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Rhys Williams (BA History 2014)

Biography

I graduated from Reading in July 2014 after 3 fantastic years studying History. I am now doing a postgraduate diploma in broadcast journalism at Cardiff University ending in June. I am also very lucky and honoured to have been awarded S4C's T. Glynne Davies Scholarship (Ysgoloriaeth T. Glynne Davies).

Why did you choose to study at the University of Reading?

I am very grateful for the opportunities that were made available to me by my education through the medium of Welsh, but by the age of 18 I did want to broaden my horizons and study outside of the cosy confines of South Wales. I came across Reading's attractive prospectus, investigated a little further into the History department and liked the sound of the course. I then attended an open day and fell in love with the campus, and the rest is history!

What was the best bit about living and studying in Reading?

I loved the community feel of Reading's campus. It is big and green but the actual areas where all students live and study is comfortably intimate. You get to know so many people, not only through getting involved in different clubs and societies, but simply from spending time at the library, the students' union, and the surrounding areas. My first year was brilliant and flew by, and the following two years were just as enjoyable.

What top tips would you give to students who are beginning their studies?

The same clichéd advice as always, I'm afraid, because it's so true: just go for it! Join whichever societies take your fancy, say yes to the night out and event invitations which you're weighing up, and savour every second! The University is also an opportunity to immerse yourself academically. Never again in your life will you have the opportunity to read, discuss, and write about the subject you love with expert help and endless resources. So challenge yourself academically.

What are you up to now? How did you get there?

To get on my Broadcast Journalism course I had to prove that I had a demonstrable passion for journalism. Studying history was a great help as I developed my presentation, writing, and analytical skills. These helped me to take an active involvement in student media, such as the student newspaper Spark*, and the radio station Junction11. All of this enabled me to stand out when applying for postgraduate study.

What would be your top tips for students interested in working in this sector?

You have to have a genuine interest in current affairs and a proven passion and commitment to journalism. If you don't have these, not only are you unlikely to get on the course, but you won't even get interviewed. If you want to write, start a blog and/or write for the student paper; if you want to broadcast then join Junction11 and/or start a video log. Also, don't be scared to ask people who you like and admire for help and tips. I sent a polite email with my mobile number to a Panorama journalist whose work I admired, he called less than an hour later and spent over 30 minutes on the phone giving me invaluable tips and offers to help. If you're Robert Peston or Huw Edwards' biggest admirer, send them an email to ask for a chat, you'll be surprised how willing those in the industry are to help: they were all in the same boat once, after all!

How has the University of Reading and the Careers Centre helped in your chosen career path?

I asked the Careers Centre for help with interview and assessment day techniques and they were more than happy to help. The guidance they offered was very helpful and they put a lot of effort into helping you in any way they can. The University generally has helped me a great deal in pursuing a career in journalism. Studying under the supervision of excellent history tutors reaffirmed my passion in politics, and my entire time at Reading stimulated my academic and journalistic development.

What are your top tips for students graduating this year? What should they be doing to secure the job they want?

Be positive and confident. There are a lot of employers who want and need the skills of history graduates. Also, don't be scared to ask. The company or organisation you want to work for might not have any listed vacancies, but if you contact them and show that you're passionate about what you want to do there may be opportunities available.
The best advice I was ever given was that politeness goes a long way. It's not just a dog eat dog world out there, people value nice people so always be polite!

What does the University mean to you and what is your favourite memory?

The University of Reading means so much to me. I spent 3 wonderful years there and made some great friends for life. I intent to visit regularly, especially if a pint of beer stays below £2!
One favourite memory is far too hard, I'll have to go with a four-way tie of my first term in halls, getting my results, graduation day, and watching Wales' demolition of England in the 2013 Six Nations while outnumbered by the English at a packed Park Bar. Glorious.

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