This English Student Will not be Unemployed!

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I’m currently doing this internship, setting up an event called a ‘Student Engagement Showcase’ at the University of Leeds. It’s so corporate sounding that you wouldn’t believe me if I told you how much fun it’s been. This year I’ve been blessed with some great opportunities. Though I feel the word ‘blessed’ puts it down to luck, and I don’t want to do my own abilities injustice. Along a similar ‘boring-sounding-but-fun’ theme, in the summer I had a placement with the Department of Health, Safety and Wellbeing. Eughhh. Well my job was to create interactive training programmes for the department, particularly promoting lab safety. Still kind of eughh. Well I spent my days filming with a head cam, and editing fun dubstep remixes into my film to jazz the whole thing up. I learned so much, and I earned some good cash. Sorry, I’ll quit bragging now!

As an arts student, studying English Language, I am faced with the stigma of unemployment. Engineering students across campus seem to find great humour in my course. Others assume ‘you’ll be a teacher right?’. Nope, not even a little bit. Snotty teenagers, being undervalued, overworked and facing increasing bureaucracy- No thanks! But the unemployment thing is a worry. There is no straight forward career path with my course, but that actually excites me! I don’t know exactly what I’ll do when I finish, which clearly means that I’m a crazy thrill seeker who can’t be tamed. I’m learning more from my work experiences every day and all I can do is try my best and hope I seem more awesome than the others applying for the same things.

My current work, setting up the ‘Student Engagement Showcase’, could be another stepping stone towards going into the events industry. So far I’ve been setting up music events such as open mic nights and charity busking competitions (shameless promotion here, check it out:, but this is the first time I’ll be involved in setting up a larger, more ‘official’ event. We’re faced with the challenge of making something that sounds a little dry appeal to students, be useful and engaging enough to drag them out of their post-clubbing hangovers, but also remain corporate sounding enough to appeal to faculty. Phew, we’ve got plenty of work to do. The message is ‘come and have fun, learn things in a comfortable setting lead by other students, find out what opportunities there are, network, engage’. I set up this blog as a way of not only promoting the event, but encouraging students to communicate with one another about ways that they can ‘engage’. There it is again, that word so full of jargon, but once you get your head around it becomes pretty important.

Check out our engagement event:

And check out my personal blog if you like, as it’s a more thorough account of what I get up to. There’s lots of reviews of festivals I’ve been to, my attempt to understand political things, and my Netflix habits.

And let this be a post of comfort for all the art students out there. Don’t feel defeated just because people think Theatre Studies is just ‘acting’ or Media is a ‘wishy-washy’ degree. By engaging with opportunities around our course we’ll be more rounded and so capable!

(Beware, more horrifically cheesy motivational quotes to follow)




Student Engagement Showcase

Engage, Exchange, Inspire
Monday 24 November | Centenary Gallery, Parkinson Building
3 – 6pm

We invite you to attend a unique and exciting event at the University of Leeds.

This pilot event, organised by student interns, will celebrate the many ways in which students engage with University Life.

Working in partnership with academics to improve the student academic experience;  developing their own volunteering projects funded through the Leeds for Life Foundation;  running their own research conferences; not forgetting the wonderful variety of student societies, students across Leeds are engaging in so many different and exciting ways.

We want to not only celebrate and promote the achievements of students, but inspire others, both students and academics. With so many opportunities on offer, it can be overwhelming for students to know where to start.

This showcase event will be a mixture of short, fun and informative presentations from current students, and interactive workshops for all.

We want to represent the imagination and initiative of students, so do come along and celebrate with us.

The event is free to attend, tickets are available from:

Email us at  and follow our social media forums for more information.


My Time At Leeds – Eleanor Gribbin

pigs pigs I am just starting my second year of Theatre and Performance at Leeds, so my time so far has been quite short.. One of the things that I’ve loved the most about being in Leeds is that you can pack in about 2/3 years’ worth of “stuff” into one. Three years at university is a short time in the long run, but luckily the sheer volume of activities you can do alongside your degree at Leeds makes it easy to cram it in! As an arts student, the amount of cultural activity going on in Leeds is a gold mine for anyone looking for extra things to fit in whilst (or instead of) studying.

Last year I took on two Student Ambassador roles at The Royal Opera House and Opera North which taught me a lot about the relationship between my degree and the “real world”. Plus, I got to see a tonne of ballet and opera which I LOVE so it made me a very happy bunny. Continuing on from these, I also managed to secure an internship at Opera North (organised through the Careers Centre – who were super helpful) which was amazing! Again, leading on from there.. I received an email to my university account about an internship with Phoenix Dance Theatre, which are a dance company I’ve admired for a long time before moving to Leeds. I managed to get the job and got to work on the Ghost Peloton event, which celebrated the Grand Départ of the Tour de France. Before I came here, I had no idea just how many opportunities would get emailed to us every week/day! I’ve recently become an Undergraduate Research and Leadership scholar, which means even more busy (but fun) time this academic year.

However, last year wasn’t all work experience-y CV-filler stuff. I worked as an arts volunteers at Beacons Festival (9/10: would recommend) which meant I got to see Paul Woolford, Erol Alkan, Action Bronson and Daniel Avery (and more people) for free.. and headed to Glastonbury, Secret Garden Party, Bestival and Field Day. I tried to keep my ballerina dream alive by joining the ballet and modern dance societies and enjoyed taking classes at the union. I sold tickets for an events company (which meant having to get a separate phone at one point), judged The Great Big Dance Off regional heats at Leeds Town Hall, and headed down to London to do a week of workshops with Punchdrunk theatre company (again, 9.999/10: would recommend).

There is literally too much to do in Leeds to NOT get involved with something. If anyone has any questions about art-y type engagement activities I would be happy to answer! And I’ve put some links below of some places that post cool stuff to do.

Eleanor (@ROHuniofleeds)

Volunteering Hub/Arts Employability twitter page/Careers Centre/Ideas Tap/Arts Council England – jobs/West Yorkshire Theatre Network//Faculty Of Arts twitter page/Festaff/Leeds University Union – Give It A Go.

My time at Leeds – What have I done?


I’m getting to the stage in my life where events that happened 3 years ago are ridiculously blurry.

I’m Cait and I’m a fourth year Biological Sciences with Year in Industry (what a mouthful…) student. This will be my final year at Leeds.

Knowing that I would never ever want to become a “scientist”, at least in the traditional sense, I have spent my time at Leeds exploring what else there is to do.

In first year I got rejected from Dance Band, and so set up another jazz band full of other rejects. That was a pain in the arse. I also had an interview for MusicRoom where they basically used me for free labour for the day. By Christmas, I wanted to think about summer (..travelling), but also do it on the cheap. I worked after my exams for a week at Bramham Horse Trials, helping with catering, and with £300 in my pocket set off for a couple of weeks in Portugal. This was followed by Norway later in August. Throughout the year I also tutored an A Level student in Biology, got an internship with the uni (more on that in a min) and was a leafletter… Sorry ‘bout that. I think this year was also my “maybe I want to be a scientific journalist” year and I spent it trying and failing to write articles. I’m pretty bad at explaining soooo.

In second year I began my year by finding out that there’s another jazz band in Leeds that you don’t have to audition for! WINNING!!! Jazz and Blues Soc have a band, ladies and gents. Anyway, joined that and FoBSoc again for the infamous Garstang socials. The internship continued – I did some market research on personal tutoring for my faculty and this is basically what got me a placement year job. In September I volunteered for Leeds International Piano Competition – long days for free but also, lots of classical music and free dinners. I got majorly into swimming and went like, 5 times a week and also did Park Run every Saturday morning – it’s in Hyde Park park on Saturdays, 9 am.

Third year was my placement – I worked in Marketing at IBM. Now you might ask, how did this happen? Science? Marketing?? Well, let me tell you. It was a fluke. I slipped through their application net appaz. But no, basically, people trained in marketing really struggle with numbers and I am not a maths genius, but I can work excel and add up stuff so I got hired. This year also led me to start learning Mandarin, travelling alone for the first time (Iceland) and also meeting my boyf (we went to Copenhagen), start training for a half-marathon, breaking my phone screen twice and culminated in a work trip to WIMBLEDON. I had to “learn tennis” for the occasion.

But seriously, if you have questions about working in marketing or working in IBM then definitely question away.

And now we’re in final year! I extended my contract working as a placement student into August and then worked as a Marketing Consultant for a local engineering firm for August. Then I went to Canada for two weeks (first time Trans-Atlantic… not all of us are rich) and now I’m back, helping out organising this event!

Erm so if you have any questions about my time at Leeds, gimme a shout.


What’s this all about?

Dear Students of Leeds University.

May I present to you this blog, as a way to share your experiences and engage with other students.

I was lying in bed restlessly one night thinking, why, oh why, are there not more opportunities to write about my experience of university life on a public forum and get feedback from other students in the same position. This terrible sense of injustice was resolved when I awoke, light bulb above my head (I forgot to switch the light off before bed). I will create a blog!

There are only two times in my life that I have felt a genuine connection to the famous Newton- Apple moment. Once when I was 15 years old and had an overdue realisation that raisins actually come from grapes. The second eureka moment was this.

I spent 5 minutes ruthlessly choosing a suitable URL and colour scheme- which will inevitably be changed due to University of Leeds design restrictions guidelines. My masterpiece is complete, but subject to change.

So here goes.

Many of my friends complain that there are very limited opportunities to get involved with things at their uni’s. I find the opposite issue at Leeds, in that there are so many things to do that it’s nearly impossible to discover it all. God forbid you allow 3 years to go by without learning how to meditate. Unless you scour every inch of the union website ( or read every single email thoroughly, you may never find that one thing that you end up loving.

So I bring you this forum. I will be posting about my own experiences of engaging at the university, from society memberships to work experience. And I hope you will join in too. Use this as a casual opportunity to share ideas with one another, and see what’s going on.

Yours, Nicola.