Speaker Profile: Jess M.

1

Name: Jessica Murray
Course (and Year): Third Year English Literature
Presentation Topic: The Gryphon student newspaper

Tell us a little bit more about your presentation.
My presentation will take you through my experience in journalism to date, especially focusing on The Gryphon student newspaper and how this has opened so many doors of opportunity for expanding my skills, building contacts, increasing my employability and ultimately helping on my way to secure my dream job.

Why did you choose to take part in this project / take on this role?
Being a reporter or editor for The Gryphon is such an amazing experience, available to everyone, but so many people are wary about getting involved. We welcome all writers, whether you’ve journalism experience or not, and I really want to pass on my own experiences to encourage others to have a go at writing.

What has been the best part of your student engagement experience so far?
I really enjoyed the training session with Ivor. When I first walked in and was asked to prepare a one minute presentation about a random photograph, I totally freaked out but through the information we learnt at the session, I was able to present with confidence, and I was really proud of what I’d achieved by the end.

What would you say is the most important thing you have learned?
How to make a presentation connect with the audience. I’ve done a few presentations before, but I always worry that I’m boring my audience or that I’m not getting through to them. The student engagement showcase has taught me how make presentations that are fun but also get their messages across effectively.

How have co-/extra-curricular opportunities enriched and broadened your degree?
I absolutely love my degree, but it does involve spending a lot of time alone in the library, reading and writing essays. Working as a writer and then editor for The Gryphon has improved my writing and editing skills (A bonus for my degree) but has also taught me how to work as part of team, to delegate roles and help others. It has taught me how to create something collectively and not just by myself, which I think is a valuable skill for life.

How has getting involved in co-/extra-curricular activities at university helped you with future career goals?
There’s a stigma around Arts degrees that they’ll get you nowhere in life, and while I think my degree gives me so much that will prepare me for my future career, it’s important to keep your career path in mind and actively prepare for it. My work at The Gryphon has helped me develop the skills needed for a career in journalism alongside my course, and has led to work experience placements at The Observer and Kerrang! Magazine, through which I made valuable connections and learnt so much that will hopefully help me to get a job when I graduate.

Why is the University of Leeds such a good choice for student engagement?
I think Leeds is a really good university for student engagement, apart from the hundreds of societies, most schools and departments provide plenty of ways for students to become more involved in university life. The Give It A Go scheme is a really good way to try things out without committing yourself to membership.

Why should every student get engaged at Leeds?
There is so much going on here at Leeds; there is such a wide variety of societies and extra-curricular activities, there really is no reason not to get involved. If you want to make your degree really count for something more than a piece of paper, then get involved in as much extra-curricular activity as you can at Leeds.

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