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Undergraduate study

Our students

Olivia McHale

Olivia recently graduated and is now putting her skills into practice as a graduate intern in External Relations at Teesside University.

Olivia McHale

BA (Hons) English Studies with Creative Writing

'We were given a lot of freedom and encouragement in our writing, so we were able to take any direction we liked.'

Why did you choose Teesside University?

I wanted to be close to home and I thought the English studies course sounded really interesting. I have always had an interest in English, so it felt natural to enrol on a course to follow this passion. I was also very impressed with the library on an open day visit and knew that it was somewhere that I could study effectively.

Has your time at Teesside University helped you to achieve or get closer to your goals?

Definitely. I have managed to develop and gain skills through the course that I will be able to apply in the future, and I have had plenty of opportunities to help further those skills. I have learned a lot about writing for different audiences, which I have been able to nurture through my two internships, and also improved my communication skills greatly – both written and spoken.

What was your course like?

I thought that the course was fascinating. We learned about a lot of things that I didn’t think we would and it gave me a much deeper insight into the literary world, like how the Civil Rights Movement affected African-American literature, and the relationship between literature, music and art in modernism. A wide range of topics are covered, so you are guaranteed to learn about something that you’re interested in. On the creative writing side of the course, we were given a lot of freedom and encouragement in our writing, so we were able to take any direction we liked.

What was your favourite module?

I thoroughly enjoyed Neo-Victorianism: Rewriting the 19th Century, which covered a lot about social politics in the Victorian era and how they are tackled in modern writing. I also loved the final Creative Writing Project module, where we could write anything we wanted, as long as it was 8,000+ words. It was a very creative process and I felt that it allowed me to express myself.

Did you do any work experience or an industry placement whilst studying?

During my second year, I did an internship through the University's BOOST scheme, creating web content and managing social media for a charity based in Stokesley in Teesside. It was a wonderful, eye-opening experience and it gave me the opportunity to explore how to put the skills I had learned on my course into practice. It was also a great way to enhance my CV.

What are your plans and ambitions?

I hope to go into social media or digital marketing and I am currently working towards that through volunteering and internships. I am currently taking part in a graduate internship in the University’s Department of External Relations. I’m working to update UCAS for 2017/2018 applicants, as well as helping to create web content to help attract potential students. Not only is this pushing me towards my career goals, it is also introducing me to the world of full time work and giving me a routine.