We’re so proud of our class of 2020. They've overcome enormous challenges to graduate, but at the same time they've been determined to make a difference - helping others, grasping opportunities to develop their skills and showing their Essex Spirit in so many different ways. Now we're taking the chance to celebrate their achievements.
Wed 22 Jul 20
Determination and one great friendship have helped Amanda Horne complete her BA History with a piece of historical fiction under her belt after her chances of success were threatened by anxiety, PTSD and disability.
Amanda was inspired to study history by a passionate teacher at school and her own love of stories but the long-lasting effects of a personal tragedy as a child posed a significant challenge.
She credits one close friendship with getting her through, as well as Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity therapy sessions.
“In my first year I struggled to talk with my housemates so I felt isolated. But by my third year, with the encouragement of my friend, without whom I would still be isolated and anxious, I was feeling confident again,” said Amanda.
The little-understood language disability dysphasia, which affects speech and comprehension, caused significant challenges in the classroom too.
“I struggled with the required readings for seminars, struggled to take part verbally, and understanding lectures was difficult,” said Amanda.
“What got me through was sheer stubbornness. I would always do the reading before lectures and start assignments early. Luckily my teachers and fellow students were understanding and patient enough to give me the time I needed.”
Thanks to her determination, Amanda successfully completed an unusual piece of historical fiction for her dissertation, and is considering a career as a writer.
“I was researching the relationships between fathers and daughters in the late 1700s - initially inspired by the different relationships Mr Bennett has with his daughters in Pride and Prejudice – and I found the autobiography of agriculturalist Arthur Young, which contained verbatim diary entries.”
Her dissertation focuses on Young’s experience of the death of one of his daughters in 1797 and the effect it had on him throughout his life.
Since completing her dissertation, Amanda has started researching and writing another piece of historical fiction, exploring the late 18th century London crime scene and justice system.
“If I have the guts, I might even try to get it published,” she said.