We Are Essex

Siobhan's Story


"I'd never heard of her before, but I Googled her and found that she'd had such an interesting life."

I wrote my undergraduate dissertation on the struggles on female rule in 16th Century Scotland, and for my Masters I’m writing about Scottish female regency. The Scottish constitution is quite different to other countries like England or France, because in Scotland, if the king was too young to rule, the power fell to the mother, rather than her acting as a senior adviser. It’s quite a different political system. It was actually a Netflix series that got me interested in historical Scottish politics – Reign, which is about the life of Mary, Queen of Scots. I’d never heard of her before, but I Googled her and found that she’d had such an interesting life.

I stayed at Essex for my Masters because I loved my course and my department. I really wanted to continue with the same topic as my dissertation last year, and I had a brilliant supervisor. It was the alumni discount, though, that decided it for me in the end; I received a fee reduction for getting a first in my undergraduate degree, and that made a massive difference.

At university I’ve really developed as a person, and my confidence has grown so much. I was a Residence Assistant in my second year, I’ve been elected president of the Pole Dance Club, and I work in the Employability and Careers Centre and as a student ambassador, so I’m really proud of myself for taking those steps and doing something great. I’m much less quiet than I used to be. 

There’s been a massive decline in people wanting to study history, because they’re worried it won’t lead to a job, but I would definitely tell anyone who’s been put off it to ignore the people who ask if you want to be a teacher or work in a museum. There are so many more options out there. I feel I’ve gained so many transferable skills from studying history, in terms of researching and analysing and even speaking as well, because you have to do big presentations. My friend who graduated last year is now a paralegal because of her research skill and her writing!



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