BA History and Politics & International RelationsJohnnie Anderson, UK

Tell us a little bit about your background...
I was born in Glasgow but moved to Peterborough in England when I was young and grew up there. I left school after my A Levels and went in to a career in sales. I worked for a number of different companies selling things like commercial cleaning equipment and mailing systems until I was made redundant around the time I turned 30. At this point I decided I wanted to return to education to change careers. I moved back to Scotland to care for my Grandfather who was unwell shortly after this. This allowed me to apply to Strathcylde and begin my studies.

Why did you decide to study at the University of Strathclyde?
Strathclyde appealed to me for two reasons. The first is the location of the campus. We are ideally situated in the city centre with excellent transport and accommodation options. As a mature student living off campus was the better option for me and Strathclyde is located in such a way as to make that an easier commute from outwith the city centre. The second reason was the dedicated mature student facility in the Livingstone Tower. Having that dedicated, quiet space was a real selling point for me.

What made you decide to study a Joint Honours degree?
The simple reason I went with a Joint Honours was that I was enjoying both options (History and Politics) and didn’t want to drop one when I went into 4th year. I also think going with a Joint Honours gives you more options as you move to postgraduate studies or look to the world of work, it shows a wider skillset I think.

What would you say is one of the key takeaways from your course?
I would say the key takeaway from my course has been how much I enjoy research. Gathering the smaller building blocks to create a total finished essay or assignment has been a really enjoyable experience during my time at Strathclyde. That process was made more enjoyable and effective because of the facilities available at Strathclyde. The library is a fantastic resource and the teaching staff were always supportive during every assignment, guiding me towards better working practises.

What has been the highlight of your time at Strathclyde so far?
It would be hard to give just one highlight but if I were pressed on it I would probably say the feeling of accomplishment and pride at handing in my dissertation would be up there. The work and effort you put in to that process means the reward of handing that in feels great.

What would be your advice for people considering studying at Strathclyde?
I would advise people to really go for it if they are considering Strathclyde. I had offers from 3 other universities and don’t regret for a moment taking my place here. When you start your course the advice I would then give is to make maximum use of the fantastic facilities available to you. The acadmeic resources available are amazing and the social life you can build here is adaptable to any preferences so you can really make the experience your own.

What has been the main challenge while studying at university?
Obviously the biggest challenge I have faced has been studying during the Covid pandemic. However, that is (hopefully) a once in a generation situation and one we are now moving out of. More generally the only challenge I would advise on is in managing the workload. It is a big step up moving to university generally and if you are not careful the essays and assignments can mount up so I would get ahead of yourself as quickly as possible. If nothing else it will mean you enjoy the process far more.

If you could travel back in time to give advice to yourself on your first day at Strathclyde, what would you say?
The advice I would give myself on my first day would be to do a scouting mission on the layout of the campus! It is a great location and actually quite straightforward once you get use to it but at first it can be very daunting to navigate. I would say download the app asap and familiarise yourself with where everything is.

What do you hope to do when you complete your programme?
I am moving on to a Masters at Strathclyde after my undergraduate degree. Following that my career aspiration is to get in to teaching.