Christia Huntington joined Leeds Trinity University in September 2016 after being encouraged to apply at an Open Day, during which she impressed lecturers with her passion, determination and intelligence. She graduates with a First-Class Honours degree in Early Childhood Studies, and after realising her passion for academia, will start the MSC Psychology conversion course at Leeds Trinity this September.
Ahead of her graduation, we caught up with Christia (pictured second from left) to talk all things Leeds Trinity; her experiences, friendships, plans for the future and top tips for current and prospective students.
How did you come to study at Leeds Trinity University?
I was drawn to the University because of its close-knit feel and I liked that everything was on one campus. It was not too far away from home in Manchester, but far enough for me to gain independence. During my open day visit, I spoke to Marie Potter, who encouraged me to apply and I found LTU to be more accepting of other qualifications and experience. She listened to me when I spoke about my experience in education and made me realise that A-Levels were not the be all and end all (as I don't have any). I then went onto apply for Early Childhood Studies and was accepted onto the course. Marie has played a huge part in my time at university – from urging me to apply and has been a constant throughout the past three years. She is incredibly supportive and truly does want the best for her students.
What are some of your most memorable moments from your time at Leeds Trinity?
I met my three best friends at University, living with two of them in Fountains Court for two years. I am so glad I met them! We were all on the same course and they have been my support network whilst studying and living away from home. During my first year, I participated in a study abroad programme in Taiwan in January 2017. This was an incredible opportunity for so many reasons – for my confidence, independence, and the experience of studying and living in another country. I travelled halfway around the world on my own and have made life-long friends in another country.
The professional work placements boosted my confidence, gave me practical experience and enhanced my knowledge of working in child protection. Working as a Student Ambassador also increased my confidence significantly and introduced me to friends I would have otherwise never met! On my second shift I presented the 'Student Life' talk to around 250 people, but before this I felt anxious even just raising my hand in lectures.
What are your plans after graduation?
When I started at LTU I was considering a career as a teacher. However, the course content led me in a different direction and I am now preparing to study for an MSC in Psychology at Leeds Trinity. After completing my dissertation and receiving feedback from my supervisor Jeff (Potter), I have also set my sights on one day completing a PhD to further investigate my research topic into the negative impact exposure to Barbie can have on young girls' body image. Jeff has also been brilliant during my time at Leeds Trinity and supported me through a difficult research topic.
What advice would you give to current and prospective Leeds Trinity students?
Take the opportunities that are offered to you – whether that be studying abroad, part-time work and professional work placements, as you don't know where they could take you. And don't be afraid to ask for help!