Profile - Lauren White, PhD Department of Sociological Studies
Funding and support at Sheffield helped Lauren to gain independence and pursue her PhD.
What are you studying?
My thesis is looking at everyday life for people living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I did my undergraduate degree in Sociology in the same department and a masters in social research, so I’ve continued all the way through with a sociological grounding.
Why did you choose a postgraduate taught/ research programme?
From the second year of my undergraduate degree, I was sure that I wanted to continue at university, and I was keen on the idea of doing a PhD. In my third year, I successfully applied for a university scholarship. That secured my decision to carry on to postgraduate study. I knew my masters was a stepping stone to the PhD, which I had set my mind to do. So I applied for the +3 funding in my department and I was successful.
What made you decide to stay in Sheffield after your finished your undergraduate degree?
The support at the University of Sheffield has been fantastic for me. As I’ve had various health problems during my time of studies, support services such as DDSS (Disability and Dyslexia Support Service) and mentoring, as well as departmental support was crucial to me being successful in my studies. Also, the university offers fantastic services with other help and guidance such as the university careers service and 301 skills - I’ve used them both and they’ve been great. Of course, getting funding to continue as a postgraduate from Sheffield was great too as it allowed me to get that extra bit of independence, I moved out into the city centre after living with my parents during my undergraduate course, to embrace campus life.
The support at the University of Sheffield has been fantastic for me. As I’ve had various health problems during my time of studies, support services such as DDSS and mentoring, as well as departmental support was crucial to me being successful in my studies.
What does your postgraduate study give/offer you that your undergraduate didn’t?
It’s definitely all been a lot more advanced and a step up in understanding things sociologically. I think at undergraduate level there isn’t always the chance to network, go along to things such as conferences and present ideas and work. That only starts to come at postgraduate level. I think these are important skills we should start developing as early as possible.
Are there any additional/ unique challenges with postgraduate study compared to undergraduate?
It’s a step up intellectually and the deadlines can be intense at times. With a PhD it’s about self discipline, creating your own structure and timetable, and making decisions on what work is priority and how much other training and networking is important in the long run. It’s a difficult balance, one I’m still learning!
What's been your biggest achievement or greatest sense of personal satisfaction during your studies so far?
I wasn’t always sure that I’d get to university, now here I am with funding to do a PhD. It’s a difficult challenge getting through university and applying for funding is even more of a challenge. It's easy to get down about if you aren’t successful first time. However, I persevered, reflected on previous practice and got there in the end!
How are you funding your study and living costs?
I am lucky enough to be in receipt of ESRC +3 studentship which covers my course fees, gives me a stipend and a research training support grant.
Is there anything else you think prospective postgraduates should know?
Enjoy yourself! We often strive to be more successful with postgraduate study and get the best grades, but it’s important to do other stuff too - whether it be volunteering in the community or walking into the city centre and having a cup of coffee with a friend.