My Clearing journey: Humanities graduate Olivia Weatherill
“I’d known I’d wanted to go to university very early on as a teenager.”
I loved school in general but felt even more at home as I progressed into sixth form. I really enjoyed getting a taste of more freedom of choice in the direction of my studies and starting to have the kind of classroom environments that you go on to experience in seminars.
At sixth form, I took Economics, Religious Studies and Politics A levels, so the natural progression of that at degree level would have been a Philosophy, Politics and Economics degree. But as this course wasn’t offered in many institutions, I settled on applying for International Relations courses, though pursuing my favourite and strongest subject of Philosophy was still something that was playing on my mind…
When I received my A level results, I hadn’t met the requirements of my firm or insurance choice, and my university prospects felt wide open and quite scary. It did come to be a blessing in disguise as I was now able to seriously consider philosophy as the main focus of my studies. However, most pure philosophy degrees were feeling uninspiring to me, and I still wanted to incorporate my interest in politics and international relations. I began searching for combined honours courses and came across the Philosophy, Politics and Ethics course, a brand new degree for my year of entry. This course seemed perfectly made to me and was coming at just the right time. I’d also had family friends who had studied at Brighton and loved it so I decided to ring up their clearing line.
My experience of the clearing process was excellent. The staff were calm and reassuring at a stressful time. I rang through in the afternoon of results day after spending some time thinking about my next move, and was still able to get chatting to someone very quickly. I was lucky enough to then be put through to Mark Devenney, one of the senior lecturers in the School of Humanities. Mark’s research interests were very similar to my own, and he had been very involved in creating the course himself. Although I had missed my grades in my Economics A level, Mark reassured me that my higher grades in Politics and Religious Studies were suitable for the course, and were the most important as this is what I would be focusing on. He also noted that your performance in seminars and how you spoke up and listened to others would contribute to your overall grade. Knowing this really played to my strengths in how I learn, this was very clearly becoming the perfect degree for me. Mark made me an offer that day and I was absolutely thrilled.
The Philosophy, Politics and Ethics degree is taught alongside several other History, Philosophy, Culture and Politics courses, covering the same areas of study in the first year and learning together. These degrees in general offer a really thorough and broad education across humanities, and provide the space for this throughout your remaining years on the degree. You’re encouraged to attend extra seminars on subjects you haven’t chosen as an option, and I enjoyed dropping into the literature and culture seminars even though these weren’t in my PPE strand. You also have a huge amount of choice in the scope of the focus of your dissertation, again being encouraged to delve into what you are really interested in. This gave me the freedom to explore philosopher’s works I had been interested in from my A levels studies, and write my dissertation on the philosophy of language, though the focus of my seminar and lectures was more focused on politics and ethics.
Years on after my degree, the impact of my time studying on the course has been huge. It made me a more confident debater and public speaker, gave me a broad education and pushed my curiosity and encouraged me to not set limits on my learning. After working in marketing for a few years in the travel sector, I am now back working for the university in the International Marketing Team, helping students from around the world realise their potential and have an incredible learning experience in Brighton. If you’re at the beginning of your clearing journey and you’re considering the University of Brighton, just pick up the phone and start the process. The team here will certainly help you find your best fit!