Olivia Smith’s Experience with the Western Front Association (WFA)

Student at Essex University, Olivia Smith, was lucky enough to obtain an internship at the Western Front Association. The Western Front Association (WFA) in a non-profit organisation which insist on furthering  interest in World War I, also known as the First World War, the Great War, or the War to End All Wars in 1914-1918. The WFA aims to perpetuate the memory, courage and comradeship of those on all sides who served their countries in France and Flanders and their own countries during the Great War. In this interview, she not only shares her experience, but portrays her thoughts and feelings on her experience with the WFA.

What it entailed?

“So, it wasn’t the usual process for an internship I took initiative. In August I went over to Belgium with my Dad for the centenary events commemorating the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele). Upon the main event, we were escorted to the main Passchendaele museum grounds in Zonnenbeke and there I was so inspired as to how people there were able to be a part of such a historical event. After the commemorations at Tyne Cott, we went back to the Passchendaele museum grounds and there I went around the tents exploring the historical companies who were there.

One was the Commonwealth War Grave Commission of which I simply enquired as to who I could speak in regards to internships.Unfortunately, they hadn’t at the time set up that area within their business. We moved onto the Western Front Association (WFA) tent, it was very busy, but I enquired to those who were working there about internships and they pointed me into the direction of Andy Tonge ,European Officer, who was busy at the time. I took a business card and exchanged emails coming away with some hope.

xxxx.jpgOnce I had gotten home I immediately emailed Andy and expressed my desire to work within a historical event that focusses on public History, and teaching History to the masses through new modern forms. A few days later I received an email and at first, a phone call had been arranged to discuss what I could do. I had been told I was put forward on the main WFA meeting agenda so I knew it was serious. From the phone call, I knew exactly what was done, they had created this internship for me. Following this, was a meeting in London which confirmed the details? ”

What did your internship entail?

“The internship itself was first discussed on the phone call/meeting was that a relationship whereby the WFA provide me with something that can benefit myself as a young Historian, look good on my CV ,but also something that the WFA can benefit from. What Andy had proposed that I design a booklet about a piece of land the WFA owns on the Somme. This piece of land is called ‘The Butte De Warlencourt’, situated along the road between Albert and Bapume it is the furthest place that the British and Commonwealth forces reached during the 1916 Somme offensive.

I am (still in the process) to create a booklet containing this historical information, to then

A) have it published by the WFA and be an accredited Historian

B) have extracted from the booklet to go up around the site of The Butte De Warlencourt, so when tourists, schools etc. visit they will have information boards (of my work) to read up on.”

How you found it and what were you ‘day-to-day’ jobs/task?

“What was required of me was to dig deep, look into the History of the Butte, before 1914, during the start of the war, The Somme, and the events that followed. For me, this involved three days in the Imperial War Museum sifting through regimental diaries, personal letters, diaries, photos to piece together what it was like around the Butte during the First World War. Some of the accounts were amazing, just reading through certain diaries really puts you in their shoes and their experiences. This mainly got underway around September time, and I was doing the research and putting together the text for the booklet whilst I was still at home and working as a waitress; my luck of doing split shifts meant I had the daytime free to work.”

“I want to go into areas of Public History that communicate and most importantly educate History to the masses…”

Does this experience fit it in with your future career?

“This type of work certainly fits in with the idea of my future career. I’ve realised that in our modern world we have to change the way we teach History, so I want to go into areas of Public History that communicate and most importantly educate History to the masses- whether this is through media etc. I am determined to find a way.”

Did you enjoy your time working there?

“I am still working with the WFA, this is something that will carry on until next summer. However, I am also a member so that means I can join the WFA over in Ypres for the final centenary months next year, and for as long as I may wish. Many people told me when I was in Ypres two weekends ago, that I am the new generation of Historians who will be taking over, and I think it is important to keep History alive.”

Would you recommend this internship?

“I would highly recommend taking that initiative and asking, I believe I was lucky, however it has inspired me to always take that choice and ask because you really do not know until you ask.”

How were the people you worked with?xx

Andy Tonge was just amazing, he gave/gives me a lot of advice if required, and it is all very independent quite like doing a dissertation through choice, so I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting all the people behind the scenes of the WFA yet. Although, going over to Ypres did help in obtaining new contacts, and meeting new people who would benefit from my historical career.”

How do you feel about your experience?

“Lucky. That is probably the best way to describe it. Not many opportunities like this come up and this really is something that I believe can kick-start my career.”

What have you learned through this internship?

“I’ve learned to view History differently in a way. To really focus in on the micro-history, as that’s where the interesting stories lie. It is very similar my required task, as to what a certain assignment could be like so I’ve tried to not to make it seem so unknown by treating it like a piece of coursework.”

What was one of the best moments of your experience?

“Standing in a trench in Shrewsbury Forrest, nearly knee-deep in watery mud (thank god I always carry my Hunters in my car as you don’t know when they would be required), exploring where the German front line was on 31st July 1917. That and bringing back to life the soldiers who fought during the “Great War”, as the unquiet histories really should be brought back to life.”

Who should I contact if I want an internship in the Western Front Association?

“Andy Tonge (office@westernfrontassociation.com) or just email the WFA, they are a very welcoming historical association”.

How did the university help you with your endeavors?

“The History Department was fantastic in the fact that they helped with fees when I went over to Belgium, so as a student that really took off some stress and made the opportunity for me to go over for the 99th Armistice more possible.”



MA Students at The University of Essex previously completed a placement at the Essex County Hospital supported by the local NHS Trust. Through various interviews, which will be posted fortnightly, they share their experiences and thoughts on the placement. Deborah Wiltshire, is next to share her experience.

1)Could you tell us about the placement that you took part in and why you wanted to do this placement?

The project is based on the at the Essex County Hospital which closes next year. The project is to archive as many materials from the hospital before it closes, including photos, records and other materials.

I wanted to do the placement to get some work experience, well I have many years of work experience, but not in the field of history so I really wanted to gain some experience there and it just sounded like a good and interesting project. At the very start of the project, it was nice to see how the project got off the ground and I wanted the experience really.

2)What was your favourite part of the placement?

I have two favourites. I have really enjoyed working with the team at Essex County Hospital (ECH) as they are just really nice and enthusiastic and they have been a real pleasure to get to know and to work with. I also just really enjoy rummaging through boxes of photos and find it fascinating. I will happily rummage through photographs for hours anyway.

3)What did you learn from your placement?

So far, I am just part way through so I think that I like learning about the history of medicine. I have done a module on medicine last semester so I was already interested in that area so it was nice to see more modern history especially how the hospital, medical equipment and nurse’s uniforms have evolved. This has been fascinating to learn and will be an area that I want to find out more about.

4)Did you have any exciting or interesting things happen during your placement?

The most interesting thing has been to get the website going, nothing dramatic has happened luckily but it has been interesting because although I deal with social media for work I never actually see something start from scratch like ECH so that has been nice. I have found it interesting to watch.

5)What would you say to any students who are considering doing a placement?

I would say that it is definitely worth doing and it is very interesting. It is also a good opportunity to get some work experience especially if you are younger and have not been in the workplace before. I also think that then it is a valuable way for someone to get work experience especially if research, especially, historical research is something you want to aim for. It is always important to get some experience on your CV as early as you can.

I think that it is fascinating, you find things that you don’t expect to find and if you do a standard dissertation you have a set idea of what you are going to do but with a placement, it evolves a little bit more naturally and that is a good experience to have.

6)Do you have any advice for students thinking about doing a placement?

I think my main advice is quite practical. I would advise that as you go along through your placement that you keep a journal so that any thoughts or feelings you have at that time you write down.

We all think that we will remember stuff a couple of months after we do it but the reality is that we don’t. that would be my biggest piece of advice to keep lots of notes so that you can relax and enjoy your placement as you go along and if you have a level of detail in a journal, then it will write itself and it will make writing up a lot easier.

7)Was there anything that you would have like to be told before you started your placement, that could be useful to future students?

No, I don’t think so. The projects were quite clearly presented so I think in that sense we knew what we needed to do but perhaps for future students to help outline on timetables especially for full-time students the time is quite short so to have a structured timetable might be useful.

8)Has doing your placement influenced any career planning that you might have?

Yes, quite possibly. I have thought about changing disciplines which is why I am doing an MA in the first place but I don’t know if it has my changed my plan wildly. It has confirmed that I would like to make changes once I have finished my placement and MA so it has confirmed what I had in mind.

For more information, or if you are interested in doing a placement please contact Alix Green on alix.green@essex.ac.uk.

Need Help? Contact The Talent Development Centre !

Do you need help with your assignments, or just want to strengthen certain skills ? No need to fear, Essex’s Talent Development Centre can assist you.

The Talent Development Centre is a service at The University of Essex, which offers help with work or any chosen identified skills/talents. The Talent Development Centre also offers a service which identifies your talent and strengths for development and help can xalso be offered for development in the form or a workshop, one on one session, online resources, and more. This service is offered to every student studying at The University of Essex, and offers mathematical and English support with research for UK, EU or International students. As well as this, The Talent Development Centre offers Peer Assisted Learning schemes, so you can ‘be the best you can be’.

Our History Frontrunner, Nanette, set up her own appointment with the Talent Development Centre and she has shared her experience in this blog post.

Nanette’s Talent Development Centre Log

2/11/17 – Talent Development Centre was contacted – I emailed them enquiring an interview

2/11/17 – 12:08 – TDC head office- passed on message to applicable person

2/11/17- 13:41 – TDC answered – easier to come in but emailed them a time and date and were able to book m in for my chosen date and time which was 11:30 on 9th November 2017 for half an hour.

9/11/17-11:30 –Was interviewed by Christopher – 1:1 session – He read my work thoroughly and gave me constructive criticism.

9/11/17- 12:00- Finished interview and was given feedback sheet.

What Nanette liked about the experience?

The Talent Development Centre was very fast at answering my email. They answered on the same day. I was also able to book an appointment for my chosen day very fast, so I recommend to anyone who is looking to book their appointment for something which is due quite soon to still try their chances at booking with the Talent Development Centre, but leave at least a week before due assignment just in case as the Talent Development Centre can get very busy especially for one-to-one sessions. I was told that the easiest way to see someone and book an appointment in minimal time was to actually go to the Talent Development Centre (so if you need their help urgently go see them in the Student Centre).

What I also liked was that I was sat down in a one on one session with a PhD student called Christopher, who not only gave me advice about my blog writing skills (what I initially came to ask for), but also advice on how to elevate my writing skills in my essays to a more academic and professional style, something which will not only benefit me in my third year but also in any of my future endeavours.  One thing which Christopher said which stuck with me was that it doesn’t matter if you mix 1st and 3rd as it adds more xxnarrative. I also liked that Christopher was a PhD student. This meant he had been in my position, as a 3rd year, not so long ago, and understood the trouble juggling tasks as well as trying to strengthen a skill. This meant his advice was not only student-focused but also revolved around how I could build my blog writing skills keeping in mind time management and organisation for other work.

Christopher also informed me that the Talent Development Centre can also help with assignment preparation, assignment presentation, organisation, structure and arguments language, style and expression as well as non-academic texts like emails, letters, filling in forms and blogs!

” I could put any suggestions forward to improve the service that the Talent Development  Centre was issuing to student such as myself, younger or older. “

Last, but certainly not least I liked that I was always asked if I understood what was going on and if I felt comfortable with the advice and positive constructive criticism I was receiving. At the end of my session I was given a feedback sheet which first asked me to rate my experience at the Talent Development Centre  (very helpful, helpful and not helpful), but also asked if I could put any suggestions forward to improve the service that the Talent Development  Centre was issuing to student such as myself, younger or older.

Advice Nanette was given by Christopher for her blog writing

  1. Title – Grab the reader
  2. Narrative questions – This engages the audience
  3. Doesn’t matter if mix first person or 3rd person – ‘quoting’- This gives the piece life
  4. Short and sweet answers – summarise answers, as it keeps the reader’s attention
  5. Order of presenting answers – beginning and the end must be the most important questions

What they offer TDC tdcdccc

  • Check you’re on track
  • Getting more out of your study
  • Creating something new
  • Building current skills
  • English and Maths development
  • Analyse, discuss, succeed
  • Say more with writing


Contact Talent Development Centre

The Silberrad Student Centre

Ground Floor

Open 10am-4pm Monday –Friday


Twitter: https://twitter.com/UoE_TDC

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/uniofessextdc

Website: https://www1.essex.ac.uk/students/study-resources/tdc/


Email: tdc-helpdesk@essex.ac.uk

Phone: 01206 874834


MA work placements: An interview with Kyle Cameron-Symes

A number of our MA students have recently completed work placements which made use of their unique skills as historians.  In the first of three interviews with our MA students, we talk to Kyle Cameron-Symes, who secured a place at the Essex County Hospital. He shares his experiences below.

Could you tell us about your placement at Essex County Hospital. Why did you choose this placement?

Initially, I first heard about the placement through my MA. With another student, Deborah Wiltshire, we were tasked with recording the two-hundred year history of Essex County Hospital as it is closing down in 2018. I was enthusiastic when I saw the placement being offered as MA students, like me, were needed to collate the history of the Hospital. I thought it would be good to work with an external organisation, and to engage with the public on such a great project.

What was your favourite part of the placement?

I must say that my favourite part was engaging with the public, and working in a team. This included meetings with people from the NHS Trust and setting up a website. I enjoyed this, especially because we were all working to a common goal. Also, I enjoyed hearing recordings on the website, from nurses working in the 1960s and 70s, which wouldn’t have been available for the public to hear without the website.

What did you learn from your placement?

I learnt a lot even though it was only three months long. One of the things I learned was the value of teamwork, especially in a hospital within the NHS. Working with others was a crucial skill, and something that I would take away from the placement. As well as this, time management was something crucial as the project required meeting at specific times with the NHS Trust. All the skills that I learned were vital, transferable, and very important when it comes to employability.

What was the most exciting thing to happen during your placement?


One of the most interesting things was that Dr Alix Green spoke to Dave Monk on his show on BBC Essex Radio to advertise and explain the project. This showed the project was getting off the ground. It was interesting to listen to, and was a proud moment of mine during the placement.

” I would say get in early, and start asking questions and even look at people who have done placements before”

What would you say to any students who are considering doing a placement?

The placement for me was a fantastic opportunity, and I am glad they offered it however; I would say to think about why you want to do the placement, and make sure that this is what you want to do. You could do this by contacting the department, and the placement coordinator as well as Alix Green. I would say get in early, and start asking questions and even talk to people who have done placements before.

Get to know the people involved early, so you know whether this is the route for you or not. As well as this, learn more about the placement which is important at the start. Lastly, read what the specific placement requires, mine focused on social media and blogs, so if you are passionate about these things, enquire for this or your specific interest when you apply. Make sure you read the criteria when you apply for it.

Has doing your placement influenced your career plans?

Doing the placement has made me realise how much I would love to do a PhD. I would also love to develop this through researching Essex County Hospital in more detail. I also learnt a lot of skills whilst working with the NHS Trust. I also learnt how to use historical sources as resources; all which I enjoyed can be transferred to my future career.

For more information, or if you are interested in doing a placement please contact Alix Green on alix.green@essex.ac.uk


Tackling Gender Inequality in the History Department

Before Christmas, the History Department here at the University of Essex submitted an application for a Bronze Award from the Equality Challenge Unit’s Athena SWAN programme. We’ll find out at the end of April if we are successful, but I thought I’d provide some thoughts as to why we applied and give some background to the award we are applying for.

Athena SWAN began a programme to increase women’s participation in the STEMM subjects: Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine. These subjects were traditionally male dominated at every level, but research showed that women were less likely than men to reach to the level of academic members of staff and even less likely to get to the top of their profession and become a Professor. The Athena SWAN programme was designed to help those subjects overcome such gender inequality. Since its launch in 2005, academic Departments in STEMM subjects have been able to apply for an award that proves their commitment to ensuring women have an equal chance of succeeding as men. Athena SWAN is not concerned with favouring women over men, but rather understanding the cultural and workplace factors that have traditionally benefited men and discriminated against women. You can read more about the principles behind Athena Swan here. Since 2013, Athena SWAN has been expanded to cover the Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, Business and Law (AHSSBL) disciplines, and in 2014 the University of Essex was one of only five Universities to receive an award for work expanding the aims of Athena SWAN into all subject areas. Two staff members from the History Department were involved in the Self-Assessment Process.

At first glance, the History Department might not seem to have the same issues as STEMM areas. After all, there are many more women working in history than in the sciences. In fact, History here at Essex has had three female Heads of Department since 1993 – very few Departments across the country could equal that figure. There are also a lot more female history students than in many of the STEMM subjects. Yet many workplace cultures have the same problems: structures that seem to benefit those with characteristics usually associated with men (such as ‘self-assertiveness’ and ‘confidence’).

So for gender equality to come in the workplace we need a system which encourages and rewards all the activities of all staff and which seeks to both eliminate the barriers to women’s careers and provides a supportive atmosphere that allows people to flourish. This is where Athena SWAN comes in. Since 2014, the University of Essex has worked hard as part of its Institutional Bronze Award to change the structures and practices that entrench gender bias. For example, an analysis of the pay of Professorial staff led the University to announce in 2015-16 that it would remove the gender pay gap at Professorial level by raising female professors’ pay rise – the first University to do this.  These actions can be attributed directly to the University’s desire to tackle inequality on campus and outside it: and it is these values that underpin the University’s support for Departments applying for Athena SWAN recognition.

So when the History Department thought about Athena SWAN we were aware that traditional working cultures have been inherently discriminatory against women. We also knew that of the senior Professors in the Department, nearly all of them are men. But we wanted to find out if there any barriers to women succeeding in our Department, and to tear them down if there were. Quite simply, we must be able to honestly state that men and women have genuinely equal chances of promotion, and that the excellent staff in the Department are properly rewarded for the work they did.

We also wanted to be absolutely confident that we were providing our students with a learning environment that was supportive of everyone. So the process of applying for our award involved us investigating if there were any barriers to the success of our students. This started with the realisation that of the students studying History at Essex, rather fewer of them were women than might be expected by looking at both the subject nationally and at other Departments in the University. Across the country, around 55% of History students are women. At Essex, that figure is around 45%. Not a vast difference perhaps, but one that made us think: was there more we could do to ensure women wanted to apply to study here?

So, we seemed to be confronted by some key facts, or rather one basic fact – we didn’t have as many women as men either teaching modules or taking them. So we thought we should try to understand why this was the case and to think about ways of dealing with it. For the historians here at Essex, it was an affront to our core values that inequality might exist in a Department that prides itself in researching the history of ‘ordinary’ people and their struggles in the world. In a future post, I’ll describe how we did this, but I’ll finish here at the point when we had taken the first and most important step: understanding that there was a problem and taking the responsibility both for the fact that the problem existed and for dealing with it – because nothing changes unless people are prepared to work together in order to bring that change about. As of March 2017, no History Department in England holds an Athena SWAN award. We hope that changes very soon.

Matthew Grant, convener of the History Department Athena SWAN self-assessment team.

Is University for Me?

Growin Up. A very lovely song by Bruce Springsteen, but also the thought we all have as first years once we arrive at University and realize that maybe this part of life may not be for us. It’s scary, isn’t it? Regretting your choice of course or picking that one optional with statistics thinking you can figure out what that’s all about.
How did we get here anyway? Oh. Yeah. We wanted to be here. Remember that on-going conversation with your parents and your teachers in your last year of high school.

  • What do you want to study at university?
  • History, I think. But I’m also torn between Modern History or just the usual degree. Or maybe adding Politics or International Relations in the mix and doing a joint degree? I just don’t know yet which of these, if any, are worth over 9,000 pounds a year.
  • And which universities have you looked at so far?
  • A lot really. But Essex is my top choice. It just has everything I need as far as I can tell. Once I will go to an Open Day I will be able to make a final decision. Although it’s got my full attention so far, you never know what else I can find out then.

A conversation all of us have at some point right? But how do we make sure it will lead us where we want to be at the end of 3 or 4 years of higher education?

  • Be at least 90% sure that university is for you!

If you start the application process, there is no going back really. But be certain when you start applying that university is for you! When you’re picking your course, when you’re writing down your 5 universities, when you’re applying for accommodation. And talk to people, to everyone really, your teachers, your parents, your siblings, current students, alumni, anyone you can think of. Ask them questions. Once you arrive here you can really start trusting the phrase “No questions is too stupid” The more you talk the more confident you’ll be about your choice of course and everything that comes along with it. Try to calm your anxiety the best you can and most importantly make sure that the final choice is your own!

  • Think of the course not the university!

Top universities are nice, sure, okay. But you’d be surprised at how many of them are rubbish at teaching certain subjects. Look into how good they are at your course not at how high they stand on the annual review. After all, you’ll be studying your subject not just walking about the university all day every day. I knew that Essex is one of few universities in the country who takes a unique approach to History and offers so many joint degrees with it, best known for their excellence in independent research projects. Don’t forget to also look up where they stand on the student satisfaction survey. Essex prides itself in this department, with 90% of students saying they are satisfied with their course – well above the national average of 86%.

  • A researcher or a lecturer?

Personally, this was the toughest. Most universities focus only on one between the two: research or teaching. Research universities tend to be better perceived because of the prestige that comes along with that title. They involve themselves in projects, activities, international conferences, and by association their students as well. But this way you will spend less time in lectures, seminars, classes and maybe that’s your best way of learning new information. If you don’t find yourself attracted by group projects, internships or different employment schemes opt for a teaching university. All in all, both types are hard to make a schedule around, but as long as you enjoy it, you’ll be graduating in no time!

  • Make sure that those 5 universities fit you!

I knew from the moment I started reading the prospectus that University of Essex was for me. The message they sent out to applicants: “rebels with a cause”, “challenge the status quo” and the international community they grow each year is what motivated me to have the best personal statement and best academic results possible. Although 50 years may not seem like much, it was enough for this university to make a name for itself which I am sure students, alumni and anyone who has ever had the opportunity to get to know this campus and our family along with it, will never forget. If you choose University of Essex you will be far from disappointed in your degree and experience here.


Why you should be a Frontrunner

While the Frontrunners initiative is a highly successful and beneficial programme that has been in place at the University of Essex for a number of years, few humanities students are reaping the benefits.  I’m going to tell you why you should consider going after a position.

  • Experience

The amount of training that is available to Frontrunners is  highly beneficial to anyone wanting to add a little more depth to their CV. The role you choose varies which training you get, however every Frontrunner attends workshops to improve their skills. These include social media workshops. Being proficient in social networking is becoming increasingly important for finding information/ advertisement/ and spreading messages and is an added bonus to any potential employer. Training also involves building on your communication skills and your confidence in a work environment, including how to showcase your values in interviews and job applications. Had it not been for my Frontrunners role, I would never have gained this experience.

  •  Getting involved with your University Community

A departmental Frontrunners position is a sure way to integrate yourself into your university. With this comes a better knowledge of all of the opportunities available to you to make the most of your time at university, and a greater sense of belonging in the University community. Furthermore, the staff become much more familiar and after realise they are actually very approachable people, talking to them will feel much less daunting. S1030007

  • Improving Yourself

Along with the skills you gain in this position through training are others you gain through practice. If you don’t feel too confident with public speaking, or wish you could manage your time a little better, this is the position for you. I myself have gained huge amounts of confidence with communication and public speaking through working on University open days where I speak to potential students and their families. This has given me skills that I can carry forward into any job role, (and life in general) and is my most valued achievement from my Frontrunners position.

  • Convenience

Every Frontrunners position is run by the University. That means the people who are in charge of what you do realise that your education is your first priority, and no job can get in the way of that. As a result, despite the position only being for a manageable 8 hours a week, should you need any time to study or if your deadlines are mounting up, a quick talk with your overseer will sort out your workload and allow you to work on your degree to the best of your ability. Furthermore you are not limited to a role in your department. Want to gain experience in advertising, organisation or communication outside your department? No problem. There are many different positions that you can apply for.

Frontrunners positions are a great opportunity for improving yourself and enjoying the experience in the meantime. My Frontrunners role has really made my year stand out, as well as being an addition to my work experience. I have thoroughly enjoyed it and believe that it is the best decision I have made involving my time at the University of Essex.

For more information about the Frontrunners positions available to you, visit the Frontrunners page on the University of Essex website.

Good Luck to all of you that apply for a position!

Hugo has landed

Hugo, the History Department’s new Mascot to promote Green Impact has arrived. He’s chilling above every light switch to remind you that every time you leave a room without turning the light off a polar bear dies…. just joking…. BUT Polar Bears International says that Scientists predict that as the Arctic continues to warm, two-thirds of the world’s polar bears could disappear within this century. So don’t forget to do the little things like turn the light off when you leave the room, recycle and turn the radiator off when you open a window.

HugoPolar Bears

Love Rosie x

A Guide to Societies

At Essex there are societies for almost anything you can imagine with more being created every year. From the Cheese and Wine society (I recommend it), to the Harry Potter society. There are also societies for most, if not all, departments (so of course there’s a history society, and yes, it’s amazing).

The first event that I went with a friend to- because I was a little scared of turning up on my own- was in the Top Bar. After spotting a few familiar faces across the room my friend walks over and asks if this is the history society social, and it turns out there was nothing to worry about! Instantly the history society members shuffle up and make room for us, make introductions and ask us about our courses. They were all warm and welcoming, and a good laugh as well. By the end of the night there I was agreeing to walking around Wivenhoe in fancy dress for a 1920’s themed pub crawl!  But it wasn’t just the friendliness and fun of the night that surprised me, it was also how much I could learn from these people. Throughout the night people talked about their subjects, their dissertations, and what they’re doing with their time at Uni, and I realised I was picking up a lot of useful information as well as enjoying great conversation with interesting people. And it turns out not all of the socials include pubs… We were also invited to the upcoming trip to the National Archives and the society, plus they do workshops for students to give them guidance on their modules. So there is much more to be gained from joining a society than the socials- although they’re definitely a factor!

There’s so much you can gain from joining a society, and there are plenty to choose from.

Have a look for yourself on the University of Essex Student Union page  where you can also join the different societies.


Welcome to the Blog

To any and all history students or enthusiasts, this blog is for you!

It will give you all sorts of helpful tips, new information and important events that will help you keep up to date on what’s going on in and around the Essex campus, and how the History Department works.

There will be posts at least every couple of weeks so make sure you check out the page every few weeks to see what’s happening.