Each episode is a snapshop, a moment, a sneak inside the minds of our graduates. Season one talks to our 2020 graduates about how things are going, or not going, for them. In episode nineteen we meet Religious Studies graduate Kirsty.
Each month we meet five more graduates. Subscribe now and find out what everyone is up to and how they feel about this weird and unpredictable time.
All opinions expressed are those of the individual and do not necessarily reflect those of the University of Edinburgh.
Multi Story Edinburgh has been created and produced by the Alumni Relations team at the University of Edinburgh. If you are interested in telling your story, please get in touch and let's talk.
Music: Since When by Mise Darling.
Sonia Mullineux (host) 0:07
This is a snapshot, a moment, a sneak inside the minds of our graduates. This is season one, class of 2020.
So I'm Kirsty I did Religious Studies at Edinburgh. Um, now I am currently halfway through my PGDE, which stands for Postgraduate Diploma of Education, which is basically your teaching degree, um, that you can do after an undergraduate degree to be an RE teacher, so to teach religious studies to secondary school aged children. I remember in primary school, and then early high school, I thought I wanted to maybe do primary teaching, but I was never set on what I wanted to do. And then I think when I was at Edinburgh doing my undergrad, I think it was more my like passion for the subject for religious studies is what made me want to teach. So I think they often say for teaching you either do it because you really want to work with kids, or you're really passionate about your subject. I'm probably more on the subject side. But like, I do really like working with kids as well so I feel like it's quite good, like, blend of them both, has like made me want to do it.
Um, when I was at school, I remember people being like, well, why'd you do RE like, I'm personally I'm not religious either. So they're like, why'd you learn about religion, but it's more just about learning about all these different cultures, belief systems around the world, rather than, like the point of RE is not to make anyone believe in anything or to convince anybody what's right or wrong. But it's more learning about lots of different ideas from different people. And then I think RE as well, it involves a lot more than just religion. So we cover moral issues. So we looked at very current things like Black Lives Matter we've looked at um, the death penalty, we look at LGBT rights, we look at medical ethics. Like there's so many different things that you cover within RE. When I've been on placement as part of my course, like the kids will have like different areas. They're like, Oh, actually, this is really interesting, or Oh, this is relevant to my own life, or Oh I've seen this on the news. So I think it's something that we all need to learn a bit more about. So I feel like there's so many misconceptions surrounding religion as well. So most of my degree, I studied Islam, like I took a lot of Islam courses from the Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies Department at George Square. In my course now, it's been my favourite thing to teach, it's possibly in my opinion anyway, like, the religion that people have the most misconceptions about. And you always see like negative things about it in the news, and then I think if you actually just stop a minute and actually look into what these people actually believe, it's probably quite different from what a lot of people imagine.
In between second and third year, I think, was when I decided I really wanted to do it. Because in third year of uni, I started to do quite a lot of like volunteering and things like that. And they were mostly based around like, young people, um, and like helping people and things. So it's kind of to help with my application, um, for the post grad course. So I did quite a lot like I volunteered in, like, Welcome Week, which is really fun, like showing round, the new first years. Um, I volunteered with this really amazing organisation called LEAPS, which is Lothian Equal Access for Schools, I'll always promote them wherever I can. So my course that I'm doing just now it's actually from the University of Strathclyde, but I've never been on the Strathclyde campus, it's all been online. So all our lectures have been online. And then our placements, I got quite a local school that was just like 10 minute drive away from home. So I was there for my teaching.
Um, so obviously, it's a bit strange. I've never met anyone on my course in person. It's like, obviously, when I went on placement as well, like we were all wearing masks and like telling the kids to keep washing your hands and stuff, which was also a little bit different from like, I doubt they'll have had to do that in previous years, but, um it's been a good experience, and it'll give me something to write about in my essays and talk about in interviews in the future and things like that. So we've been able to talk about everything that's going on in the world, like when I've been on placement, I feel like RE's a really good subject to like, have a bit of discussion and debate about all these big issues. So I was teaching a lesson on Islam and the pilgrimage to Mecca. And one of the kids said, Oh, but, what but this year, were they allowed to go and I was like, Ah, well, here's what I prepared earlier, I'd made up the slide for the class already. And it was like a picture of what happened this year. And normally, there's like 3 million people go and this year, there was only a few thousand were allowed to go. And it was all socially distanced and they're all wearing masks and stuff. So that's quite interesting that you could sort of bring it in.
I mean, it's weird for everyone this year. But I think because I finished Uni, and then we didn't get to have our Ball. We didn't get to graduate. Like we didn't get any of this stuff. So I feel like we didn't really finish Uni very, like properly. So I was saying to one of my friends, like we had our last class together, but we didn't even know it was our last class at the time. It was like we had a class one week and then the next week everything was cancelled. And then again, everyone thought it was going to be over in like three weeks or something and that's still not happened yet. So it first got announced and everything and we kind of figured out graduation wasn't gonna happen and people were quite upset. I was like, Oh no, like, what like people had bought like their outfits for the day and they'd planned who they were going to bring with them and stuff like that. But um I think at the time, we were all like I made a group chat with all like the fourth years in New College and we were like, right, what are we going to do? Um and our like the Head of School wanting to know as well, if it's been postponed, would you want to do it in the winter? Would you want to do it next summer? Um and most people were like, let's do it next summer. So it'll be nice weather. And we'll get to be with our friends who are like currently in their last year now, and it was all going to be great. But then now obviously, I don't, that's not going to happen either. So I'm kind of moving on from it. I think like, I mean, if there was the opportunity to graduate, I would go I would do it, because it's unexperienced. It's like a once in a lifetime thing. But, um, if that time has passed, and we have to move on, then I can deal with that as well.
So I've just been like facetiming friends a lot. And like I've got a friend who's doing a Master's and it's similar to me - it's from a Uni, I can't remember, what University it is, one down south like Birmingham or something like that. And she's been able to do all online from home. So she's saved so much money by not needing to move out, which has been ideal. So I feel like, obviously, as a whole, it's awful. But for some specific situations, I feel like that some things have been made a little bit better. Like I doubt anyone could have said you could have done a teaching degree online. But now, over halfway through the course and I've done it all online so far, and it's been absolutely fine. And I've not needed to commute through to Glasgow or anything like that. So I would say like to anyone who's maybe still at Uni, or people who've graduated, as best as you can try and just go with the flow. I think there's not much point getting, like, stressed out about things now, I think. I think when all this started, everyone was going a bit crazy and like freaking out, like what's going to happen? I think now, it's probably easiest to just sort of take it in your stride and try and make the best of a bad situation. I do think I'm very lucky though, in that, like, I'm doing my postgrad in teaching which is like a really solid career to get into. Um whereas obviously like I do have friends who've graduated from Uni, they just don't know like there's not anything to do so people are struggling to get jobs and stuff so I'm very aware that I'm in like very privileged position that I know what I'm doing and things are going well for me. So yeah, kind of remind myself of that quite often as well because like you often see like things about Oh, these students have no jobs they don't know what to do with themselves and things like that, which is quite that's definitely tricky. So I definitely feel for people who are in that situation as well.
Sonia Mullineux (host) 7:14
We also ask our graduates to share a place somewhere special somewhere we can get together when all this has finished.
I don't know if it's a bit of a basic answer, but I think I would go to just Princes Street Gardens as long as the sun is shining. So I feel like in Edinburgh when the sun's shining the atmosphere is different it's nice. Everyone's happy, it just seems like such a lovely place. Like I love Edinburgh, but in the sun it's always better. Um, and Princes Street Gardens I think is so nice because I remember, well I'm from just outside Edinburgh. So when I was at school, going into Edinburgh was like we didn't do very often it was a bit of a treat like this exciting place. And then obviously when I was in Uni I was like there all the time. And as well like New College - the building for Divinity and Religious Studies - is just above Princes Street Gardens, so I basically walked through Princes Street Gardens every day from my bus to get up to New College, and it was just so lovely, I loved it. Especially in the summer when the weather was nice and there'd be people out sunbathing, ice cream and things like that. I would love to spend a bit more time there.
Sonia Mullineux (host) 8:14
Thank you for listening. Join us next time for another graduate and another story.
Kirsten Roche 8:29
Wherever you are with planning for your future, the Career Service is here to support you. As a recent graduate, you can continue to use all of our services, including full access to My Career Hub, online appointments with our career consultants, our full calendar of employer events and support with the application process. Find out more at edd.ac.uk forward slash careers.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai