"My masters year was my favourite year of study and the most rewarding. "

Lucy Potter celebrates graduation
Lucy Potter
MA Sociology
Lucy joined the Department of Sociological Studies to study MA Sociology after completing an undergraduate degree in Philosophy with the University of Sheffield. During her masters study, Lucy took advantage of the volunteering opportunities provided by the University and has gone on to secure a job with the British Tinnitus Association, with which she volunteered, following completion of her studies.
Lucy Potter celebrates graduation

Why did you choose to study the MA Sociology at the University of Sheffield?

I chose the MA Sociology at the University of Sheffield because I completed my undergraduate in Philosophy here. I knew the University very well; the Students' Union and the many libraries have fantastic study spaces. For the course itself, it had recently been redesigned for my year, which meant we were looking at contemporary issues in Sociology. 

What have you enjoyed most about your course and why?

I thoroughly enjoyed the MA dissertation. You have a lot of flexibility and independence to choose your own topic, and it gives you a chance to research something you are passionate about. It’s also an opportunity to conduct your own fieldwork by using your chosen research methods, and thinking sociologically about your topic. It’s hard work, but so rewarding once you have finished. 

My favourite lecturer is Lucy Mayblin, she was my lecturer for the module Current Sociology where we examined topics on Decolonisation and Eurocentrism. From her lectures I began to develop my research interests on these topics, choosing to complete my dissertation on whiteness within Voluntourism. Lucy was my personal tutor, she provided me with expert support and advice, especially during remote learning due the pandemic, where I was always able to reach out via e-mail or Skype for help.

What do you think about Sheffield as a city?

Sheffield is a welcoming and safe city. It has more of a ‘town’ feel, with lots of green spaces, and friendly people. It doesn’t lack in a fantastic night-out though. My favourite thing to do in Sheffield was hit West Street to the many bars and clubs, then stop at Aslan's on the way home (the best chippy in Sheffield). You’ll never get stuck of things to do in Sheffield; the Peak District is a bus journey away, as is the shopping centre Meadowhall. Sheffield is a home away from home.

Were you involved in any extra-curricular activities?

Taking part in volunteering was a large part of my experience at Sheffield. I volunteered for the ‘Children’s Project’ through the Students' Union, where I received safeguarding training and then I was able to lead a large number of children through different activities once a month. It was really fun. On one occasion, we all played Lazer Quest, so it’s not just a fun day out for the kids. I also got involved with volunteering for the British Tinnitus Association during the Coronavirus pandemic. I provided advice and help to those suffering with tinnitus. Volunteering has given me essential experience in areas such as communication, leadership and project planning. These are experiences that I discuss on my CV and in interviews, which has helped me to secure a job.

Student wearing a protective mask and studying at a laptop in Weston Park library

Any reflections to share on your study since the Coronavirus outbreak and the temporary move to online teaching?

The unprecedented pandemic was a tough one to deal with. During the first couple of weeks, I was unsure whether to take a leave of absence and finish my studies the following year, a decision that my lecturers supported me with. I am glad I decided to stick with it, and I can say that I received a Distinction, and prize for Best Dissertation during a pandemic! I was able to achieve this through a quick transition to remote learning, and support from my peers. 

What are your plans following graduation? Where do you see yourself in the future?

Upon completing my Masters, I started my new role as Tinnitus Support Adviser at the British Tinnitus Association – a role I secured due to my volunteering experience, and my commitment to postgraduate study. Alongside my support role, I am also working on a project with the Research Officer, where I am applying my interests in race and intersectionality to improve services for those suffering with tinnitus. I am interested in applying for a PhD in Sociology at Sheffield in the coming years, where I potentially see myself as a Research Officer.

What piece of advice would you offer new students to the Department of Sociological Studies at Sheffield?

I recommend that new students get involved and stuck in with as many opportunities that come their way! Join the Sociology Society – join any of the hundreds of societies the Students' Union has to offer. Don’t be afraid of going to your lecturers' office hours and ask questions, they are there to help you! Ultimately. just have fun. My Masters year was my favourite year of study and the most rewarding. 

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