"I had never heard of a ResM before but its combination of taught sessions, a variety of assessments and the 20-25,000 word dissertation was the perfect mix for me. When I embarked on the programme, I expected to research the work of Romantic English women travel writers, with a focus on those involved in the French Revolution, but the more I investigated this period, the more curious I became about the time that had preceded it. A non-fiction work that had been set reading for the first module, as well as some suggested reading by my supervisor in the first year, redirected me to a writer and period I knew very little about – Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, and her letters about her travels through Europe and her short residency in Turkey. This married my own interests in both feminist and post-colonialist criticism, and I'd like to think that my journey writing about this 18th century aristocratic woman's encounters has been almost as transformative as hers was!
As a mature student, I knew my study skills would be rusty, to say the least, and that technological developments since I had done my undergraduate degree would mean that the research process would require learning how to access most of my sources online via academic databases, journals, e-texts etc. The direction of my supervisors, along with the great support provided by the library staff, has been invaluable here. Learning how to write in an appropriate academic style has perhaps been the most challenging aspect of the course: as a lecturer in FE, I am familiar with the requirements for essays written at L3, but had to learn a whole new 'art' to write at postgraduate level. Again, thanks to the intensive and thoroughly supportive guidance of my supervisors, I now have all three chapters of my dissertation written, and am ready to write up!"