Emma Talbot is a second year BA (Hons) History student and Chair of the History Society.
Before joining the course, I ran my own mobile hairdressing business, was a member of my children’s PTA, a Cubs Leader and had a passion for horse riding. This all changed one day when I went out riding and my horse reared-up! My accident led to severe nerve damage on my C2 vertebrate and caused me to suffer with lymphedema in my left arm. I have lack of sensation in my fingers, causing no grip. Struggling to continue my business I realised I had to take a step back and reassess what I wanted to do going forward.
It was after speaking to one of my friends, I began to consider higher education. Attending an Open Day at the University of South Wales, I met with one of the history tutors and a student ambassador. Feeling unsure of my choice beforehand, talking to them inspired me to pursue the course. As I had spent some time out of education, I applied through Clearing and started on the Cert HE. I progressed onto the second year of the main degree after successfully passing this.
I’m so pleased that I chose this course and I’m making the most of the opportunities that come with it. I’ve become the Course Representative for history and Chair of the History Society. As Chair I hold regular meetings with members and work with them to organise society events. These include a monthly quiz at the local pub - Barinis. Each month we elect a new quiz master who is responsible for coming up with general knowledge questions (ensuring the inclusion of history questions).
The history society provides a fantastic opportunity for students to meet new people with shared interests, and to get involved in activities that enrich the student experience. We have two trips planned for our members, which include a ghost hunt experience in York and a trip to Berlin. These are just a few examples of what the History Society has to offer. I’m proud to be Chair and my goal is to keep it fresh through recruiting new members to key roles on a cyclical basis.
With regards to my course, I’m looking forward to combining my passion for history with my love of equine for my third-year dissertation. I will be investigating where our empathy for horses came from, focusing my attentions on the Victorian Era. Did it come from the working man or did it stem from the upper-classes? I plan to use the research skills I gained from the Women in Modern Britain module. I previously researched the life of Josephine Butler, producing a mini autobiography which was commended by the module tutor for taking a unique approach to the assessment.
What I have learnt from my studies is that you get out what you put in. I’ve made use of the support available from the Disability and Dyslexia Service (DDS) and this has really helped to improve my experience on the course. I used the first year to get to grips with higher education and now in the second year I am hitting the ground running. Due to commitments on the course I was unable to continue with my role on the PTA but remain a Cub Leader. I have been fortunate to apply what I have learned on the course to this setting. The degree has already proved to be valuable to me and I will continue to embrace the remainder of the course.