Rosemary Cargill
BSc Geography, Year 3
Hi! My name is Rosemary and I'm going into my third and final year of my Geography degree (a scary and exciting thought)! My time at uni has flown by and I've been fortunate to have seen and done so many amazing things. I love the travelling and dynamics that comes naturally with Geography so I hope to share with you all any adventures I may embark on. I've never written a blog before so lets see where this year will take us. . .

Where to go next? The world of work is full of geographers…

What sort of career are you thinking of pursuing? What’s your dream job? What will you do when you finish uni? I know I’m probably not the only one who has been asked these sorts of questions over the years and most people I know have an answer. But what if you don’t have an answer? I don’t. At sixth form I wasn’t event sure if I would go to uni, I just knew I liked geography and here I am with one year left before I venture into the world of work. This summer I decided I would go and see what life was like for a geography graduate.

In July I spent a week with the Spatial and Land Use Planning team at Hertfordshire County Council. I had my own desk (how official) and was set tasks such as processing planning applications where I was able to use the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) programs I have used at QMUL Geography. I even had to present my planning permission decision to members of the department! I met the Flood Management Team and  was lucky enough to go on a site visit with an enforcement officer to a working quarry that was being restored. Vast pits were being filled and the surface replanted or transformed into lakes – quite a sight to see! I got a really broad insight into everything that takes place and realised my degree is actually quite flexible – everyone I met had studied geography!

My home for the week at Hertfordshire County Council

My home for the week at Hertfordshire County Council


Osprey Lake - this used to be a Quarry Pit! Photo courtesy of Friends of Panshanger Park

Osprey Lake – this used to be a Quarry Pit
Photo courtesy of Friends of Panshanger Park


I then spent 2 weeks with the Sustainability Team within the Estates and Facilities department here at Queen Mary. So much goes on behind the scenes at uni and again I had my own desk (exciting stuff) and got to work on sustainable catering policies that would be implemented across the campuses, promoting future events such as Go Green Week and found out how EU and UK law is making energy reduction and sustainability an integral part of business.

With a bit of luck, and by sending a few emails, I’ve managed to get a clear picture of what life after uni might look like. Student life differs from what is expected of you at work but you take away knowledge and experience from time at uni. If, like me, you’re struggling to find an answer, go and see what’s out there – you may even discover something you’ve never even considered before!  So do I have an answer to those questions? Not quite yet, but I do now know what paths I can explore, what skills and knowledge I need and have got the experience to help me get where I want to go, wherever that may be. Perhaps it’s time to dig out and tidy up that CV. . .

My penultimate year at QMUL Geography

From volunteering in North London to travelling in a helicopter in New Zealand, my penultimate year at Queen Mary has been exceptionally busy but nonetheless another great and exciting year.

I’ve travelled to the other side of the world, become the President of a volunteer group, achieved a Silver Green Impact Award, undertaken environmental audit training and even presented my dissertation project to prospective students. Just when I think there are no more things to be involved in, another springs up and at the end of my second year with the ‘what will I do next?’ question looming, this year has definitely provided me with countless options.

In March I travelled to New Zealand for a 10-day field trip around the South Island. The scenery was breathtaking and it was definitely a trip of a lifetime! We got to take a helicopter ride up to the Franz Josef Glacier which we walked across. We went on many walks through valleys, exploring the processes that shaped them and discussed how they might look in the future, which affirmed the knowledge we’d gained from lectures leading up to the trip. Skills developed on fieldtrips like this such as filling out field notebooks and documenting results outside of the lab have definitely prepared me for my dissertation.


Tasman Proglacial Lake, New Zealand


The obligatory task of measuring rocks for clast shape analysis (a must for any Geography student)

Since my first year I have been involved in the QMUL Canal Clean Up Volunteer group who are affiliated with Thames 21 who kindly provide equipment, training and most importantly extra pairs of hands on events! From simply volunteering at an event on campus got to know more about Thames 21, the work they do and the opportunities of leadership training. By undertaking the training, I am now the President of the group as well as an Event Support Team Member for Thames 21 outside of university. I recently helped lead an event in Edmonton, North London, where a buried river is being resurfaced to create a wetland. I’ve developed my team work skills, organisation capabilities and learnt to work to a schedule as on events you can be working with 20 or so people. These skills are going to be transferable into the workplace but primarily I really enjoy helping out and using what I learn at university to teach others the science and reasoning behind such projects like the one in Edmonton.

clean up

All the volunteers getting ready for a canal clean up!

green impact

The 2015 Green Impact Awards

In my first year, I also got involved with Green Impact which aims to make the university more sustainable and environmentally aware. Having achieved Bronze last year, my team has completed the Silver Award. Again, being organised, able to achieve on a deadline as well as working and communicating with a team are all skills I’ve gained from the experience here at QMUL, but still it’s being able to put what you study and understand into practice while working with like-minded people that I enjoy most about Green Impact. Through being a Green Impact Project Assistant, I was able to undertake an IEMA approved audit training. It was an insightful day where I got to see what other Green Impact Teams were doing as well as developing experience and skills that will set me in good stead after I graduate.

Now…to get ready for my final year… 🙂

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