My hobbies include writing, photography and a variety of crafts. I enjoy portraiture and landscape photography and have volunteered at photograph charity events as well as running my own photography blogs. I also enjoy writing short stories and plays and developing ideas into screenplays also. The course I chose allows me to explore my hobbies in a more academic way.

I studied for my HNC in Social Sciences at Kilmarnock College before deciding that none of the subjects there were what I wanted to pursue academically. I decided that for my degree I would like to do something fun that would allow me to explore areas that I enjoyed in passing in more depth and give me an opportunity to appreciate them more. I chose the Theatre and Film Studies degree as I originally wanted to be a comedy performer, but the course has a variety of different areas to study and I much preferred learning about film theory and history and working with photography.

Before studying at Queen Margaret I had only been to Edinburgh once, and the opportunity to be far from home and become truly independent really fitted with what I wanted to achieve from University, to become a successful learner and a confident individual.

Living Away From Home

I lived in halls for the first two years of my course. For me there are a lot of positives about halls. Specifically, it allows you to get an idea of the type of person you are and the company you’d like to keep. I got on well with my first year flatmates, but I spent second year sharing with people who I became much closer to. The security of halls is also very underappreciated. Access to a 24 hour security desk and the addition of security cameras made me feel very secure when coming home at night for example. Halls are also surprisingly quiet, despite there being a lot of students pursuing their social lives. I much preferred halls to the flat I rented in Musselburgh in my third year.

I rented my own flat in third year and have rented a house in my fourth year. There are a lot of items I couldn’t have lived without, but I can narrow it down to three. A nice comfortable blanket is my first choice. Studying and writing essays is hard, but it’s a bit easier if you can be warm and comfortable while doing so. Very good stationary! For me, having nice pens and a neat notepad make me want to write notes and look over them. It’s hard to keep up with your subjects when they’re jumbled up and written on loose paper. Finally and most importantly, my own laptop. I appreciate that not everyone can have this luxury, but even a basic laptop that allows you to work on Word documents means you can write essays and study in your own space at your own time, on the move or when you’re visiting home.

My first Edinburgh Christmas has been one of my best experiences of Edinburgh so far. It’s a nice bonding experience early on in your first year for you and course mates. I would suggest to anyone studying at QMU to explore the areas of Stockbridge in Edinburgh, the Botanical Gardens and Portobello. They’re nice places to visit but they’re also very Instagram friendly and would probably provide a bit of creative inspiration for anyone who requires that for their course.

"The entirety of my playwriting module made me more confident in my skills and my abilities and I really enjoyed seeing my work progress and become more refined."
Amy Dunlop

The Course

I didn’t attend an Open Day, but my first impressions on the university based on the atrium and café alone were promising to me on my first day.

Playwriting for me has been the highlight of the course so far. I struggle with finishing ideas I have, but the encouragement I received from my lecturer was so helpful and inspiring. I got an A for my play and it’s something that I’m still very proud of. Ksenija Horvat is a treasure to the University and is one of the most accommodating and supportive members of staff. The entirety of my playwriting module made me more confident in my skills and my abilities and I really enjoyed seeing my work progress and become more refined. It’s nice to know that there are staff members like her at QMU who are invested in each individual student achieving their best.

My advice would be to know what you’re going into well in advance. I think some of the module descriptors you find on the website aren’t as descriptive as they could be. I’m not necessarily a shy person but I do have a bit of stage fright. I didn’t realise this course would be as practical as it was. But! If you can push through those first few times of having to perform, you gain invaluable confidence. And it leads to greater opportunities in behind the scenes work. This particular course was very heavily based on theory and writing skills. I only had one exam in the whole four years, which really suited the course material but also my personal preferences as I much prefer academic writing as opposed to testing, so bear that in mind.

My plans after graduation have stayed the same since I started the course. I had no illusions of grandeur and was very aware that theatre and film are very demanding and difficult industries to become involved with professionally. But this course has given me a lot of useful skills that I can apply to other jobs and has afforded me the knowledge and confidence I needed to pursue what I studied as a hobby or in a voluntary capacity until I can break into the industry if I choose to do so.

Life as a Student as QMU

I regret not joining in any societies and not putting myself forward more. Be confident in your abilities, be those academic or creative and make a name for yourself early on. Enjoy your opportunity to further your education and definitely try your hardest.


Story published 2016-2017

Drama and Performing Arts

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