So, what are you going to do with your MA? The dreaded question.

20:58 Unknown 6 Comments

I started my MA in Creative Writing around six weeks ago, I knew I was going to do it about three weeks before that and in that relatively short amount of time I must have been asked the above question approximately 15,000 times.

I graduated with a BA in Music four years ago, and I don't really remember all that many people asking me what I was going to do with my degree. It just seemed like the natural thing to do, go off to uni, get a degree, come home for a little bit, figure it out and then get a job. No one seemed shocked I wanted to have a degree, no one questioned it. But doing an MA seems to be a totally different ball game.

As soon as I started telling people I was going to be studying again, they immediately asked what I would do with my masters when I finished. Everyone from my boss (so you'll do it then just quit here when you've finished?) to my friends (yay you're going be a famous writer) had rather dramatic versions of what I may do with my yet-to-be-gained MA.

The problem isn't that I don't know what I want to do with my MA, the problem is I'm embarrassed to say it. Both my boss and my friend's predictions are exactly what I would like to say I am going to do. I'd like to say yes, I'm going to graduate in 2018, by then I will have already had my book read by a top agent and publisher, they will offer me a book deal and I will quit my job. See, I do have a plan. Easy.

In reality, I am not quite so naïve. But it's a nice dream. I think the point is, the above is not completely out of the question (apart from the quitting my job bit, I don't think books pay all that well quite from the start) it has happened to people on my course. It can happen to people, normal people, writing a book, being a writer, it's not such a crazy dream that it is unachievable, but it is unpalatable to most people – to be trying to do this. I still feel a little silly when I tell people that's my plan (though mostly I don't tell anyone). I can feel their inward eye rolls, such a dreamer. I tried it out on my sister the other day, when she asked the dreaded question over lunch, and instead of giving one of my vague stock answers 'well it will help me write', 'I could look into teaching', 'it's a good qualification to have'.. I said 'well I'd like to finish my book, get it read by an agent and get it published.' She didn't look too horrified, if not mildly disbelieving, 'it does happen' I continued, 'people from the course have had books published from it' this is my favourite line (they really have!) she asked in reply 'who?' 'well, Catherine Chanter was on my course, she wrote The Well' her reply 'I never got that book, couldn't finish it.' And the conversation was over. But I said it – I'm going to be a writer.

Maybe I will, maybe I won't (it hurt to write that) but I'm glad I'm doing an MA. Yes it's costing a lot of money (thank you Student Finance England) yes it's a lot of work, yes I'm exhausted, yes I know it sounds crazy to think I could give up my comfy job in the public sector to be a writer, but I'm glad I'm doing it.

So, next time someone asks you 'so what are you going to do with your MA?' don't tell them the things they want to hear, that you don't know, that you thought it would be a good idea, tell them the real reason – the reason you might be embarrassed about admitting in case you fail and they laugh, tell them your dream, tell everyone, even if they don't ask – because the more people you tell the more likely you are to achieve it.  


GUEST BLOG: Open Days at Brookes by Student Ambassador Jennifer Taylor

13:53 Unknown 0 Comments

I’m Jen, a 4th year French Studies with Communication, Media and Culture student, Student Ambassador and Global Buddy. 

Our second Open Day of this academic year is approaching us quickly, so here are some top tips to ensure that you make the most of your day at Oxford Brookes. 

Top 3 things to do at the Open Day:

Take a campus tour. The campus tours run all day by the Student Ambassadors. They take you around the main Headington Campus and are really useful, as you’ll get to see the whole university without getting lost! 

Chat to the Student Ambassadors: they’re there to help you and will love to discuss their experiences at Brookes, especially as they have been in your position and know how hard it can be to choose a university.

If you have the time, take a bus (or walk) into the city centre. Oxford is a beautiful city, with great museums, cafés, and plenty of shops – you won’t be disappointed!

Come and say hi to the friendly team of ambassadors

How to make sure you are fully prepared for Open Day

Make sure that you leave enough time to travel to the university. There is highly restricted parking at the campuses, so we recommend using public transport or the Park and Ride services. We have an Open Day bus service that takes you to all of the campuses; you and your guests can travel on this for free with your Open Day guide.

You can find the Radcliffe Camera in Oxford’s city centre

Make sure that you pre-book onto relevant subject talks. This will help you find out everything there is to know about your course, as well as any opportunities that will be on offer to you throughout your time at Brookes. By participating in one of the subject talks, you will be able to chat to the faculty leaders and get a real feel for the course. 

Also make sure that you chat to the accommodation, sports, and finance teams to get all of the information you need.
Following up after the day:

After the Open Day, it’s time for you to reflect on your time both at Oxford Brookes as well as the city of Oxford. 

Don’t forget to take home a prospectus as this contains all the vital information and requirements about your prospective courses and the services on offer at Brookes. 

If you feel like you would like to come back to Brookes for a campus tour after the open day, all you will need to do is call the Enquiry Centre, to book a place. The campus tours are run Monday-Friday at 10:30 and 14:30. 

For more information, whether it is about accommodation, student finances, or the redevelopments at Brookes, you will be able to find all the information on our website:

We’re looking forward to meeting you!


Just to say Hi

12:51 Unknown 0 Comments

 Hi Hannah here,
Just wanted to introduce myself and give a little bit of info about me

  • I'm an occupational therapy student
  • Its okay if you don't know what that is
  • If you do you're in the minority
  • I'm a second year Brookes student
  • Which means one year to go till adulthood
  • Which I'm not ready for
  • At all
  • I like going to the pub
  • A lot
  • There will be many posts about this
  • I'll also post other stuff
  • Like what student life is like for a healthcare student
  • Including my placement experience
  • Good or bad
So that's it really, feel free to ask me any questions, I'll be posting again soon


Industry Guest Seminars

11:49 Unknown 0 Comments

Summer is officially over and second year is in full swing. After hearing stories from previous students of horror deadlines, and remembering last years coffee fueled nights of weeks 6 and 12 where every deadline seemed to collide at once, second year is like a breath of fresh air, with spaced deadlines galore. You can almost hear the collective sigh of relief from my cohort.

Throughout the BA Publishing Media degree, the university puts on a rather spectacular line up of optional lunch time and evening guest lectures. Whilst it's completely up to you whether you attend or not, it is detrimental to yourself to not come along. Last year we were treated to talks by industry experts such as James Daunt Managing Directer of Waterstones; I cannot count how many times the notes I have taken from these seminars have wound up in my essays. They are an asset.

So far this year a number of seminars have already taken place. We were extremely lucky this month to receive a lecture from Jonathon Glasspool Managing Director of Bloomsbury Academic. The hour or so he talked for was fascinating. We were provided with further invaluable insights into the world of  academic publishing and had a great laugh at the Harry Potter jokes weaved into the lecture. For anyone interested in a future at Bloomsbury it was a key seminar to attend as it covered the must have skills and experiences that they look for.

Angus Phillips Head of School of Arts (left), Jonathan Glasspool Bloomsbury Academic (right).

Oxford Brookes relations with the publishing industry is partly what makes the university a fantastic place to study. You know that the opportunity's presented, such as the guest seminars, will always be enriching. 


How to study and work part-time

20:03 Unknown 0 Comments

Hello peeps! I am sure many of you are wondering about working while studying at university. You must have witnessed the on-campus job fair at the JHB building in Week 2.

I have been working part time since my undergraduate studies, in multiple positions, employed by the university. Here are some tips for you to consider a part time job.

Why work ?
The main reason I work is to have a better time management between studies, extra curricular activities and personal life. To concentrate all my time in studies alone is one-dimensional and monotonous. Through work, I find time to relax and unwind from the pressure of studies, and sometimes I get inspiration from the outside world.

The extra income helps cover my food and travel expenditure. And some occasional treat for myself :) This is especially useful to architecture students who need to spend on expensive field trips. This self-earned pocket money helps to relief the financial burden of your parents/guardians/student loan.

You will be more independent, responsible and disciplined in terms of time and money management. You will be more aware of the hard work of earning money and spending wisely. You build transferable (EQ) skills by turning up at work on time and practicing good work ethics with your colleagues.

Special employee privileges - free food, travel and discounts.

Where to work ? 
1.  Oxford Brookes University
Some of the positions offered at the university are : student ambassador, open days student helper, store assistant (Colonnade and Starbucks), academic support worker, research assistant, OBIS assistant, etc. There are weekly careers events in the university. You could find work on the Brookes website and Careers centre in the JHB building. You could also consult your academic advisors.

2. Retail, food and beverage outlets in nearby towns such as Headington, Cowley and city centre. Bicester Village also offers sales assistant jobs.

3. Free lance jobs related to your course : architectural assistant, hospital attachment, lecturer assistant.

Yes, work but ...
strike a balance between your studies and job. Do not get too indulged in earning money till you neglect your studies and health. If you are struggling to cope with studies and job, explain to your manager that you need to trim your working time. University education is the door to your ambition, a part time job helps to ease the financial route.

And save ! This is the time to build your short-term and long-term financial plan. Be responsible in your expenditure and savings, do not rely entirely on your parents and always plan for the rainy days.

University is the transition time from a teenager to an adult. Time to grow up to be an independent and wise person. Yup, bitter, tough and challenging but exciting!

* International students are restricted to 20 hours maximum per week, and a national insurance number is a must!

Good luck in finding a part-time work and enjoy it!