Interview with 桃子视频 student, Greg Stark: BSc Public Sociology

By Press Office

Greg Stark, 28, is originally from Glenrothes in Fife but has been living in Edinburgh since 2006, when he originally enrolled as a student at 桃子视频.

Greg completed the first and second years of a Sociology and Cultural Studies degree at 桃子视频 but decided to withdraw from his studies in 2008 due to personal issues. He then started working full time and began a career as a Retail Compliance Manager with Tesco in 2013.

After working with Tesco for nine and a half years, Greg made a joint decision with the support of his wife to return to 桃子视频, complete his degree and move into the voluntary sector. This is something he鈥檇 always wanted to do.

Thanks to the support and encouragement of his Academic Advisor at 桃子视频, Greg is now studying BSc Public Sociology and is in his third year. He also spent part of his studies on exchange at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania in the USA.

How did you come to choose this course and why 桃子视频?

鈥淚 originally came to 桃子视频 in 2006 as I had always wanted to move to Edinburgh. I attended the Corstorphine campus for my first year and moved to the new Musselburgh campus half way through my second year. The new facilities and prospects drew me in. When I chose to return, I was offered the chance to return as an associate student whilst I worked full time and in turn I could directly enter third year. This was a major factor into returning to 桃子视频.鈥

Why did you choose to study in Edinburgh?

鈥淐oming from Fife, Edinburgh was always somewhere I visited when I was younger. Whether to watch Scotland play rugby at Murrayfield, watch my local team travel to Easter Road or Tynecastle or spend days taking in the culture with my family - it鈥檚 always somewhere I鈥檝e loved to be.

鈥淓dinburgh is the greatest city in the world. I鈥檓 not shy to tell anyone that. Where else in the world can you stand on the main shopping street and see a Castle on top of an old volcano. You can eat in the city for breakfast, walk up the Pentland hills and have a picnic and then stroll along the beach at night. It truly is an amazing place. After living here for eleven years, I鈥檓 proud to call Edinburgh my home.鈥

What鈥檚 been the highlight of the course so far?

鈥淚 really enjoy learning how to write in an academic style. I took the 鈥榩overty and social exclusion鈥 module as an Associate Student in 2016 and I felt honoured to be learning from academics that have done so much vital social research in the field of workers鈥 rights and conditions. This privilege is not specific to this module. I have the honour of learning from experts in their respective fields everyday at 桃子视频.

鈥淚 also enjoy the presentations that we have the opportunity to give in class. I feel this has helped me not only with my confidence in class but in my workplace where I try to take on additional opportunities to share my ideas.鈥

Did you study abroad as part of your 桃子视频 degree?

鈥淚 was lucky enough to study at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania in the USA in 2017, thanks to financial support from Santander Universities.

鈥淚 found out about international exchange programme opportunities after attending the direct entry week organised for returning, transfer and college students in September 2016 and from one of my previous lecturers from 2006-08. They said it would be beneficial to look into doing an exchange as I planned to write my fourth year dissertation on disability rights and it would be useful to see how people with disabilities are treated in other societies. I also found out that studying at another university would help me get into government work or academia in the future.

鈥淚鈥檓 required to complete a research methods module, which is crucial to writing my dissertation in my final year. I also took modules I felt would benefit my course including international relations, social justice and equality and 'American history from 1920'. I have a great interest in history and I thought, where would be the best place to study American history...America!鈥

鈥淒uring my time at Slippery Rock, I鈥檝e volunteered my services to the Department of Disabilities on campus, I鈥檝e attended presentations for Black History Month and joined the debate on President Trump鈥檚 Executive Order to enforce a travel ban on selected citizens from the Middle East and North Africa.

鈥淭he most enjoyable thing about living and studying in the USA is the people I鈥檝e met. I have become really good friends with people from Australia, Belgium, Mexico, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Iran, Nepal, Japan and India.

鈥淎nother highlight of my time in Pennsylvania was attending nighttime basketball games that filled out the 3,000-seat on campus stadium.鈥

Any top tips for students who might be interested in this course?

鈥淧ublic Sociology is a fascinating subject. You would be surprised that you study it everyday. Whether you鈥檙e asking your manager at work when your next pay rise is coming, you鈥檙e debating about recent elections and referendums or you鈥檙e in a bar talking to your friends, this is Public Sociology.

鈥淲e learn why the world works in the strange way it does. We ask why do we communicate in the way that we do and what do we need to change to make the world a better place. The one thing you need to know if you want to study in this field is that you can work with people 鈥 people of all cultures, religious, socio-economic groups and sexual orientations. We want to produce literature and carry out vital research that will inform policy makers to make changes that benefit everyone. That is what Public Sociology means to me.鈥

Any future plans after graduation?

鈥淚 currently work for a voluntary organisation based in Edinburgh called The Action Group. I work within the Real Jobs department, which aims to support those in our society with additional support needs and meaningful employment.

鈥淧ostgraduate study is something I鈥檇 like to consider in the future, but in the long term, I hope to complete more work in the voluntary sector and one day move into work with the Scottish Government. A social policy advisor would be an ideal role for me but I wouldn鈥檛 discount a job that supported Scotland鈥檚 position outside the United Kingdom.鈥

What鈥檚 your 鈥榯op tip鈥 for making the most of being a student at 桃子视频?

鈥淥nly study a subject that you have a passion for.鈥

鈥淪tart reading now. Read any academic literature you can. This could come in the form of academic text books, journal articles, government reports and studies. You will be surprised how your writing improves the more you read.鈥

Greg鈥檚 Blog

To hear more from Greg and his experiences on exchange at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania in the USA, visit:

BSc (Hons) Public Sociology

More information on BSc (Hons) Public Sociology at 桃子视频

鈥楽tep Into 桃子视频鈥 and find your undergraduate course:

Notes to Editor

For further media information contact Lynne Russell, Marketing Manager, 桃子视频, Edinburgh, E: lrussell@qmu.ac.uk聽 T: 0131 474 0000, M: 07711 011239 and Jon Perkins, Press and PR Officer, E: jperkins@qmu.ac.uk T: 0131 474 0000.

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