Kay Saberton, BA (Hons) English
I began my journey with the University of Suffolk back in 2016. After attending a few open days and meeting the fantastic English team, my decision to study here was easily made. I studied the BA (Hons) English course for three years and enjoyed every minute. All the worries I had about moving away from home and not having achieved the grades I’d hoped for at A-Level were quickly dispersed by the reassurance of my lecturers. I’d never felt confident in my writing abilities, but with the guidance of my tutors, I began to realise that I was worthy of having a voice. As a result, I achieved several awards during my studies, such as Student of the Year, the East Anglian Daily Times Award for Professional Writing, and the Suffolk Book League Award for Best Dissertation in English.
During my time at UoS, I also got involved with the Student Union, first as a course representative, then as Arts and Humanities Student Officer. It was exciting to be able to sit on the student council and voice the concerns of the departments, as well as having the opportunity to meet with department heads and senior members of staff. I also worked part-time in various roles, such as in retail and proofreading, which allowed me to gain valuable skills alongside those I learnt during my course. I also acted as a Student Life Mentor, which meant regularly meeting with students to discuss their concerns about university and how best to get them support during their studies.
Although I managed to achieve a lot during my three years at UoS, I graduated in 2019 with not much of an idea of what was next for me. I moved back home to Norfolk and left Suffolk behind me, or so I thought. As I sat at home applying to full-time jobs that held little interest to me, I reflected on how much I’d enjoyed my time at university. I found myself going back to academia and critical studies, so I began to explore the possibility of postgraduate study. When UoS launched the MA Creative and Critical Writing in 2020, there was no question of me returning to study at Suffolk. The MA encompassed everything I’d enjoyed during my undergraduate degree: critical theory, creative writing, children’s literature, and more. The course was better than I ever could have imagined, acting as a guiding light to me during the pandemic. The intensity of a one-year course gave me something to focus on and allowed me to find my creative and critical voice.
During the MA, I was encouraged to pursue external writing opportunities which saw me longlisted for the Student New Angle Prize 2021 and act as editor-in-chief for Suffolk Folk: an Anthology of East Anglian Tales for the 21st Century (2021). I was also selected to be a member of the Eastern Angles Young Writers' Group 2021 which allowed me to experiment with playwriting, resulting in a short Frankenstein-inspired play.
Since graduating, I have been working as a Library and Information Assistant in Norfolk Libraries and as the Magazine Editor for Student Life. I am also continuing to write a historical fiction novel that I began during my MA about Fanny Wollstonecraft Godwin, Mary Shelley’s forgotten half-sister who died at the age of twenty-two.
Looking to the future, I am considering further postgraduate study, with hopes to return to Suffolk to complete a PhD with the amazing English team who have supported me during my five years of study and beyond. Without such a great university and team behind me, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I owe a lot to Suffolk, and I’m sure I will find myself returning to it for many years to come.