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Samantha Flood (BA English literature 2009)

Biography

Whilst at Reading, I had my first taste of fundraising as a student caller for the Annual Fund. I also heard about Raleigh International, a wonderful youth and sustainability charity, and have subsequently been part of two expeditions to India. After working in the charity sector in London for two years, I have now returned to work for the University of Reading, and it's wonderful to be back!

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

It was far enough away from home for me to gain my independence, but close enough to go back to my hometown of Kent if I needed to! More than that though, I just got a great sense of Reading's wonderful community atmosphere when I visited the campus. It has some fantastic green spaces, it's close to London, and I could just see myself belonging. It also had an excellent reputation for English as a subject, with compelling specialist topics, and a great library.

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

Having everything you need within walking distance - being able to stroll along the Thames, which is gorgeous with lots of ducks and swans - but also being able to hop on a half-hour train to the capital!

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

Take advantage of everything the University has to offer: the sports, societies, special events, discounts, talks - being involved with RAGS (the Raising and Giving Society) and seeing Raleigh International at a careers fair ignited my passion for the charity sector, which has governed my career path since graduating. There are so many possibilities and new things to try.

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

I now work in the Campaigns and Supporter Engagement Office at the University of Reading, developing projects with academic staff - I get to experience fascinating research, meet inspiring people - and I wouldn't be here if I hadn't taken a part-time job student-calling with the Annual Fund. It's amazing how small choices lead to big opportunities in your future.

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

Volunteer. It's not essential, but it can be so rewarding. I worked as a Volunteer manager in India, which gave me project management experience - and was one of the greatest things I have ever done. It's a combination of things that have got me into this sector - but try different things, have great enthusiasm, and keep an open mind.

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

I worked for the University alongside my degree in my third year - and I wouldn't be here if I hadn't done that!

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

It's never too late to get involved in campus life - so take advantage of being able to do unusual things and grab the opportunities at fairs and events. But I'd also say factor in the time to enjoy yourself (and do something liberating like travelling!) before you worry about embarking on a career path.

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

There are too many to choose from. I loved being part of numerous societies and writing for the Spark* newspaper - seeing an article you have written on the front page is a good feeling. To me, the University holds such a wealth of possibility, knowledge, and ideas - it's ever-changing and growing - that's what makes it so exciting to be a part of it. I also love the fact that even after years of studying in HUMSS, I still get lost - it never ceases to a-'maze' me... 

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