Lauren Waddington is a first year BA (Hons) English Literature student who decided to move from another local university to study at LJMU. In this blog post, Lauren tells us why she made the decision and reflects on her studies so far. The blog was originally published here.

University can be an extremely challenging few years, especially when you consider the sheer amount of work each student is expected to do in both university hours and personal hours. However, choosing the right university helps a tremendous amount in ensuring that you get the most out of your degree. Having spent a year at another university in the North West that, I felt, didn’t pay much attention to the wellbeing or academic performance of the student, I left my first year feeling deflated and unmotivated in my chosen subject, English Literature, which was something that I had once adored. Changing to Liverpool John Moores University brought about an almost immediate shift in the way I felt about my degree and work ethic.

The modules themselves were something I immediately noticed; having been at a university that paid little attention to writers that were not dead white men, it was a breath of fresh air to see texts being studied that ranged from slave narratives like 12 Years a Slave to feminist texts like The House of Mirth. Whilst the classics are a part of the reading lists, the entire module doesn’t revolve around them; instead there is a broad spectrum of texts in terms of genre, race, gender, and time period. On the topic of diversity, I want to note that Liverpool John Moores is a university that recognises the history of the city and ensures that the students recognise it as well. I find it inspiring that the English Literature department has taken the time to address the issue of race in Liverpool through its texts, so that we are not only being taught how to critically read and discuss texts but also about a part of history that the world is keen to forget, so that we as a generation can progress further, better informed of our country’s past and able to learn from it.

The amount of care and support in the English Literature department at LJMU also struck me. When I received a note from my personal tutor within the first couple of weeks to discuss my time at LJMU and my feelings towards the modules, I knew then that the support and guidance here would surpass the reception I had received from tutors at my previous university, which was non-existent.

University can be stressful, but having people in the department who are not only available but willing to aid the students is a vital part of thriving in your chosen degree. As well as this, I noticed more than ever that I came away from seminars and lectures feeling well informed on the topic and that I had engaged with it; more importantly, I felt excited to learn more, which was something I felt I had lost at my previous university. Though my time at LJMU has been short, I feel as though I am much better supported in my studies and that my love for education has been restored.

I want to go back to @JMUEnglish and keep on reading fantastic books and learning and debating 🙁

(2014 Graduate via Twitter)

Reflections from former LJMU English and Media and Cultural Studies graduate Dawn Williams, Director of Smartspot:

The 3 years at LJMU gave me skills that proved to be the cornerstone of my success. It’s very hard to be in a meeting with recent graduates or your new bosses, who all have B. Comms or B.Sc’s in Business Studies and say ‘well actually I know how to think and take ideas apart and know what will appeal or why our consumer will respond’ – so I sat quietly and just applied what I knew, with remarkable results. My competitive edge in business has always been that I was an Arts graduate, rather than a Business Studies graduate.

I could go on a weekend course to perfect Excel or learn how to do SWOT analysis, but nobody in the workplace has 3 years to spare expanding their imagination or practising how to think. I have always been lucky enough to work with some of the brightest and quickest business minds; I am definitely not as fast as them to work out a margin or create a process map – but they have competition to be the fastest and somebody else can always do their role if they’re not around; nobody can do what I do … and if they do it’s usually wrong! Writing quickly and accurately, understanding how people interpret these communications, developing products, promotions, brands, advertising – being able to analyse their effect – these skills come from my time at JMU.

So a very belated ‘Thank You’ to all the team that taught me. You were all a huge inspiration to lifelong learning that gives me huge pleasure personally and crucially, you gave me the tools to be a success commercially.

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