Elle Codling was keen to study a Masters in English Literature and chose the University of Reading due to its range of modules and the support it offers for MA students.
After completing an undergraduate degree in English and Creative Writing, Elle found that she was most interested in the literary theory and academic analysis she'd been able to work on during her first degree.
"There were several areas I was still curious about and wanted to study for a Master's to find out more!"
"I decided Reading was the best place to pursue my interests. At undergraduate level I enjoyed everything from Shakespeare to contemporary literature, but some university courses asked you to specialise in one area. Luckily, Reading allowed you to take modules from a range of different topics. Plus, the support for MA students was great and a well-established part of the department; postgraduates weren't just an add-on to a good undergraduate setup."
Elle was amazed by the academic diversity of the department.
"I was really impressed by the range of interests and specialities within the department. I knew I'd be able to develop my knowledge of a range of topics while working with staff who were experts in those areas."
FINDING INSPIRATION AT READING
Elle has found inspiration in being amongst other staff members and MA students at Reading.The English department provided her with advice about routes into academia, as well as guidance into her current library career.
"Small teaching groups mean you get a lot of time to talk, share ideas and learn from the other students on the course. The staff are great to talk to - they're experts in things you're interested in, plus they're also great examples of what you can do with your degree once you've finished."
"It's a great course - you get a lot of free rein in deciding what you want to study, but there's still a lot of support and advice available if you need it. The staff are fantastic and you have a great opportunity to make friends with similar interests too. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Reading and I recommend it highly!"
HANDS ON LEARNING
At Reading, Elle was able to study English in new, interesting ways due to the department's collection of manuscripts.
"My favourite part of the course was probably the Materiality and Textuality module which involved getting into the archives and handling the materials! This is partly what piqued my interest in libraries and collections."
SHAPING A FUTURE
Elle is now a Graduate Trainee Library Assistant working in a secondary school library and has been offered a place on another MA in Librarianship.
"The (graduate) role is a year-long role designed to teach you the skills you need to work in libraries, and to prepare you for a professional qualification in librarianship. From using the Special Collections at Reading University, I had already developed skills such as being able to handle books carefully, spot what might be missing from our collection and read critically."
Having an MA from Reading also allowed her to demonstrate a strong interest in literature to employers.
"Having skills like working independently and managing my own time, really helped me get the role. There are lots of transferable skills you learn on a Master's course that help in a role like this - such as motivating yourself and prioritising tasks! Plus, having an MA has also helped my application to the Librarianship course which will further my career. I talked about my experience using the Special Collections service during my Master's - which showed my interest in managing collections, as well as allowing me to talk about an example of a great library service and good customer service."