John Moran Educational - Trust Making financial awards to support the entry into higher education
Student Profiles

The Trust has made awards to over forty two deserving students from the Merseyside region since it was set up in 2003. Here’s more about what these students did with their awards, and what it meant to them:

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Profile twenty three

Moving away from home is a daunting prospect for anyone. This anxiety is exacerbated for  anyone who decides to move away to study at university. Not only are there pressures to acclimatize both geographically and socially one must also adapt to the rigours of independent financial responsibility. So, when I decided to move to Edinburgh to study English Literature the financial pressures I knew would ensue were, unfortunately, a pressing concern. I was, however, fortunate enough to be pointed toward the John Moran Trust. Their generous grant will enable me to fully immerse myself in the academic demands of the course whilst simultaneously allowing me to pursue social and extra-curricular activities.

Moreover, the grant has, essentially, actualized a long term ambition to study English Literature. Anton Chekhov described literature as his “mistress”.  In some respects I too am beguiled, though it is by the myriad complexities of literature, by its staggering simplicities and, most pertinently, its essential subjective critical appreciation.

Having come from a single parent household and being the eldest of three siblings I knew that monetary aid from home could not be expected and I consequently sought out bursaries and other forms of financial support. This fact, coupled with the intimidating cost of tuition and accommodation has meant that any external assistance has been of immeasurable help.

My domestic situation served as a catalyst to pseudo-financial independence, working twenty hours a week in term time and full time during holidays has given me an indicator of the precarious balance, one where I could not always guarantee equilibrium, which needs to be struck between studying and work. Though this essentially worked for two years it was by no means an ideal system which often resulted in anxiety and unnecessary levels of stress, especially considering that I studied four A levels; English, History, RE and Psychology (fortunately I managed to gains four ‘A’ grades).

I would be doing a disservice to the John Moran Trust if I tried to pen a eulogy to them; rather, I will say that I am humbled and eternally thankful for their charity and good will.

My first year at Edinburgh has been demanding and hugely enjoyable. The intellectual challenge of studying three subjects, majoring in English with Psychology and Classical Greek history as electives, simultaneously has been testing though I have found it immensely rewarding and stimulating. This year has ratified my decision to study English and has prompted re-evaluations of my own thinking and methods of reading. I have been incredibly lucky to study at such a prestigious university and live in a city so rich with historical, cultural and political significance.

The inherent difficulty of financial independence had, at times, been very worrying. Thanks to the John Moran Trust I did not have to maintain a job during my studies; something which would have certainly had a harmful impact upon my studies. Without their aid the first year would have been significantly less enjoyable and, crucially, financial concerns would have overridden university life. Fortunately such concerns did not dominate my fresher year and I have been able to immerse myself in study, socializing and acclimatizing to independence in a new city.

I can only thank the John Moran trust again. Their good will has ensured that my first year of university has exceeded all of my expectations.

Second year at university has been more interesting, more difficult and more rewarding. The course followed the historical periods, late eighteenth century and Victorian, which I was most looking forward to studying. 'Northanger Abbey' and 'Hard Times' were notable high points. Thanks to a few ebullient lecturers whose palpable enthusiasm made even the most tedious topics interesting, second year English Literature has been most rewarding. The elective system at Edinburgh means that I was able to continue Classics in second year. This year we studied Classical art ranging from Greek Hellenistic to Roman Imperial incorporating architecture, sculpture, pottery and coins.

This year also meant moving out of halls and into rented accommodation. The move away from University accommodation and into the real world was an important learning experience. Dealing with difficult letting agents and builders, arranging bills and direct debits, and living with four other people forced me, and the people I  live with, to mature.

For the second year running I was able to manage on the money available to me without having to take term time employment. This meant that I could focus on my studies. This was made possible by the generosity of the John Moran Educational Trust. Without their grant I would definitely have had to find a job and its requirements would doubtless have had a detrimental impact upon my studies.

Hopefully third year will be as challenging and rewarding as my second year.

My third year at Edinburgh University was my most enjoyable and stimulating. Academically, I experienced the rigorous demands of honour level English literature studies. The intellectual effort and focus on self-directed study has been a distillation of my preceding years. Thanks to increased demands, I have consciously developed my methods of analysis and critical appreciations; a module in literary theory inspired reading and practical application of Harold Bloom’s The Anxiety of Influence.

More than anything, last year has focused my academic interests. After studying Chaucer under a tutor whose alacrity vivified potentially staid subject matter, I have chosen my dissertation topic: meta-fiction in The Canterbury Tales. Moreover, because of the enthusiasm and erudition of another tutor, I have chosen to continue my studies of Northern Irish literature. Next year I will be moving from poetic responses to the Troubles to fictional reactions. I was also able to study British literary responses to nineteenth century imperialism, and the literary responses, ranging from Montaigne to Margaret Cavendish, to scepticism.

Alongside the singular academic focus on English Literature, I became involved in student radio. During my third year I presented and co-presented two shows. I have also become involved with an online music website and have contributed several articles and intend to submit an article to an American based publication.

Third year has fuelled my passion for English Literature and ratified my love of Edinburgh. I could not have hoped for a more solid basis for my fourth and final year.

Having completed my four years of study at Edinburgh University, I have been able to reflect upon the salience of the John Moran Educational Trust’s generous bursary and continued support.

Throughout my years of study I have been able to avoid term time employment. The extra study time this afforded me has proven invaluable. I know that without the financial support of JMET my academic progress would have suffered. Thanks to JMET I have been able to achieve a First Class Honours from Edinburgh and, moreover, have gained a place on a Masters English course at Edinburgh and intend to carry on to study at PhD level. The JMET bursary has enabled me to reach my academic potential.

Over the course of the last academic year I studied a variety of modules and completed my dissertation. The latter, applying modern critical theory to Chaucer’s ‘The Canterbury Tales’, was particularly enjoyable and stimulating. I have been able to broaden my critical reading and found Mikhail Bakhtin’s theories of the novel and language provoking. Modules in contemporary Irish fiction, post Second World War British literature, First World War verse and prose, and Medieval Romance provided a catholic and stimulating corpus of primary and secondary reading. I have been fortuitous and happy with all of my reading and writing.

Though the bursary enabled me to concentrate on my studies, it allowed me to pursue other interests. I continued to present a radio show throughout the year and wrote articles for an online music website.

Fundamentally, this year cemented my love of English literature and confirmed my desire to pursue my studies to the highest academic levels. Without the continued support of JMET, this would not have been possible.