Abigail holland sociology ba student profile

Abigail Holland

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

I am 21 years old from a small village in Buckinghamshire so Leeds is certainly a contrast! I have a rooted interest in social inequalities and am a strong advocate for volunteering.  

What motivated you to apply to study your chosen course and why did you choose Leeds?

I always knew I wanted to continue in education however I was never certain on what I wanted to study before enrolling on A Level Sociology. The subject felt ‘natural’ to me and I found it filtered into my personal as well as academic life. I felt driven to explore matters such as social justice, inequality and social policy further. I chose Leeds predominantly for two reasons: its strong focus on research-led teaching and its unique position as both a city and campus-based university.

What do you think of your course, have there been any particular highlights for you?

I am constantly inspired by the teaching fellows within the School of Sociology and Social Policy. It is really important to have role models who champion the social sciences and seeing University of Leeds research translated into policy and practice fuels your undergraduate studies. One particular highlight for me is being able to see the impact of social research first-hand through a collaborative project I undertook in my second year in partnership with Leeds City Council and Leeds Community foundation on the phenomenon of ‘holiday hunger’. The research we undertook built on existing evidence to demonstrate the importance of holiday club schemes providing free food to the most disadvantaged children in Leeds and supported a bid for increased funding which was later secured.

How have you found the online learning so far?

Online learning is undeniably different however the staff in the School of Sociology and Social Policy have been so forthcoming in offering their time to individual students for additional support.

How would you describe the help and guidance provided by the staff within the School?

Staff within the School are always willing to discuss your ideas, put straight any concerns and work with you to ensure you achieve the most out of your time at university, both academically and personally.

How would you describe the facilities at the University?

The University boasts a plethora of facilities, including The Edge, a fitness, sport, and wellbeing complex, which has state-of-the-art equipment. I would recommend any prospective students to visit the University or engage in virtual open days to get a ‘feel’ for what Leeds has to offer – you won’t be disappointed.

Since starting at the university have you been granted any scholarships, or won any awards for example?

In my second year, I was awarded a prize for the work I presented on a ‘holiday hunger’ research project I undertook in collaboration with Leeds City Council and Leeds Community foundation to improve the lives of the most disadvantaged children in Leeds.

Tell us about your year in industry experience.

In my third year, I undertook a year in industry at The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) as a student social researcher. Being in the government department with the largest social research presence, I was able to put my knowledge into practise alongside expert government researchers and realise the type of social researcher I want to be. My placement gave me a steer for what I want to undertake my undergraduate research on, the career path I want to pursue and, importantly, the kind of person I should aspire to be. I would recommend a year in industry to anyone – you will reap the benefits both in your final year and beyond.