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Religious Education Teacher, Catholic Secondary School

Being part of the Catholic Society (Cathsoc) and undertaking the role of President in my final year, as well as being a part of the Chaplaincy, really helped to shape and enrich my student experience in so many ways.

Why I chose to study at Leeds Trinity

I visited many different universities and Leeds Trinity was the last one I looked at. I remember stepping off the shuttle bus and seeing this beautiful campus on top of a hill and I just knew this was where I wanted to be! The Catholic Ethos of the University really shone through on my initial visit as the Chaplaincy team were so welcoming. All the staff that I met that day were so friendly and reassuring and helped ease my nerves about moving away from home. This was a big move for me as I was the first in my family to go to university and I didn’t know what to expect!

Rhiannon Matthews outside.

My best student memories

I have so many amazing memories from my time at Leeds Trinity! I will always remember the many beautiful Masses I attended in our lovely Chapel, Wednesday Tea on the Landing, singing in Leeds Cathedral for Nightfever, attending and helping organise events like the Youth 2000 Leeds retreat and helping the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal with packing food parcels for families.

I loved being involved with the Students’ Union as a Course Rep and as a Student Trustee.  I also loved my Theology classes - we had such a small class, but this enabled us to have some of the greatest discussions and debates!

Rhiannon Matthews outside Chapel.

Taking advantage of placement opportunities

During my time at Leeds Trinity, I went on two placements, both of which were in schools. One was a primary school and the other a secondary school. These placements were very valuable as I knew that after I had finished my degree I wanted to go into teaching. These opportunities enabled me to get some first-hand experience in a classroom setting and figure out which age group I wanted to specialise in. It made me realise that I definitely wanted to go into Secondary school teaching.

Leaving with new skills

I left Leeds Trinity with so many skills which have helped to make me a more well-rounded individual. Studying Theology and being involved in extracurricular activities I was able to develop skills in critical thinking, debating, leadership, teamwork, research and so many others that have continued to help me after completing my course.

Being part of the Catholic Society

Being part of the Catholic Society (Cathsoc) and undertaking the role of President in my final year, as well as being a part of the Chaplaincy, really helped to shape and enrich my student experience in so many ways.

The Chaplaincy was a quiet place in all the madness where you would receive so much support, encouragement and a cuppa anytime you needed it! It was a place where I found some of my best and life-long friends, where I had the best laughs and also where I was supported in developing my own faith.

The Chaplaincy is a place like no other and I will always look forward to returning there for Mass in the future! Being part of the CathSoc and leading it was a huge joy throughout my time at Trinity. I loved meeting new people from all different backgrounds and faiths and being able to share experiences, facilitate trips out or just go to the pub. This was where some of my greatest memories come from - Cathsoc provided fellowship and friendship where people could just be themselves and have a good time!

Rhiannon Matthews singing.

Life after graduating

After completing my degree at Leeds Trinity, I went on to do a SCITT teacher training course back home in the North East. This was a fantastic next step for me and was the next stage of my learning journey which helped to secure a job as a teacher of Religious Education in a Catholic Secondary School.

My advice to anyone thinking about coming to Leeds Trinity

My strongest advice for anyone studying at Trinity is to make the most of every opportunity and get involved with everything you can because the time you are there goes so fast! Don’t look back on your time there and regret not doing things sooner or getting involved with more things.