Laura Conroy

Laura is studying for a Master of Arts in Ancient History.

Laura Conroy

“For as long as I can remember I’ve been interested in history, but I realised that ancient history was my favourite at high school. During my undergraduate degree I fell for the “what will you do with that subject?” ploy by people concerned about my career prospects, so spent a few years studying psychology. I realised in my final year that my real passion was ancient history, and that there was no point pursing something simply for the money or to make someone else proud if you’re going to be miserable.

“My research explores whether the presence of Alexander the Great and the Macedonian army had an influence on Persian identity. This is interesting because I am able to look at the personal identity of individuals, rather than only broad cultural change.

“A recent trip to Iran gave me a greater awareness of the Persian perspective. I find it fascinating that many modern Iranians still hold a grudge against a man that came to their country over two thousand years ago. They also take great pride in their history and culture, so I wanted to investigate whether this was linked.

“I’m planning to continue my studies with a PhD, before pursuing a career in academia. The idea of being able to research and teach something I love, as well as travel for work, is incredibly appealing!

“Your treatment as a postgraduate student in the Faculty of Arts is a lot more personalised, and there is more individual advice and resources available. The Faculty also has great study spaces reserved for postgraduate students.

“I have been able to listen to talks by prominent ancient historians, and then meet and speak with them personally afterwards. This has been great for my confidence and networking practice, which will be an important skill going forward.

“The postgraduate culture in Classics and Ancient History is my favourite part of studying here. Some staff describe the postgraduate students as ‘mini-academics’, and it’s reassuring to know your ideas are heard and valid. Postgraduate students are encouraged to take part in both academic and social events, and the community as a whole is incredibly supportive.

“I would encourage anyone thinking about pursing a passion at postgraduate level to just go for it. In addition to many people believing I won’t be able to do anything with my degree, I also harboured a lot of self-doubt and thought I wasn’t good enough. It turns out that most of my peers felt the same!

“Although postgraduate study is challenging, being passionate about your subject will definitely make it worth the effort.”

Find out more about studying Ancient History