From English degree to PhD

Jess-Lewis, PhD English, English Literature Degree

After graduating with first-class Honours from the BA (Hons) English Literature degree, Jess Lewis went on to do a PhD at USW.

"It's a cliché, but completing a PhD has been like a journey. I've learned not just about my subject area, but about myself.

"I've become a better researcher and, more importantly for me, more confident in my own ideas.

Passion for Victorian literature

"I wrote about metaphors of cannibalism in the Victorian novel between 1840-1900. You know, just something 'light'!

"The topic evolved naturally from my original idea which was on cannibalism and Victorian travel narratives.

"My passion has always been Victorian fiction though, so the research kept returning to fictionalised cannibals, and finally cannibal metaphors.

"I applied for, and was successful in receiving, the University's Centenary Scholarship for English Literature.

"It meant I was able to work with supervisors Professor Alice Entwistle and Professor Kevin Mills who I knew from my undergraduate English degree, so I knew I'd receive exemplary guidance and support in addition to their wealth of subject knowledge.

USW offered incredible support

"My supervisors have been incredible. I've never felt alone during this process, both Alice and Kevin made themselves available to my complaints and whining, and always had excellent advice.

"They also had me teaching, which I loved. The teaching was sometimes a much needed break from the research, which can be isolating and a little maddening.

"Of course, I hit bumps in the road - researchers' block, generally feeling fed up but Alice's mantra of 'The only thing worse than doing it, is not doing it' has got me through. It's so true!

"I'm currently working on articles for publication, one of which includes a research trip to the Brontë archives (a Victorian nerd's dream), as well as applying for lecturing/research jobs.

PhD is essential to my career ambitions

"I've always wanted to become a lecturer, so the PhD was essential!

"It's opened the door to a world I'm so excited to explore."