Katelin Thomas

Year of graduation: 2016

Course: BA (Hons) Architecture

Current location: Kent

“The course I undertook was thought provoking, engaging, and always kept you on your toes: it provided so much more than I expected.”
Tell us about your career path since graduation.

After graduation I relaxed a little, but at the same time also gained more experience within the building industry, volunteering on a local building project – I helped to build a ground house whilst applying for jobs in an architectural practice. I was lucky enough to get an interview for my desired practice and then got the job. I have now been working at MEB Design as an architectural assistant for five months.

How has your degree helped/influenced your career path?

Without my degree I would still be working as a waitress! It has helped me to further explore my interests in architecture and has allowed me to explore other avenues that were unknown to me before university. It has helped prepare me to enter the working world and given me an understanding of what to expect.

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?

I would say that coming straight from university into a job was a big shock to the system: working nine to five took some getting used to. But it has its benefits too; when you finish at five you’re done for the day, no late evenings like at university (deadlines are an exception of course!).

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

Working as a valued member of a team, seeing your ideas being realised, and seeing the progression you’ve made. Gaining responsibility in the workplace and travelling around the UK on site visits.

Imagine you were about to start university again - with the benefit of hindsight - what would you now tell yourself to have done differently?

Take advantage of any travel opportunities available to you as soon as you can – I really regret not taking part in the Erasmus Programme. Or even in the summer holidays do something meaningful: travel, volunteer, or get ahead and gain some work experience, as this will give your CV a boost and you won’t have to worry about it come your final year.

If you were just about to graduate again, what would you do differently?

Take advantage of the careers team. I only discovered them in the last month of university and wish that I had done so sooner; some of the advice that they gave me was invaluable!

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

To find what it is that you enjoy about the subject: it sets you apart from others. Stick with it, because if you’re passionate about something employers will sense that and it will work in your favour! Engage in opportunities that will add to your CV and give you an edge. It all makes a difference.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

It helped me to gain confidence in myself, to develop my ideas, follow my interests, and understand that there is no wrong way to learn.

What lessons/skills did you gain from your course?

I gained practical skills including hand drawing, essay writing, and was introduced to different types of software that I now use daily. I also learnt how to make the most of working in a team, to challenge and foster my creativity, and to push myself further with the help of others.

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?

My favourite memory is going to Paris as part of a first year study trip, getting to know course mates and exploring the city. It provided me with a lot of inspiration, fuelling my projects for the year. I also made some great friendships.

Do you stay in touch with other Plymouth University alumni or lecturers?

I stay in touch with friends on the course; luckily, a lot of them have managed to get jobs too, so Plymouth seems to have served us well!

Would you recommend undertaking a course with Plymouth University, and why?

Of course, the facilities are great and a student couldn’t want for anything more at Plymouth University. The staff are more than happy to help you with any questions or worries. The course I undertook was thought provoking, engaging, and always kept you on your toes; it provided so much more than I expected.

Is there anything else which you would like to share with our current students?

Make sure you work hard, but play hard too! Whether it’s volunteering, sports, or societies, have something going on outside of your studies too. And just to enjoy every moment – time will go quicker than you think!

Architecture studio