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Alumni

Shakira Sacks

Career Path: Media & Online Relations Specialist, Search Laboratory
Location: Leeds, UK

I’m currently working as Media & Online Relations specialist at a digital PR agency. I first wanted to go into PR after speaking to the careers advisor at Northumbria. Nearing the end of my third year at university I was feeling unsure of my future and what opportunities there were for me. She showed me that there was a number of avenues that I hadn’t even considered by myself - PR being one of them.

After living in such a vibrant city, however, I didn’t quite feel ready for the dream to be over when I graduated so I worked in a primary school for a year to save up the funds to go travelling. I travelled Bali and Fiji before living and working in Melbourne, Australia (in a PR role!) and then travelling New Zealand, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia on my way home. When I came home I managed to secure my current role, which I’m loving, and I feel like the roundabout path that I took to get here has made me appreciate it even more.

What are you doing now?Shakira Sacks

I’m currently working as Media & Online Relations for Search Laboratory who is an award winning digital marketing agency specialising in PPC, SEO, conversion optimisation and website analytics. I work within the PR team for our large variety of clients both is the UK and US.

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

As a 17-year-old choosing a city to spend the rest of my teens in, the fact that it was known for having amazing nightlife was a huge factor - and it definitely didn’t let me down in that respect! I also loved living in the north (Leeds) for the first chapter of my life so I wanted to stay in that friendly northern environment. The course also had some of the most interesting modules that I’d seen on any Literature courses which was hugely important as I knew that I needed to genuinely enjoy my course to do well in it.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

It was better than I could ever have imagined university being! There was a perfect mixture of lectures and seminars, yes, and most of my lecturers were super friendly and super helpful. I came so far within the first term, education-wise, because they really help you develop brilliant habits that you can apply to anything.

What was the best thing about your course?

The variety of the content. I’d go from a lecture titled ‘Entertaining Satan’, to ‘Vamps and Virgins’ (where Twilight was a set text!) then to a seminar on William Wordsworth and Romantic Poetry all in one week. That variety was what drew me to the course in the first place and really helped me develop into a very well-rounded Literature graduate.

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

I think more than anything it gave me a new-found confidence. Northumbria is full of big personalities and everyone is super friendly, when you’re there you feel like you’re a part of a huge team of supportive people who are all in the same boat. That growth in my personality hasn’t left me since university and has enabled me to be a more confident person who is more sure of myself in terms of my career, which I believe has given me an edge.

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

I learnt a lot about versality. Growing up I always knew I loved literature but had chosen to stick to the ‘safer’ option of modern-day fiction. It pushed me to learn about all sorts of things; poetry, Shakespeare, Chaucer and the Renaissance period, and made me realise that I can be very adaptable and versatile - something which I have applied to my career so far. Most importantly, it taught me a lot about how essential it is to be passionate about what you do as my lecturers were so clearly obsessed (in a positive sense, of course) with their work and that’s made me always want to give 100% to my own career so that I can also build something I love.

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

Everything! There really wasn’t a bad aspect to my time at Northumbria. I loved my course - I even enjoyed my essays because we were given a lot of freedom to study books that we genuinely liked to read. I loved the freedom and independence that we were given but at the same time I loved the team atmosphere and drive. The buzzing student union (especially on Saint Patrick's day which is practically a Northumbria national holiday!) and the like-minded students who I met and have become life-long friends with were the most memorable thing though.

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

Please do it! I didn’t meet one student in my whole three years there who regretted their choice. Newcastle is a place that everyone falls in love with and it’ll always hold a very special place in my heart. I feel like Newcastle was just made for students and Northumbria allows you to experience everything that student life should be, whilst also gaining a degree from a university with a fantastic educational reputation. If you are considering studying here then I’m very jealous because I’d go back any day!

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

Unforgettable, life-changing and (VERY) special.

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