We asked our Student Fellows to write us a short blog about their background and what they are doing as part of their BILT role. The following blog is from Phoebe Graham, who has been a BILT Student Fellow since December 2018.
My name’s Phoebe (or Phoebs, or any form of creative variation) and I am one of BILT’s wonderful student fellows for this academic year. I am a final year Liberal Arts student majoring in English Literature, and I have recently returned from a year abroad at McGill University in the freezing but heart-warming landscapes of Montréal, Canada.
I will be working on Project Three: Empowering Students to Impact their Teaching and Learning alongside fellow #LiberalArtist Corrie Macleod, under the wise guidance of Professor Tansy Jessop. In this role, I hope to be a part of the amazing effort that BILT is undertaking to improve both student and staff experience at the University, helping to make a space which can facilitate academic curiosity as well as emotional empowerment.
When I first came to the University as a very young, wide-eyed and terrified 18-year-old, I found the emotional transition from Secondary School to Higher Education a tricky track to tread. I felt like the comforting rug of home life had been pulled from underneath me, and I was free-falling for a good few months before I started to find my feet again. I found it difficult to come to terms with the fact that, even in a space filled with so many students, I could feel so lonely. I couldn’t develop a sense of pride or attachment to the University, because I didn’t feel like a valued or empowered member of its community. Rather than coming out of a shell, I found myself building one up for myself *emotional string quartet plays.*
But in my third year studying abroad, I was able to use the environmental change to critically engage with my time in Higher Education up until this point. Now I return to the vibrant city and University of Bristol both reinvigorated and hoping to commit my voice to the academic and pastoral development of the University through combining theoretical and practical research methods. I am also just a large lover of people and learning of, and from, other people’s perspectives. I am ready to use my well-developed skills of combined coffee-drinking and communication to engage with the wider student body and an array of staff in order to create a vibrant and cohesive academic community.
In my spare time, I can be found listening to Leonard Cohen, writing about theatre, thinking about the overlaps of the arts and activism, reading stories, preaching the value of interdisciplinary education, attempting to sing while playing the piano at the same time and, of course, dancing like a dad.