I started working on my dissertation words the end of July and had my research done before term had started. I was in a very comfortable position to focus on my other assignments, but they were tough. For most of first term I procrastinated writing one assignment with another but they were all done in time for the start of second term, including my full dissertation. Minus one of them, I had an intriguing time writing them all and still consider them pieces of art. One of the best units I was lucky to do was Body, Sexuality and Culture. The unit challenged my perceptions of normativity to new levels and I thoroughly relished all the reading, every lecture and discussions for it. It is the assignments from that unit I share below alongside some short essays from a unit called Sociological Imagination, which in itself was split into four incredibly thought provoking smaller units.
BA (Hons) Sociology
I officially started my BA (Hons) Sociology degree on 23rd September 2013. Excited does not quite capture the emotion, but it instantly felt like home. I knew I had finally found the right discipline for me and I could not wait to start learning!
Three years later, having been on an incredible journey, I graduated with a First Class Honours Degree on the 26th July 2016. My degree certificate and transcript now remain among my most prized possessions.
In my first year I had very little theoretical knowledge in Sociology, I had the very basic foundations of A-Level education that I had done 5 years earlier and that was it. It was a steep learning curve but I enjoyed every minute of it. None of my assignments were anything special that year, however I did pass every unit with Firsts. Below is an example of one of my final assignments, just because I find it fascinating how my writing has developed since then:
I had a very eventful summer between the end of year 1 and the start of year 2, midst working and extra-curricular activities I read what felt like half of the library. Apropos of nothing, simply because new content had been added, I sat in on the first year theory unit as well as my second year one that year. I also picked up an extra module in Beginners Spanish which I passed but now barely remember. Needless to say, I had a busy timetable but I would not have wanted it any other way. I was proud of most of my assignments in Year 2, it was fascinating to write them all because I spent the year experimenting with different writing styles. I learnt a lot from doing them. My qualitative methods assignment was perhaps the start of my love for doing my own research, though transcribing interviews changed my view on emailing forever more.
I was inducted to the
team in June 2016 and officially joined them in October 2016 when I joyously started the associated MPhil course within the University of Cambridge’s Sociology department. The course was 50% taught and 50% research, however, both aspects ran in parallel to each other in the first two terms, and the final term was dedicated to writing up my dissertation.
My dissertation was entitled ‘A factor-finding search based on decision making surrounding Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis in the United Kingdom’. My researched aimed to explore the extent to which attitudes surrounding genetic disease and disability influence decision making towards utilising PGD in the UK. I was interested in investigating the personal thoughts, beliefs, and opinions of individuals who either have a genetic condition or are a parent/child of an individual with a genetic condition as I wanted to hear from individuals who could potentially use the technology.
I was awarded a Newton-College Masters Studentship for my MPhil degree, which I was later conferred for on 22nd July 2017 with a High Pass. My PhD research builds upon my MPhil research findings.
The first time I presented at an academic conference was with the research team for the Learner Disengagement Project I was recruited for in the second year of my BA, in a workshop.
My first solo presentation was at RAISE’s annual conference in 2015, and was on the Gamification of Moodle.
In September 2016 I had a poster presentation at RAISE’s annual conference which was titled Excellence in Student Engagement: It’s the Small things that make the Difference.
I did my first roundtable presentation at the British Sociological Association’s Annual Conference in April 2017 based on the findings from my MPhil research. The presentation was titled ‘Exploring the ethical decisions surrounding preimplantation genetic diagnosis in the United Kingdom’.
BSA 2017 Leaflet