BA (Hons) Applied Social Science
My name is Rachael Tordraighen (nee Chowings) I sat the Applied Social Science degree programme at High Melton 2006-2008 and it is while there that my passion for self-education and academia grew.
My pathways during the course enabled me to learn a broad range of subjects across the social sciences and through my understanding and interest made me decide that a career as an active researcher and lecturer was what I aimed to do.
Following my time at High Melton I applied for my Masters in Social Research Methods at The University of York. Like my time at High Melton, class sizes were relatively small and I felt I could exploit the teaching and self-learning far more than if I’d been one student in a large auditorium.
My Master’s thesis incorporated my interests that I’d developed on both my BA (Hons) and MA and looked at relationships dynamics of non-romantic friendships on-line in created spaces.
It was while studying for my MA that I became pregnant with my eldest son (now 2 ½ yrs.) and I graduated whilst pregnant (it was a surprise to find that I wasn’t the only pregnant woman graduating!)
After having my son I decided that I wanted to pursue my academic interests further and began to look for PhD studentships all over Britain. I looked on the BritSoc website at the current jobs boards where PhD Scholarships are listed. I applied to several institutions, Southampton, The Centre for Research of Families and Relationships (Edinburgh), Glasgow Medical Research Council, The University of Nottingham and finally my wild card of The University of St. Andrews.
I gained a telephone interview for the University of St Andrews for a PhD Studentship in Human Geography and it was whilst on the phone after a lengthy chat that I got offered the choice of two PhDs due to my knowledge gained from my time at High Melton coupled with my ESRC recognised MA. Even though the term Human Geography seems to imply a positivist outlook, the interest in the department I now work looks at everything from gender issues, health, population studies, fertility, and education.
My current research which began in January 2011 looks into the dynamics of ex-military and retired households following either a change in labour market position, a change in residence or a combination of both.
As well as my research interests I’ve also been giving tutoring hours within another department within the school of Geography and Geosciences in Sustainable Development.
During the first year of my PhD I had my second child and I’m now back at work after 6 months maternity leave. Life is pretty hectic at times, but I believe that my broad knowledge of social issues learnt at High Melton, coupled with my own passion for learning and self-improvement helped me in furthering my journey into academia.