University was about more than just a post-nominal and some bits of paper; university was the building blocks to the strong foundation that I have today.
More about William
NTU alum, William Parkin, is a three-time graduate from NTU, having achieved a BA and MA in History as well as a Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (PROGCE). William shares his experience during his time studying at NTU, his stand-out memories and his exciting plans for the future.
Why did you choose to study at NTU?
I chose NTU, not initially through desire. NTU took a chance on me, following my disastrous A-Level results. NTU not only offered more opportunities to more students, but also allowed me the opportunity to pursue my love of sports. NTU offered me a sport scholarship during my first year in Karate, and allowed me to take part in Basketball. NTU's location was also convenient – I was still relatively close to home, but far enough away to develop my independence.
What did you learn – both inside and outside of lectures?
Inside of lectures, I was able to pursue my many varied interests within History. I went to university with an interest in the Crusades and medieval history, but developed further interests in more modern history – Holocaust studies and memory studies. This was made even more evident by NTU’s world renowned professor, Bill Niven.
I was able to pursue with this, a more explorative topic of interest in both my undergraduate dissertation and my master’s thesis. This has turned into the desire to eventually return to NTU for a PhD, should the timings work out.
Due to my extremely positive experience at NTU, I chose to return for a 3rd time for my teacher training. Again, my experience, despite Covid-19, was one of support and the ability to pursue areas that interest me. The teaching staff and support staff were always supportive and engaged me on a professional level, whilst simultaneously pushing me to achieve my best.
What does your current day involve?
All days follow the similar structure, in education, it has the advantage of giving you routine to your day. Most days are directed around creating the best environment for all of our students. By doing so, we create the chance for all students to achieve and succeed to the best of their ability.
What attracted you to this field of work?
After leaving university, I pursued mostly my self-interests of the outdoor sector and outdoor pursuits. The original plan was to eventually follow a career into the Navy, which ultimately fell through. Following this, I worked a number of jobs, until the Covid-19 pandemic. Once I lost my job, I re-assessed my skill set and chose to pursue education; after all, they do say that all Historians make the best teachers. I have a passion for seeking educational reform and challenging the existing structure of education.
How has your degree influenced your career?
During my time at university, I never aspired to pursue education to the extent that I have. I always had the aspiration of joining the Navy as an educated officer. If I had to pinpoint an aspect of my course, it would have to be the 1-2-1 guidance I received from Dr Carl Kilcourse. He was an inspiring tutor, who was able to guide me and help me achieve the end goal of securing the degree. Other honourable mentions must go to Dr Nicholas Morton, and to Dr Kevin Gould, for being inspiring leaders in their field and helping me to realise my potential. Without the continued support of the NTU History department, I feel my experience would have been one of increased difficulty.
What challenges have you faced?
My challenges came, like many others, in the form of self-motivation and mental health struggle. During my time at university, I faced severe depression and anxiety, both of which prevented me from achieving my full potential. However, thanks to the guidance and coaching of my esteemed lecturers, I was able to achieve my undergraduate degree. It was at this point that I realised that university was about more than just a post-nominal and some bits of paper; university was the building blocks to the strong foundation that I have today. Once again, if it weren’t for Dr Kilcourse and him sacrificing the time to help guide me through that final year, my experience would have been a completely different one.
What have been the highlights and biggest challenges of your career so far?
So far, the job has offered many differing challenges; organising my time effectively and also being not only a teacher to 16-18 year olds, but also a mentor and a guide. I take away from the job, every day, something new. That’s the beauty of teaching at A-Level. You can inspire and lead the way for the next generation of Historians.
Being able to successfully arrange discussions with the NTU History department for my students on a specialist area, that will hopefully inspire them into Higher Education is a great achievement of the last 12 months. This has allowed more students the ability to access potential Higher Education learning and hopefully persuaded them to join my alma mater, NTU.
What are your plans for the future?
At this stage, I am unsure what the future holds. I don’t think that I will stay a teacher forever, but I do think that I would like to remain in education, in some capacity. I am eager to return to education as a student, and potentially pursue a PhD in History, or even to pursue Education Leadership and Business management. Both of which interest me greatly. The advantage of working within education, permits me the ability to engage with this in a professional capacity to potentially further develop my career, my employer, but also my own interests.
If you had a time machine, what would you go back and tell yourself at uni?
I spent far too much time worrying about consequences of actions that weren’t pertinent to the time period. This was obviously dictated by the anxiety and depression, but I feel I didn’t take advantage of all the services available to me, early enough. I spent far too long regretting choices or lack of choices and ruminating on the potential consequences.
I would say, no matter the output, the input must reflect what you hope to achieve.
Finally, is there anything else you’d like to share with our alumni community?
My standout memory from NTU, was being fortunate enough to not only receive a great education, but also being permitted the opportunity to both join and eventually run the Men’s basketball team; to such extent that we won our Varsity match against the University of Nottingham in 2016 in front of thousands of people, televised on the internet. It has been my pleasure over the years to watch the team go from strength to strength under great leadership. I am truly Proud to be Pink.
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