09 October 2020

My UEA Story: Vicky Bristow

Name:  Vicky Bristow 

School:  Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

Research area: 

My research looks at how financial stress impacts the wellbeing of health professional students (medical, nursing and allied health professional students) with a special focus on students who are widening participation.  The aim of my PhD is to find out if students who fit the category of widening participation (meaning students who are under-represented at university) experience financial stress differently from traditional students.  My hope is to identify factors that may protect students from the experience of financial stress or at least protect the wellbeing of students who are experiencing financial stress.  I hope to be able to use this information to recommend evidence based interventions that will improve the wellbeing of health professional students.  

In the future I would like to write papers for publication and be able to present at conferences.  I am working towards being an expert in widening participation, so issues connected with diversity, with wellbeing and financial stress.  I really hope to use this to become a consultant in the future  

 What is life as a postgraduate student at UEA like? Describe a typical day  

I think that’s a hard question at the moment as I’m working from home writing my first chapter.  When I was working on campus I would go to my office, sometimes go to training events – but on the whole there was no typical day – I just really enjoyed meeting PhD students.  

Why did you choose UEA?  

This is my 5th year of study at the UEA, I did my undergraduate in psychology, then a masters – I suppose it was a university close to where I live – but it’s a good one!  

Any tips for choosing a project / supervisor?  

Before I applied I met with one of the supervisors for coffee – I applied partly because the supervisor was so nice and I really felt like I would be able to work with her.  

How is postgraduate study different to undergraduate study?   

I miss having a cohort – but I do like the freedom to really explore and get to know a subject – but the independence can be lonely sometimes.  

What’s the social side like? How do you find the Postgraduate community?  

Before lockdown it was great – however I do run a social group for post-graduate students that I’m hoping to get off the ground – it's in the form of weekly zoom meetings.  

What has most surprised you about your postgraduate study at UEA?   

I think the pandemic! 

Any highlights of your experience?  

I gave a talk to a small student ran group – that was good fun! 

What kind of activities you have got involved with at UEA (e.g. networks, conferences, events, outreach) that have helped your research?   

I have been involved in a PGR conference – so far none of it has directly helped my research, but the feeling of being around other students helped motivate me a lot  

What would you say to someone thinking of coming to UEA?  

It’s the incidental things that have made the most difference to me – like going on a leadership course, then a public speaking course – which lead me to give a TEDx talk and then later into stand-up comedy and to find I enjoy public speaking – so it’s the incidental things that have given me the greatest strengths and helped me find skills I never knew I had  

…anything else you’d like to share!  

A poem I wrote was used as part of a UEA marketing campaign - it's so exciting to see my words brought to life in such an amazing way!  


Norwich Medical School

More UEA stories