Elaine completed her BA Sociology degree in 1996, and became Community Missioner for the Leicester Diocese.
Why did you choose to study Sociology at the University of Leicester?
I had done a community course called 'Issues in Society' at the Linwood Centre and it helped me to see my life from different perspectives and how my life inter-related with those around me. It taught me that you don't have to just 'shut up and put up!' with life, that you can change things, even if it is only your own perspective. That led on to the Access course in Humanities and Social Sciences which led onto the BA course. Afterwards, I did a PGCE in teaching adults and gained a Post Graduate Diploma in Social Sciences at DMU.
How has studying Sociology influenced your career choice?
I have always veered towards careers that empower the disenfranchised. I class job satisfaction as more important than salary, hours or status. Just after I started this job I turned down a £30k full time job at Glen Pava YOI for a part-time Missioners post at 10K - this gave me more time to do voluntary work. At present I volunteer at Craft Cafe for 0 - 11 years olds; Youth Cafe for 12 - 19 year old's and Investigators at St Christopher's Church.
How has Sociology shaped your view of everyday life?
I am always looking for 'who has the power' in situations, I have a healthy cynicism of the media, don't believe gossip so readily and won't take no for an answer if I really want to do something. For instance, I have been invited to the selection conference in September to train as a Church Army Officer - I'll be 59 when I'm licensed!!
What advice would you give to anyone considering studying Sociology?
Definitely do it!! You will never look at the world in the same way again. It like gives you an arsenal of theories and perspectives to take on the negative traits in society like racism and sexism. It will challenge you, stimulate you and sometimes drive you absolutely crazy - but it will be worth it when you look back and see that, in some small way, you made a difference.