Profile picture of Mia McHugh.

RE Teacher

I had the best three years of my life at Leeds Trinity studying Theology. The small, close knit campus was just what I wanted, and I got all the support I needed from my lecturers whenever I needed it.

Why I chose to attend Leeds Trinity

I was 16 and had just started my A-Levels when our Sixth Form Careers Advisor asked me if I was thinking of going to university. I had no clue what it really meant to go to university or how to go about finding out, so I left his office with a bunch of prospectuses for Hogwarts style establishments that I had never heard of and did some research. Religious Education was always my passion- I loved learning about my religion and discovering others, so deciding what to study after Sixth Form was easy enough, but all the National Express trips with my Mum to Open Days were getting tiresome and I was becoming increasingly fed up with my current studies. It was during a revision session where I was about to throw in the towel that my teacher, an NQT, who had just graduated from Leeds Trinity University College told me to go and have a look around her alma mata.  Which I did and then on 23 September 2012, my parents dropped me, a first-generation student at Whitby Halls.

My time as a student

I had the best three years of my life at Leeds Trinity studying Theology. The small, close knit campus was just what I wanted, and I got all the support I needed from my lecturers whenever I needed it. My course mates became my best friends and trips back to Sheffield soon became few and far between. So, when I graduated in July 2015 it just seemed obvious that I should apply to stay on for the Secondary PGCE course. The PGCE was a tough and extremely tiring year, but again, the support never faltered; I met some of my best friends; and I’m now qualified to teach Religious Education to 11-16-year olds!

My best memories from my student days

My best memories at Leeds Trinity are defined by the people and the place itself. I wouldn’t have fallen in love with Sheffield’s rival city if it wasn’t for this wonderful little place. Leeds Trinity gave me a place to find out more about myself and what I wanted for my life. The people I consider to be my best friends- family even, are in my life because of Leeds Trinity.

Even after quoting Whitney Houston’s, Greatest Love of All in my job application, St John Fisher Catholic High School, Harrogate gave me my first teaching job in their RE department. For the last three years I have been a Teacher, a Form Tutor and the In-School Coordinator for the Leeds Diocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage. Leeds Trinity set me up well for the frustration, exhaustion but most importantly that elation that came with teaching young people. But as with anything, there is always a time to move on.

Mia McHugh graduation .

Returning as the Lay Chaplain 

I saw the Lay Chaplain post advertised at a point in my life where I was searching for a change; after reading the job description and realising that I met all the criteria, a friend told me that I would be daft not to apply. Then I got invited to interview, spoke honestly and I was appointed! Knowing I was coming back to Leeds Trinity was the pick me up that I needed in my life right there and then.

I stepped into a very strong Chaplaincy team and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to contribute to it. Chaplaincy should open a world of social, moral, spiritual and cultural growth to those in the university. The Chaplaincy team should be one that embraces opportunities to celebrate diversity and explore interfaith links, especially in an impressively diverse university like Leeds Trinity. If I can help people to be as happy and as settled as I was when I was a student here, then I’ve succeeded as far as I’m concerned.   

My advice to anyone else looking to follow a similar career path

To a person who is looking into Chaplaincy work, my advice would be to volunteer and get involved with your Parish/Diocese as much as your possibly can. It’s more than worship, it’s life. How can you bring people to the faith through your actions, not just your words? Chaplaincy is about encountering people where they are at and using the fact that we have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.