Sheffield Postgraduate Scholarships

MA English Literature student Nicola Wallace talks about the Sheffield Postgraduate Scholarship.

Nicola Wallace MA English Literature

I have been incredibly lucky in the fact that I have been offered every opportunity for further and higher education. Whilst I have continued my studies without taking a break, I have worked part time alongside them from the age of fifteen as well as doing voluntary work. I have found that this has given me more of a rounded university experience as I have been able to expand my communication skills alongside the written skills I gained during my degree.

As I studied my undergraduate degree at Sheffield, I felt comfortable within my surroundings and this has allowed me to take a greater interest in the extra-curricular activities and societies that make it such a vibrant place to be. The support I received during my undergraduate studies from tutors and the University Counselling Service also influenced my decision to stay as I could be assured that any problems I had would be sorted.

By studying my postgraduate at Sheffield, I have been able to take part in conferences and societies which has enhanced my studies and my skills. I have had the support from my tutors which has allowed me to focus on my own research and given me the confidence to submit my work to be considered for publication. As Sheffield is such a lively city for the arts, I have also been given the opportunity to write a blog post for Sheffield Theatres, thus enhancing my own writing abilities. There are inevitably mental blocks when it comes to writing and it has been difficult sometimes to overcome these. However, through workshopping and being given the time to write within seminars, there is a community of people who are willing to help and give ideas in order to create a solution.

Through workshops within my Creative Writing modules, I have gained valuable feedback on my work and been able to develop my ideas in a space which has been constructive. Having the opportunity to write and improve ideas which I have had for a while has helped me to focus on my own writing style and the demographic I would like to write for.

Without the scholarship, I would not be doing my Masters. It has given me the opportunity to continue my studies and allowed me to hone my creative writing skills fully.

Nicola Wallace

Without the financial pressures, I have been able to take a much more involved role within the University’s societies. I am a part of Platform Performance’s committee and helped to organise the annual Platform festival at the union. This has given me the confidence to be able to liaise and collaborate with different societies and given me needed experience for my chosen career within Theatre Management.

By staying on to do a postgraduate degree, I have been given many opportunities to further my own writing. I have attended the National Creative Writing Graduate Fair at Manchester Metropolitan University, where I was able to be present at seminars and panels which were led by writers and publishers. I also had the opportunity to pitch my own ideas to literary agents where I gained invaluable feedback and an offer to send my work over to be considered for publication. This gave me the much needed confidence to submit to journals and also to apply for short story competitions.

Without the scholarship, I would not be doing my Masters. It has given me the opportunity to continue my studies and allowed me to hone my creative writing skills fully. If I had never been awarded the scholarship, I would have to work full time and if I had chosen to continue with my Masters, it would have been part time. The scholarship has benefited my education through allowing me to pursue the course of work that I am passionate about without the added financial and circumstantial pressures on top of the rigour of postgraduate study.

There are always times where it seems as though the workload has become unbearable. However, being a scholarship recipient has helped me to see that there is a worth in what I am doing and that I can achieve my goals through the support of the University. Having the time to spend on your own research and specialism is invaluable and should not be a chance to pass up. Postgraduate study has helped me to focus on what I want to spend the rest of my life doing and given me plenty of opportunities in which to reach these goals. I will continue to write and submit work to be published and I will also apply for jobs within theatres. To be able to bring stories to life on paper and on stage is my passion and I want these stories to be as accessible and relatable as possible. My studies and the opportunities I have received have develop these written and spoken communication skills which would be required within a theatre environment.

I am extremely grateful to have received the Sheffield Postgraduate Scholarship and it has made my postgraduate study at Sheffield infinitely more enjoyable. I have been granted many opportunities which simply would not have been possible had I not have received it.