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Edge Hill recently hosted the Political Studies Association (PSA) Undergraduate Conference. This was a first experience into the world of academic conferences for many students. First year LLB (hons) Law with Politics student Timmy Ogunleye tells us what it was like to take part and present.

politics student Timmy Ogunleye head and shoulders profile photo

“The overall experience at the PSA conference was a positive and priceless opportunity. It helped myself and Josephina (my partner at the presentation) realise that we had the capability to do “scary things”, which on this occasion was creating a presentation that would be considered interesting and of an academic standard for an undergraduate student audience.”

Timmy Ogunleye
LLB (Hons) Law with Politics

“When proposing our topic, Josephina and I went for a subject we had found intriguing when thinking about it for an assessment. Our chosen topic was Is Our Modern-Day Democracy Under Threat?  We agreed on this topic as it was broad and covered a range of different aspects of politics, not only in the UK but also in Asian and African countries. We wrote a 500-word proposal giving a rough idea of what we hoped to cover.

Once our idea had been approved, there was a moment of celebration between myself and Josephina. We were going to be part of something we could look forward to as first years amid more experienced undergraduate students from around the country. We were not ignorant of the prestige the conference carried in the world of politics. Then the nerves began, as we rode the eye of the storm called assignment deadlines as well as other extracurricular activities.

When creating our presentation, we had some points we wanted to touch on that we hoped would let our audience think about the subject critically. First was the history of democracy, for example countries that weren’t democracies but have changed as well as those who have not been democracies for decades. We wanted to focus on the evolution of democracy and events that have put it under threat in countries including our own. We decided not to have a clear answer to our questions but to express our opinions and encourage the others to ask questions.

3 students sat around table interviewing ashley dalton
Timmy and student colleagues interviewing local MP Ashley Dalton. (photo credit Mark Lamin)
students stood alongside Ashley Dalton MP
Students and MP guest speaker. (photo credit Mark Lamin)

Once we had our presentation ready it’s difficult to say how many times we practiced, how many times we made changes, how many times we shared it with friends for feedback. This taught us that although we had individual presentations, teamwork was also important for the success of everyone involved. It was also important for representing Edge Hill University in a positive and respected way.

On the day of the event it would be fair to say the nerves about presenting our research were running high. Worry fluctuated throughout the day right up until it was our turn to present. I believe the reason for such unsteady nerves was seeing other undergraduate students presenting their research and seeing how smooth running it was. This was a comfort, however. It filled our cup with more anxious energy to do well.  

We had to make sure we were not speaking too quickly and were making eye contact with our audience to ensure that there was engagement with our work. In the future, I hope to do it again with the knowledge of what the day would be like and the understanding that people are only there because our topics piqued their interest. I now know the audience would be more than happy to have a lot more information on specific facts in the research.”

politics student Timmy Ogunleye presenting

“I would describe the whole experience as indispensable as a politics student and can only be thankful for the opportunity given to us by our tutors to be part of it

Timmy Ogunleye
LLB (Hons) Law with Politics

From year one Edge Hill Politics and International Relations students are offered a range of real world experience and opportunities. You’ll graduate with a whole range of transferable skills, from writing a speech to analysing complex information and presenting skills.

June 15, 2023