BA American Studies - Sarah Campbell

BA American Studies graduate Sarah Campbell tells us more about her time at UEA.

What attracted you to study at UEA?

I thought the campus was really gorgeous. Being close to parks was really important to me. 

I visited on an open day by myself and then I went to an applicant day with my mom.

The open day was the only time that I've been to a uni on my own, so I think I benefited from that independence and being able to picture myself there.

That was a feeling I got quickly and then the applicant day was helpful in helping me choose UEA.

As American Studies was a subject that I've never done before, doing a seminar made me see that I could really enjoy the subject and it was something that I was really going to enjoy.

I also put me at ease a little bit because I found that I could participate and engage confidently, which is something that I was nervous about.

I also liked the UEA had its own American studies department, whereas other unis had American Studies that was connected to either history or literature department. I liked the flexibility in the modules that you could pick.

What did you hope to get out of the course?

I wanted to develop my intellectual skills and deep dive into the history, literature and culture.

I found that really interesting and I really wanted to develop my confidence as well. I wanted to learn to use my voice because I think that was something that I struggled with in sixth form.

I feel like I developed that skills because at the beginning you have to really put yourself out there with meeting people and making friends, and you're living with a whole new bunch of people that you don't know. And that's really daunting.

But when you get past those first couple of weeks you can look back and think ‘Oh I was really I was confident in myself and I got a whole new group of friends out of that’ and I think that's great.

What did you enjoy most about your course?

I liked the flexibility.

In my first year I did all compulsory modules and that gave me really broad understanding of what American Studies was.

For example, each week in American History we looked at a different. That was really interesting and it made me understand what periods of American history I liked more and what themes I liked.

And then a second year I only did one compulsory module.

And then the rest of it I could choose what I wanted to do, and there are some really niche options, so I did a module in American journalism.

There are some really interesting options and then in third year it's completely up to you so you can choose whatever you want to do.

What were your enduring memories of UEA?

UEA has loads of really, really amazing clubs which is a great way to meet like-minded people.

The club I've been most involved in is the drama and musical theatre society.

Doing extracurricular activities really helps to distract you if you get homesick, or just keeping busy. And obviously it's a great way to meet people as well. I've still got friends from the show that I did my first year. I've supported friends from the shows I did this year.

I've seen the confidence that I wanted to get out of American studies show itself in the clubs that I am a part of, because I started to put myself out there creatively with drama and theatre society, and that's a really scary thing, but it's been so rewarding.

Any highlights from the course?

I really enjoyed doing my dissertation. That was a massive highlight for me.

I didn't think I was going to enjoy it because writing 8,000 words about one subject seems a bit daunting. But I think once you find your topic and once you find that thing that you're passionate about, it's really rewarding.

Getting help along the way from your advisor and being validated as you go is a real confidence boost.

How did UEA support you ahead of your year abroad?

The study abroad team were really helpful.

They run workshops to make sure you're prepared. They give you a whole lot of information, which is very helpful.