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Louise Blaney – University of Reading

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  • Louise Blaney

    Finding empowerment from unexpected sources

Louise Blaney

LouiseBlaneyLouise Blaney  is in her final year of a BA in Education Studies.

" I found empowerment from unexpected sources, fields of knowledge I had no idea existed and a life-changing interest in sustainability."

Having originally started a Psychology degree at a different University, Louise soon realised that the subject was not for her. This experience taught her to follow her passion:

"I learned that I had to pick a subject I was genuinely interested in, not just because it was my best grade at sixth form."

This led her to the University of Reading. Louise describes the moment she stepped on to campus and immediately knew it was the place for her: "When I visited Reading, I could imagine myself here and it felt right. I never got this feeling at other universities. From my experience, you know when something feels right and if you are ready for it."

Always interested in the social aspects of the world around her, Louise discovered that BA Education Studies provided the perfect focus for her wide range of interests. She knew that she wanted to work in a setting that would allow her to improve inequalities in society. This could mean a charity or community project. Her degree was able to provide a wealth of knowledge in these and many other areas:

" Education Studies lets me explore all my interests about society. It's such an open degree and it gives me the freedom to explore a range of employment opportunities. Also, it's so different for every student. We all have varied ideas about where we will end up and, in that way, it is a very diverse course, where you meet all kinds of people."

Louise highlighted the sheer range of topics in the programme, allowing students to tailor coursework to what most interests them. Every module looks at widely differing areas and expands students' interests as well as teaching them.

Louise found this was one of the most valuable aspects of the course, giving drama as an example: "Before this course I hadn't thought of drama as a learning tool. I lacked confidence to try it before, but I have now discovered the power of its use. Not only the importance of using it to teach in schools, but for other groups of people,  for vulnerable and oppressed people it can be such a useful tool. It has developed my interests but also has genuinely improved my confidence and changed me as person - for the better!"

 Louise cited the Professional Development module as key to planning her future career.

"This module has allowed me to really think about my professional identity and where I am going to take my knowledge. On this module we get to explore and design a project based on anything that interests us, and from this my interest in community work and education has developed so much."

Louise credits her placement with further life-changing effects:

"My placement influenced my career choice massively. I went to a local Reading charity, called Creating Better Futures, which seeks to improve education opportunities for children in Zimbabwe."

There, she was given the independence to explore all the topics that interested her. She researched and produced resources for female empowerment, education packs for schools, and menstruation information.

"The trust they showed me by allowing such in-depth involvement in their work, made me realise that I do have the initiative and ability to make a difference. My placement was important in helping me explore the different types of careers that one can reach with an Education Studies degree. You can use your knowledge in a whole range of roles."

Through BA Education Studies, Louise says that she has found her focus in life: a passionate desire to make the world a better place.

"The Society and Social Justice module really helped me to see my path ahead and sparked a passion and interest in social change that I didn't even know I had at the beginning of the course! And my commitment to sustainability is growing every day. The amount there is to learn about this subject is astounding. There have been so many things in my life that have changed from this module. My time at the University of Reading, studying this course, has literally changed my life."

Please note: Modules may be subject to change.


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