Take all opportunities available as and when they come into your life – don’t focus so harshly on a strict career plan!
Start small and start local! Make sure you have liability insurance, look for agencies, and be disciplined about time management.
Don’t spend all your time working!

Dr Jennifer Harrison

BA English Literature and Language, 2001-2005

PhD in Children’s and Victorian literature, 2005-2009

Adjunct professor at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania

Working freelance as a Copy-editor, as well as writing a blog in her spare time

Studied alongside a variety of jobs including working at the library, a local bookstore, as a cleaner, and in the Cwrt Mawr offices. After falling in love with Aberystwyth, she continued to work with the university after graduating, starting as an administrator in the Human Resources department then moving on to the Estates department.

Moved back to London and worked as a Personal Assistant and Human Resources Administrator for the Aeronautics Department at Imperial College whilst working on gaining a GTP (Graduate Teacher Programme) However after having children, Jennifer switched career to home tutoring for more flexible work, and moved to America to accommodate growing family needs.

Currently 4 years in to 5 year goal of becoming a full time professor, teaching professional skills like CV writing as well as the occasional Literature class. Jen is also currently working on an edited collection on Winnie-the-Pooh for the University Press of Mississippi, and has a forthcoming monograph on YA dystopia for Lexington Books. She has recently published papers on Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Neil Gaiman.

ESU Profile | Personal Blog | Work Blog

BA English and Creative Writing,
2002- 2006

MA Criticism and Theory, Exeter, 2007

PhD English Studies, Exeter, 2011; became a teaching fellow during studies

Lecturer at Birmingham University in contemporary literature and digital cultures, 2014-2017; Senior Lecturer, 2017 onward

Co-director at the Centre for Digital Cultures, 2016 onward

Take a year off after BA, or at least do a part-time masters.
When choosing your research subject, make sure you LOVE the subject or your motivation will lapse.
Know your field, find a niche for academic originality, and outline how your specific research will make a difference to the world!

Dr Matt Hayler

Worked at a local butchers alongside studies and still misses Aberystwyth. Matthew describes self-funding both MA and PhD as overwhelming, and found it took about a year after his MA just to process everything he’d learnt.

Matthew’s current research focuses on Transhumanism (a philosophy that welcomes human modification to adapt and evolve using technology; eg. prosthetic limbs, implants, pace makers, or hearing aids could all be considered cyborg-esq. means of living/ evolving) and Posthumanism (a philosophy that challenges Humanism; questions whether humans are of primary importance in a global/ environmental/ philosophical context). This interest and career decision was inspired by Professor Matthew Jarvis’ research and teachings in Marxism and Ecocriticism, and will be developed in his next publication that explains the many differences between terms regarding humanism.

Matthew describes the research/ teaching/ admin balance outlined in the majority of teaching contracts with universities to be 1/3 of each. However, in reality, administrative duties of research lecturers are huge, and the line between work/ non-work time can become very quickly blurred. Because of this, it is difficult to quantify how much time is spent on each responsibility. This is a balance all lecturers and teachers struggle with, and it is important to be aware of this workload if you’re interested in entering the profession.

PHD Thesis | BU profile | Published book

There are days when I think you just have to push through the pain barrier and keep working. Occasionally the difficulty is that you’re working through a problem that needs to be solved, and if you keep going you might have a breakthrough moment… or you could feel like you’ve made no progress.
You just have to keep showing up until you get it right.

Alysia Webster

BA in Fine Art, 2013-2016

MA in Fine Art, 2017-2018

Practising Artist, currently exhibiting work in the group exhibition Another Line to Follow, Aberystwyth School of Art

Since graduating, Alysia has partaken in 7 group exhibitions, been featured in 4 publications, and sold numerous paintings. Her work ‘aims to recreate the feeling of being immersed in the landscape, and the ever-changing weather against the quiet, unyielding mass of the mountains.’ She draws on experiences from different places and landscapes, allowing them to blend and collide in her lively abstract oil paintings.

Some of the exhibitions and publications Alysia has featured in include: Pikchur Mag, WotisArt December 2018 Edition, and ‘Ones to watch’ exhibition at Sunny Bank Mills.

Website | Instagram