"After four amazing years at the University of St Andrews I graduated on 21st June with a 2:1 MA (hons) in Scottish History. While I was very sad to be leaving many close friends I am very proud of what I have achieved at this wonderful university. I had a very successful final year at St Andrews and I was particularly delighted to receive a strong grade for my dissertation on the role of perceptions of lordship on the conflict between James II and the Black Douglases in the fifteenth century. I also received similarly good grades for my special topic, The Bruce Cause, and my second semester module, Mediaeval St Andrews. This final module I found especially interesting due to its focus on the town in which I have studied for four years. It was incredibly interesting to learn so much about the different locations in the town which I walk past on a daily basis and, in particular, I enjoyed seeing how the town has changed or, in many cases, remained the same from the early mediaeval period to the present day.
Having now achieved my degree in Scottish History I am particularly keen to enter into a career in the Scottish heritage industry and in particular I am passionate about the education of the public about the importance of preserving Scotland’s rich, and often rare, heritage and historical artefacts. To this end I have successfully applied for a place on the University of St Andrews’ MLitt in Museum and Gallery Studies. While I am delighted to be returning to St Andrews in September, I am perhaps even more excited about beginning this course which will help to prepare me for my chosen career. In the future I hope to have the opportunity to work for Historic Scotland or the National Museum of Scotland.
While I am continuing my studies at St Andrews I hope also to continue my involvement with the various societies that I have been a part of these last four years. When I return in September I will be taking up the position of secretary of the History Society, which hopes to continue its successes of last year, including a trip to Edinburgh and the, now infamous, Inter-departmental Quiz between the tutors of the various history departments. I will also be taking on the role of Senior Student on the committee of the Doctor Who Society, which is still going from strength to strength.
In the meantime I am spending the summer gaining experience working in the heritage sector. I am particularly privileged to be involved in a conservation project which is underway at Abbot House, Dunfermline. The project is working on the conservation of a sixteenth century wall painting which depicts scenes from Virgil’s Aeneid. As part of the project the heritage officer of the house also hopes to run a series of lectures relating to the wall painting and I am lucky enough to be involved in the planning for these. Although the project is only in its early phases I have already learnt a lot about the different elements involved in running a successful conservation project. Alongside this project I have also applied to spend some time volunteering at the Abbey and Palace in Dunfermline, both of which are managed by Historic Scotland. As I am interested in possibly working for Historic Scotland in the future I feel like this would give me some idea of what a career with them might be like and, more importantly, how they go about preserving some of Scotland’s greatest buildings.
With these plans for the summer, and my return to St Andrews for further study, I am greatly looking forward to seeing what the next year will bring. It certainly promises to be a very eventful time and I hope it will be the start of a thoroughly interesting and rewarding career in the heritage industry. All of this has come as the result of my undergraduate career at the University of St Andrews, which would not have been possible without the generous support of my sponsors. I cannot express how grateful I am for all of their help and support throughout my studies and how important their generosity has been to me. I would like to extent to them my sincerest thanks and appreciation."