Hey, my name is Jessica and I’m a 2nd year PhD student. I study part time so my course is expected to last 5 years. I am part of the School of the Arts and my research focuses on the use of animation participatory practice to educate children with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome.
It’s a bit of a mouthful and people tend to look at me a little confused when I tell them about my research but basically, I’m an animator and I believe I’ve found a way to use my skills in this artistic practice, to help educate children with this specific disability. My research is practice based and I’m really looking forward to getting my head out of the books and begin working with the children, creating animations.
My PhD is the third degree I have studied for and Loughborough is the third university I’ve attended. My first degree was BSc Computer Animation and Digital Special Effects at Northumbria University and my second was MA Animation and Design at the University of Sunderland, which has given me a well-rounded overview of student life.
Unlike most university students, I don’t live on campus or in Loughborough, which is actually quite common for Postgraduate Research Students (PGR’s). We have a weekly seminar where researchers from the School of Arts, English and Drama come together for a session lead by guest speakers and that’s really the only time we see each other.
For the first year of my studies I lived 3 hours away and found it very difficult to really get stuck in and get started with my research. In the summer I moved down to the midlands so I could become more involved in the University and even then, still found it extremely challenging to do so.
Adapting to this new level of study, and this bizarre PGR status that neither puts you in the student nor the staff box of the University community, took me the best part of that first year to figure out. After moving, I discovered a new community I was previously unaware of: Loughborough PGR’s. They’re a friendly bunch, those I’ve met so far and I hope PGR gatherings appear quite a bit in my blogs.
For those who don’t know much about a PhD, it’s one big, very very VERY in-depth project which contributes new knowledge to a specific area of study, and it is normally completed over a 3 year period if studied full time. In reality, it’s intense. Many PGR’s are company sponsored or are awarded a studentship, which generally means course fees are paid for and the student receives a grant to cover their living expenses during their study.
I am a self-funded PGR, which comes with a number of extra challenges which I’m sure will come up in future blogs, but the positive of being self-funded is that allows me the flexibility to work part time and also do some teaching on the Undergraduate degree programme, which I really enjoy.
I have a part time job working for SNOOKS, a women’s ski and snowboarding outerwear company started by two Loughborough Graduates and I do their digital marketing work. I only started this job on 1st December but so far I’m really enjoying it and I work with a really fun and friendly team. I’m also a student ambassador, but I’ve not been able to get stuck into that role just yet.
I don’t have much free time juggling my course and part time jobs but I practice Yoga three times a week and I absolutely love it. It’s been so beneficial to find something I can do that allows my brain to completely turn off and although it’s a good workout it is also very relaxing and meditative, I’d definitely recommend it.
I hope this gives you a small insight into my life as a student at Loughborough and gives you a bit of the background info I will build on in future blogs.
Happy New Year wishes to you all,