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classics student jemma callue on her graduation day

Jemma Callue came to Reading via Clearing and in her words “couldn't be more grateful”. She chose Reading as she had visited the University on an Open Day and really liked it. Jemma never regretted her decision and can't imagine going to any other University.

Here, she shares some highlights of her time at Reading.

"I decided to study classics after falling in love with classical civilisations during my A level studies. I originally planned to study History and Philosophy at university but I felt that my strengths lay within classics.

"At Reading, classics incorporates language and literature into the subject as well as optional modules in history and philosophy. It seemed like the perfect choice to explore all these subjects I loved, in relation to classics."

Supporting others

The Department of Classics offers a peer assisted learning scheme to help first-year students consolidate their learning from lectures in a smaller, more informal classroom setting. Students are grouped with trained students, typically from the year above.

In Jemma's second year, she was asked if she would like to help tutor a first-year student in ancient Greek:

"It was so nice making a connection with someone I hadn't met, as well as teaching them a subject that I had only started learning the year prior.

"It gave me confidence in my language abilities and made me realise how far I had come in such a short span of time. I was also happy to help someone who wanted that extra bit of support."

Staff-student collaboration

The Department seeks to develop a culture where students are empowered as active partners in making positive changes to their learning experiences. Jemma was quick to volunteer as a module representative for a couple of modules when given the opportunity.

“I was involved in collating the end of term feedback forms from students and noticing trends in feedback and presenting them to staff in a meeting. I really enjoyed that we were able to give our opinions on the modules we had taken, and help improve different aspects of the course.”

A thriving community

Jemma is enthusiastic about the relaxed and friendly environment the Department offers to explore the ancient world, particularly the Classics Society, which brings together students across all years and academic staff in an informal setting, through a variety of events such as pizza parties, trips abroad and nights out.

"In my final year, I was elected as one of the social secretaries for the Classics Society. This was great fun and allowed me to meet students from all years. It was a lovely way to meet people with a shared interest.

"We also ran a movie night in Wessex, watching Disney's Hercules – it was great fun singing along with a room full of classicists!"

The next move

Jemma absolutely loved her time at the University during her undergraduate studies and wanted to continue studying in a place which offered a friendly and vibrant atmosphere.

"As my masters was only a year long, I didn't want to move to a new place and settle somewhere else with an intense workload. Reading was the best option for me as I knew the campus, knew how things worked and felt I could be my best self there."

Jemma stayed at Reading to pursue the LLM Human Rights with the Reading School of Law. She is currently working with a charity as a caseworker to help reduce isolation and loneliness amongst older people.

Jemma's message for prospective classicists at Reading

"Throw yourself into University life. If there is anything going on in your department, then get involved. It is not only a great CV enhancer, but will give you the opportunity to meet more people on your course, make connections and friends.

"Establishing those connections made me feel more comfortable in expressing any issues I had. Getting involved will also allow you to feel more connected with your department, and you will get to know your lecturers better. 

"Make sure you do everything that you enjoy – join societies, take the subjects you want and enjoy yourself!"

Discover more about choosing Reading for undergraduate study

classics student alex heavens graduating

Alex Heavens: enchanted by the ancient world

Alex's fascination with history and the ancient world propelled him to study BA Classics at Reading.

naomi miller

Naomi Miller: a life-changing journey

Naomi received support, inspiration and opportunities to gain valuable work experience during her BA Ancient History degree.

rachael hopely

Rachael Hopley: ancient voices, modern vision

Rachael was captivated by the classics from an early age. With our BA Classics course she followed her interest in the modern relevance of the ancient world.