance of things.
What skills and attributes did you develop from your co-curricular activities?
Loads! I was on the committee of the couple of societies which really helps with organisation and time management, as there is usually lots to do. And working with other people is great for team skills and gives you the chance to meet and work with a wide variety of people. It also helped me to develop a level of professionalism as often I had to liaise with external groups and organisations. Being involved in lots of things is really rewarding and great for self-confidence as you feel that you’re making the most of your time and doing things that you really want to be doing.
What advice would you have for students studying today?
Get involved, get involved, get involved!! I can’t emphasise how much it contributes to your university experience and personal development! Before you know it, you’re in your final year, with dissertations and final exams looming, and you’ll be kicking yourself for not making the most of all the great things that are going on at Leeds. Now that I’ve graduated and am applying for jobs, I’m looking back over the things I did when I was studying and not only am I relieved to be able to show I have some experience and strong skills, but I feel proud of the things I achieved and the activities that I was involved in.