Journalist Hannah Livingston reflects on her time at UEA Journalist Hannah Livingston reflects on her time at UEA

Image of Hannah Livingstone, BA English Literature.

Graduated: BA English Literature
Occupation: Journalist
Company: Channel 4

After graduating from UEA in 2009 with a BA in English Literature, Hannah Livingston edited the student newspaper for a year before joining the BBC Journalism Trainee Scheme. She has since worked for BBC Radio Shetland and is now working on Channel 4's Dispatches Investigative Journalism Scheme.

Why did you choose to study at UEA?
I'm originally from Cumbria and I wanted to set myself a challenge, to see if I could study, make friends and survive a long way from home. I wanted a new and exciting experience. I didn't know whether to study Art or English Literature, but it was UEA's reputation for English that influenced me. You only have to look at the people whohave studied or taught here, such as Malcolm Bradbury and Ian McEwan.

What are your most memorable moments at UEA?
My final year was the most significant, as it was when I really discovered what I enjoyed most about literature, so academically it was the most fulfilling. I enjoyed meeting lots of different people, such as poets, writers, actors and social organisers. These are the types of people I would never have had the opportunity to meet or talk to if I hadn't come to university.

Did you join any clubs and societies?
I was the social secretary for the Literature Society which was formed while I was there, and I also joined Concrete, the student newspaper. I started out as deputy competitions editor, progressed to a role as travel editor and then became editor for a year, which was a fantastic experience and set me up well for my future career in journalism.

Tell us about what you have done since graduating?
I've just finished the BBC Journalism Trainee Scheme, which teaches you everything you need to know about becoming a BBC journalist. I was chosen from 3,000 applicants as one of the 15 promising journalists for the year-long programme. I think that my experience at UEA and my enthusiasm for the subject helped my application stand out. Some people think that broadcast journalism is about turning up and talking in front of a camera, but it isn't like that at all. The majority is scripted so the writing skills I developed at university writing for different publications and different subjects set me off on the right track.

How did UEA prepare you for your career?
Studying English Literature really sharpened my writing skills and working on Concrete, sub editing other people's work, helped me develop my own style of writing. When I applied for the job at the BBC, my experiences in the societies I joined featured heavily in my CV. Coming here really helped my social and communications skills and also improved my confidence. University is a really diverse place and I had to learn how to fit into different communities. That skill certainly helps me a lot now, as we have to be ready to go to new places and speak to different people at the drop of a hat.

Finally, what advice would you give to new students at UEA?
Enjoy yourself! It is not all about academic achievements, join as many societies as you possibly can and immerse yourself in student life. Take part in everything as it is such a unique experience and you may never get the chance to do it again. You'll definitely miss it once you leave.