Olivia McHale

Three years of undergraduate study at Teesside University practically flew by. One minute I was enrolling on to my BA (Hons) English Studies with Creative Writing, the next I was throwing my mortarboard in the air. And then what? It was daunting, to say the least.

Some students know the exact path they want to take after graduating but I wasn’t all that sure until I read more about master’s degrees.

In short, a master’s degree is an additional year (or two, if you study part-time), giving you the chance to become a bit of a specialist. Fancy, eh? Holding a master’s can give you a competitive edge when job hunting and can even lead to a PhD.

It was a no brainer for me after reading about the benefits of a second degree, but there were specific reasons why I chose to continue my studies at Teesside University.


Having already studied there for my undergraduate degree, I already knew how amazing the facilities are. From the fully equipped TV studios with gallery and editing suites for my multimedia pieces, to the reprographics department that would print and bind my work for that perfect presentation. But the real crown jewel is the library – my favourite place on campus. With several floors of books, quiet spaces, computers available 24/7, a café, and a dedicated space for postgraduate students, this was basically where I lived. I loved it!


At master’s level, you have a lot of space for freethinking within a topic or framework, and you can shape assignments to your interests. With that in mind, I felt incredibly excited to get stuck in. Modules covered media communications, celebrity representation, how to analyse what we consume, niche news, writing for digital platforms, specialised campaigns, and the final project was to build and run a news website, analysing its performance.


Once in a while, you meet people who have a lasting impact on you and the way you think – my course leader did that. She inspired and supported me in my work and was one of the first lecturers to tell me I could get a first with my research – she made my time at Teesside University a joy. I had such confidence in the staff. I found them so easy to talk to if I had any issues and I felt really good about receiving feedback because of the supportive, friendly and professional relationships we developed.


When you’re at university, sometimes you just need someone to tell you that you’re heading in the right direction or show you some options to work towards. That’s exactly what the careers and employability team are all about. I used their services when I was interviewing a University graduate scheme, and when I was thinking
of a career change and needed some advice. They’re the most patient and helpful people I’ve ever met.


Teesside has really got it going on, and is becoming a bit of a hotspot for arts, music, food and culture. From galleries, like MIMA and Pineapple Black, to amazing festivals, like Middlesbrough Mela and Festival of Thrift, there is always something to see or do. There are tons of restaurants in the area, the coast is only a 15-minute drive, plus towns and countryside to explore and so many hidden gems. I didn’t want to leave behind all these things that I love so much!

By The Northernist (Olivia McHale). 

Olivia McHale (Left)
Olivia McHale (Left)