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Alumni

Emily Churlish

Career Path: Counsellor, Chapters Counselling Services
Location:

Having developed a love of books and the emotions stirred within the reader through literature, I decided to take the English Literature course at Northumbria University in order to pursue this further. I did not start out at University knowing what I ultimately wanted to do as a career, yet it was through choosing to pursue a subject I love that led to my final decision to pursue a career in Counselling. Through literature I was able to gain a deeper understanding of the way writers create a story, their characters and what led them to write in the first place, and the use of critical analysis as well as psychological theory revealed to me that behind every written story was an unwritten one. The author and their own experiences, emotional challenges and sometimes their grief or sadness was often what inspired the most gripping and life-changing tales, and it was this discovery that made me want to delve further into human emotions and the effect they can have upon everyday life. As a counsellor I would not only be able to do this, but I would also be able to offer help and support for those people that suffer from stress, depression or grief, and after deciding upon becoming a counsellor I began to research way in which I could enter the field.  I contacted the ladies at Chapters Counselling in the Spring of 2014 about commencing their counselling training course, and I am currently due to start in September. On top of that, I aim to work voluntarily for one of the local counselling services in order to gain further insight into the world of counselling, as well as give my time freely in the hopes that I can begin helping those people in need of support as soon as possible.

What are you doing now?

Currently I am studying for my future course as I have been told that the work is challenging, and is aimed at taking students out of their comfort zone. I am also applying for part time work in order to support myself.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals / give your career an edge?

Studying at Northumbria helped me towards making my carer choice, and prepared me for working life in my future career, through the challenging nature of the course work and the continuous help and support of the course tutors. Through the numerous essays, exams and the final dissertation I gained a thorough knowledge and appreciation of higher academic study and the level of critical analysis that is required in order to make a compelling argument. By being encouraged to think outside of the box, without ignoring the box entirely, I feel as though I have taken a huge step up from any previous levels of study and am more confident in my own arguments and statements because of this. Moreover the tutors at Northumbria University, through their enthusiasm for their chosen subject and willingness to give help and support to students whenever they need it not only set a good example for students to follow, but were also friendly and open enough to make you feel comfortable about asking for help and talking through any issues you might have. Because of this I feel that I was able to gain a more fuller understanding of myself and what I excelled in, giving me the courage and confidence to accept this and choose the career that I wanted, and felt the most prepared for.

What was the best thing about your course?

The best thing about my course was the friendly, laid-back atmosphere within the classroom. This meant that no matter which class you were put in, whether it be with your friends or with people you haven't met before, the atmosphere meant that no one was afraid to speak out during a class discussion. The importance of this is paramount to a productive learning environment, and at Northumbria there was always the opportunity to experience a point of view or opinion that you may never have thought of before.

Who inspired you the most, and why?

At Northumbria the person that inspired me the most was my dissertation tutor, Adam Hansen. Though I struggled at first with the topic for my final piece, having chosen J.R.R. Tolkien as my primary source, I was both daunted and sceptical at my chances of success. However, after having a few meetings with Adam I was able to dispel those fears and learn a few ways in which to tackle the project by narrowing down my focus, as well as maintaining a high level of enthusiasm for my chosen subject that I feel ultimately came across in my final draft. Having a tutor that truly loves the subject they teach is both reassuring and helpful when the challenges of the course seem overwhelming.

Which skills/knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now/throughout your career?

With a heavy focus on analysis and maintaining a high level of grammar and speech when facing an essay question at university, I feel that these skills are transferable to my chosen career path as well as in everyday life.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

At University I made some friends that I hope to know throughout my life that I still see on a regular basis, as well as providing me with the opportunity to experience Newcastle's night life and other daytime attractions such as the Baltic Museum. I was able to join the Writer's Society in my second year at university, and was able to live with my friends and course mates throughout my second and third years. Living in Newcastle with the friends I made and being able to experience the student life has got to be my overall favourite part of my time at Northumbria University.

What advice would you give somebody who is thinking of studying at Northumbria?

Visit Newcastle before you apply, it's the best way to acquaint yourself with the place you could be living for the next three years. Also, make the most of the open days to get a chance to have a look around the University buildings and the accommodation options, it's something I never did and regret not doing as it would have saved me a lot of anxiety about starting University if I had seen how laid-back and friendly everyone was.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in 3 words?

Crazy, challenging, unforgettable

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