Alumni profile - Lucy Sofroniou
I started Queen Mary at such a pivotal moment in my life and it has become a place of so many great memories for me. It was such a positive experience, both academically and personally - I'll always look back on those three years so fondly.
What influenced your decision to study English at Queen Mary? Did you have a particular career path in mind? I instinctively knew I wanted to study English from as far back as I started thinking about what I’d study at university – I wanted to learn as much as I could about literature and writing! As soon as I visited Queen Mary, walked around the campus and heard about the modules, I knew it was the place for me.
What aspects of your degree did you find most enjoyable? What modules did you enjoy learning about and was there anything that surprised you in your studies? I really enjoyed the lectures for the Shakespeare and Literature In Time modules. As these were modules from my first year, I feel particularly nostalgic when I think about them (and the huge Shakespeare anthology we used, which caused a lot of surprised/shocked looks on the tube!) but I also found it so interesting to learn about the history behind literary masterpieces and the context in which they’d been written. It surprised me that literature was such a big part of other disciplines and in particular, psychoanalysis - it just goes to show how much of a versatile degree it is in that it puts you in good stead for whatever you want to do post-uni.
You gained quite a lot of journalistic experience while you were studying. Can you talk about how you got into these roles and what they were like? One of my part-time jobs while studying was working as a freelance lifestyle editor for IN Covent Garden magazine. While looking for writing work, I came across their website and realised that there seemed to be a gap in content for books, fashion and general lifestyle topics. So I gave them a call and asked if they would be willing to read some content - they then opened up a role for me and I was super excited! It meant I could attend networking events and work with some of my favourite companies in the Covent Garden area. On campus, I joined the editorial team for The Print and this was a great experience for me - it helped me to feel more involved in uni life and gave me a real idea of what it'd be like to work at a publication.
Following your BA, you studied for an MSc in Theoretical Psychoanalytical Studies at UCL. How did you transition from English to Psychoanalytics? In the final year of my English degree, I took the 'Reading Psychoanalysis, Reading Literature' course. It was a ripple effect, as I then decided to write my dissertation on Freudian psychoanalysis and its link with the literary world. As the year went on, I continued to learn so much from the module and it sparked such a huge interest, that I decided to continue studying it!
Can you describe what you do now and what a typical working day looks like for you? I now work in marketing in academic publishing. A typical day for me would involve a few meetings, creating content for both print and online marketing materials, as well as maintaining our online presence.
What are your hopes and plans for your career going forwards?
I hope to just enjoy whatever it is I am doing and at the moment, I'm learning so much about the publishing world. I'd also really like to continue writing and use what I've learnt to create psychology and wellbeing-related content. So in a nutshell, literature, writing and psychology are areas I'd ideally want to be involved in. And I'll expand my learning with a PhD one day!
You recently launched a new blog, ‘A Little Light’. What is the blog about? Yes! A Little Light is the journal section of my website. It's all about psychology, wellbeing and ways of being present. The idea to create this blog came to me during lockdown; I realised that more often than not, we are in control of how we feel and our perspective on the world can shift our entire experience. So, I wanted to create a space where I could share my favourite, uplifting quotes from my favourite books and where I could write mini-blogs on psychology/neuroscience topics. I chose the name 'A Little Light' because I hoped that what I shared would work as a reminder - as much as a reminder to me as I hope it will be to others - that there is always a lighter, brighter way of looking at things.
Looking back, how did your time and study at Queen Mary help prepare you for your career? Aside from literary knowledge - working on assessments and meeting deadlines really helped me with time-management and organisation! Getting involved in the Student Union and joining The Print Newspaper also helped me in terms of content creation and teamwork.
What was special about your time at Queen Mary? Can you give one or two examples of your most memorable moments or favourite places on campus? I started Queen Mary at such a pivotal moment in my life and it has become a place of so many great memories for me. It was such a positive experience, both academically and personally - I'll always look back on those three years so fondly. The Bancroft Building and Arts One and Two are a couple of my favourite places on campus, as most of my seminars/lectures were there! Also, the People's Palace as that's where my year graduated... Oh and I can't forget to add Drapers to the list!
What would your advice be to students interested in studying English at Queen Mary?
I'd say to go for it! Queen Mary has so much to offer. If you do decide to, make the most of all of the modules and all of the campus activities and while planning is such a huge part of student life, try to be as present as you can. Try to be in the moment for every part of your experience - even during the tricky, stressful times as they usually become the memories that you're proud of yourself for overcoming. And lastly, enjoy!