Gill Leighton (BA, PhD 1979-1988)

Gill Leighton, BA, PhD 1979-1988 (at the Grand Canyon)Of all the memories, I think I should mention Brenda Corti, and the support she gave to everyone. The other thing I remember is that the people in the department didn’t take themselves too seriously, and did know how to party.

Wherever you go in the world there are connections to Essex. Essex changed my life. I gained not just a perspective but a way of life. It gave me the confidence to stand alone when I needed to. I have been lucky enough to work in social science since I left despite various politicians, and I was able to influence students; my sixth-form students used to call this “Leightonism”. I also learnt how to really write, although I took it for granted until others pointed it out.

I made life-long friends at Essex, across the University through the mature students society. Oh, and I also met my life-long friend and husband Jon Mulberg.

A Day in the Life:

* Buy cup of tea in Square 4 café. Slip into back of Howard Newby’s lecture, bit late.

* After lecture up to Common Room with other mature students and many of the lecturers.

* Dash to Library floor 3 to grab recommended readings from lecture. High correlation between speed and grades. Then enjoy camaraderie of other students all there also.

* Long lunch in Hex with students and staff (salad and yoghurt not chips. Really.)

* Back to library for an hour before pickup children. Witness occasional book theft (throwing them out the window). If summer then children already here, playing with chess set in square 2.

* Also in summer go on walk round lakes, or nature walks with Ted Benton.

* Return later in evening to socialise in Bar. Only sometimes. Honest.

* If end of year party in Towers. I leave at 10 pm. Honest.

* Later as postgrad there’s Judith Okely’s weekly methods seminar, with students from all over.

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