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 twenty we meet Philosophy and Theology graduate Marcus.
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.
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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.
I'm Marcus Bailey, I was a student at Edinburgh University I was studying from 2016 to 2020, I was studying Philosophy and Theology at the School of Divinity. And now, I've moved down to Oxford, and I'm studying at Oxford University. And I'm doing an MST - so, a Master of Studies in Theology, but with a particular focus on New Testament. So I'm taking beyond the things I was learning at Edinburgh, and, you know, applying them in this kind of Master's context. So that's, that's really exciting for me.
I had this great opportunity to study Greek, um, at University, and I'd never, I'd never even planned to do that, you know, I went to Uni, I told all my teachers, you know, I know I'm doing theology. And I know, I know, you think I should be doing medicine or law or teaching. But you know, I'm doing Theology, but I promise, I will do something a bit more normal. And I said, I would do French. And I bought all the books, and I wanted to come and I wanted to do that as my third subject that you're allowed to do, at Edinburgh. And I went to the, to the staff who were organising it and he said, the French class is now full. And I said, Oh, no. He said, what other languages do you have? What, what else can I do? And he said, well, you can do kind of level seven Spanish, which, you know, for a broader audience, that would be the equivalent of advanced Higher; I'd no background in Spanish didn't want to do Spanish. So I said, What else do you have? says, and he says, well you can do New Testament Greek. And that's, that's where I ended up. So I mean, I stayed with it, and I, you know, I did my second end class test, and I failed it. And, you know, from that kind of, you know, downward point, I mean, I continued with it, and it went really well. And it became my favourite thing to do. And I suppose, studying that, along with, you know, other New Testament courses, those two things came together, for me to go on to do specifically a Masters.
I think a lot of the attractions or the the possibilities or opportunities that you would have at University - any University, but you know, especially in a place like Oxford, a lot of the not so much extra stuff, but things that are important to the fabric of the universities, you know, the social life or, you know, certain academic conferences, or meetings or groups that you can involve yourself with, those, those aren't as available, or, you know, if they are there on Zoom. That, that might make a person quite rightly think, well, maybe I'll pause for a year. But I think for me, you know, if you pause for a year, what, what else, what else? What else to do , in the sense that at least for me, I'm treating it almost like a job.
For me, it's not just a kind of academic thing. So I mean, I do. I mean, I am a Christian. So I mean, it's part of that bigger framework. So I suppose beyond that, you're not just thinking about these things, in a kind of very dry academic way, you know, for what, for me, at least what I'm studying, it allows you to go to those people, and to be a help to be, you're like that good samaritan that we, that most people are familiar with that person, and, you know, reach out and help others. And I think that's what I care about you know, I wouldn't say always do it successfully. Whatever we're studying, you know, whether it is Theology, and there is that practical concern, or whether you're studying Politics or Law, there should be that kind of reaching out such that there is there is a beyond that, that we can access. And I think in in doing that, that's the kind of cycle isn't it feeds off one another, you're learning. But then you're applying and you're living out. And then in that you're learning more, and you're learning by looking at others. You know, it's not just a case study in law. It's not just a kind of dry theological concept.
To go back to being in Edinburgh, I mean, I stayed at home. I mean, like a lot of Scottish students, particularly those of us who are based in the west of Scotland it is far more common to stay at home. So I was I was at home throughout the four years at Edinburgh. So this is actually my first time living away from home for any significant period of time, so I kind of delayed it for four years. And so so it was moving out and this time around and taking the train down with my suitcases. You know, I took the sleeper train thinking, Yeah, I'll pay a wee bit more and I'll get some sleep. I did not sleep. It was good. And it's been a I think it's been a real point of being pushed and to push out that comfort zone and, and it wasn't too bad moving, obviously a couple trips up and down. But it's been good. And I'm lucky, I'm staying with friends. So I'm not, I'm not actually in college accommodation or university accommodation. So there is that camaraderie and a freedom, I suppose that a lot of these accommodation blocks have been closed down. And, you know, we're fortunate we're not in that position, like other students at this time. So that's really good.
It is a bit challenging, because my friends who I'm living with, they've been here before, they were studying at Oxford last year, the year before, that kind of thing. So they knew all the ins and outs and all the places that you can go. And obviously, most of those places are closed at the minute. So I suppose the nice thing is that, you know, and taking that daily exercise that we're allowed, you you can, you can, you can go out and you can go for walks and, you know, it's quite nice. It's a bit like my hometown, in the sense that you're in Oxford, you know, you walk a little bit, and then there are fields, there's a lot of countryside around. So, you know, you just go 10 minutes out of the city and you're in the countryside. So you've got that you've got that both city and country. And I quite like that. I almost don't know what I'm missing out on I know what others would talk about. But at least for me, I mean, I'm just trying to, to get on with it to enjoy what I can enjoy. And there is a lot to enjoy. There's a lot there's so much to, to enjoy, and to discuss with people and to learn. And I think I think you do have to make the most of a difficult opportunity. Because I mean, it's an opportunity, but there are these kind of attendant circumstances that do change things up, that do make my experience quite different from the experience other people would have had. So I mean, I'm just trying to take it for what it is and embrace what's there, because there's really, there's nothing else for it. I mean, that's what my, that's what my parents would say, that kind of expression, there's nothing else for it. It is, it is difficult sometimes, I mean I wouldn't deny that I think for everybody, it is kind of difficult to maintain that calm and that focus and that that being centred. I suppose for me, it's just it's looking back and saying what I've been able to do in the past and taking some, I suppose, comfort from that some sense of well, you know, I've been able to do this in the past. And, you know, I can continue and pursue and go forward. I think for me, as well, I mean, I was mentioning earlier, I am a Christian, so I think for me, it is you know, being able to be with others and to, to sing and to pray - these disciplines, I mean, we would call them disciplines at least in the times when the Church has been on, there is that kind of regularity, and continuity, such that you are a bit more grounded in the world, you're not just in your head, you're not just in your studies, you know, there is a place you can go. So that that that for me has been very helpful.
If I, if I can stand on the stage and take the mic, yeah, I mean, I would say keep pushing, try and find those people who can talk and who have that freedom and desire to, to share their experiences and really learn from that, and not just learn from maybe their their kind of head knowledge, but learn from the kind of practical knowledge that they've acquired, and really take that to heart, and just by experience, learn these things, because there's such a danger that, you know, especially when in academia, you're just learning, you know, head knowledge- it's all in the head. But there is this practical knowledge, you know, we can share and discuss and grow, um, beyond beyond books, through conversation.
Sonia Mullineux (host) 8:44
We also ask our graduates to share a place somewhere special, somewhere, we can get together when all this has finished
A place of discussion, and I think it's a place where and whether that's home, whether that's the the marketplace, as it were, you know, that kind of place where people meet to discuss, for me, it would be home. For other people, it might be somewhere else. But that place where, you know, everyone can come back together, and chat and not just, I mean, the difficulty with staying home is the fact that you'd be very much within your own family, whereas I think for a lot of us, that's where we've been for quite a long time. So it was whether home would be the best but in the sense that having that place of extended conversation, that place where we as people who have been disparate and and flung all about over these past months, can come back and can you know, have that that face to face discussion that I think everyone has been missing. You know, I didn't realise how much I miss it until all that's happened. You know, because you think oh, well, I can do a Skype call. I can do a Zoom call, I can do these things. But when that's it, you know you think well there's something, there's something really inhuman about this. This is not how we're supposed to be. And so you're, that place. discussion that place of meeting and sharing - I think I think that has to be it.
Sonia Mullineux (host) 10:07
Thank you for listening. Join us next time for another graduate and another story.
Kirsten Roche 10:21
You're not on your own when it comes to planning for your future. Your University of Edinburgh community is here to support you. And this includes ongoing support for graduates from the Careers Service. Why not take a look at our website to find out more about how we can support you get the future you want. Go to ed.ac.uk/careers to get started
Transcribed by https://otter.ai