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Abbie Smith

MA Creative Writing

Abbie Smith student profile

The modules that we studied inspired me and drove me to better myself to prepare for future opportunities.

Why did you want to study a postgraduate degree?
Studying Creative Writing at postgraduate level was the next logical step up in my career as I wanted to get my work out there and build up an audience. After seeing the work the tutors were willing to put in to help us succeed, applying felt like a no-brainer.

What are your top tips when researching postgraduate options?
The main thing to consider when researching postgraduate options is what exactly it is you want to study. Get into the specifics of what you enjoy and what it is you would like to learn on a deeper level to progress within that working environment. A top tip is to visit the university and explore the surrounding areas. Could you imagine your day-to-day life there, could you see yourself feeling at home? Whenever I visited Edge Hill, I felt a sense of belonging and knew it was where I was meant to be.

If you are applying for a creative course you may need to submit a portfolio. When choosing pieces, consider including some high-scoring work from any previous study, alongside pieces that you are proudest of. It is a chance to let your talent shine through and let the university get to know you. 

How did you find the progression from undergraduate to postgraduate studies?
I found the transition from undergraduate to postgraduate to be seamless. Our first few sessions were dedicated to answering any questions that we had and for giving us a refresher on basic terminology. My tutors were very welcoming, understanding, and patient, especially towards those who were new to the subject. Our tutors held weekly workshop sessions, during which we had to read each other’s pieces and discuss what worked well and what didn’t. This was extremely helpful as it taught us how to handle constructive criticism and instilled in us the importance of meeting deadlines. The modules that we studied inspired me and drove me to better myself to prepare for future opportunities. For example, in ‘The Manuscript’ module, we were required to create a complete body of work ready to be sent to publishers.

Where was your favourite place to study and socialise?
My favourite place on campus has always been the Catalyst since I worked there briefly during my undergraduate degree. When I had a poem or a reflection to complete, I would hunker down in one of the study rooms, order myself a hot drink, and write. The conversations of those around me inspired me; I may or may not have based some pieces on what was being said two computers down… People watching with a homemade brownie from the Catalyst café got me through my degree.

Did you access any funding for your postgraduate degree?
As I studied at Edge Hill at undergraduate level, I was entitled to alumni fee remission, which helped significantly. Despite not using it myself, I have friends who received funding from the Student Opportunity Fund and went on to complete internships within their chosen field. They gained valuable experience that they otherwise would not ​have been able to do, including a behind-the-scenes look at the novel publication process, so it is something that I would recommend students apply for.

Do you have any advice on balancing work and study?
Whilst studying, I was working 4 days a week at an independent card and gift retailer in Ormskirk. At times it was challenging however, I was open with my employer about my university timetable which allowed me to work around my studies. My top tip for balancing studies and employment would be to plan. Make yourself a timetable so that you know when you will need to be in class and when your shifts are. Then, you can plan studying and socialising around your commitments. Ensure that you get enough sleep and take plenty of breaks, preferably away from your desk or place of work to instil good work/life boundaries.

How has postgraduate study helped your career?
Currently, I work in Edge Hill’s Student Recruitment & Marketing department as a Website Content Coordinator. I was lucky enough to get this job whilst completing my postgraduate degree, so a lot of where I am at now is down to my tutors. They encouraged us to push ourselves outside of our comfort zones and dream big, instilling confidence in us every step of the way. ​During my time in this role, I have been able to write features for the website. Articles that I turned in as part of my degree laid the foundations for me to be able to do this. I read over feedback given to me by tutors and, combined with guidance from my team, produced some great student-facing content.