Sam Briggs (2012)
“During my time at Trinity Hall…I developed my own self-awareness as a woman for the first time”
How do you look back on your time at Trinity Hall?
My time at Trinity Hall wasn’t so long ago but I look back at it fondly, though the words ‘exam season’ are still enough to strike fear and anxiety in me! Despite the hundreds of hours spent in the library, I am incredibly grateful for the people I met and the experiences I had. Without the support of the College and the Trinity Hall Association, I would never be where I am today.
Why did you choose to study Geography?
I feel Geography is often overlooked as a subject but at Cambridge I realised that its true value is in drawing connections across a broad range of social and physical sciences and analysing them through space and time. I actually came to Cambridge wanting to study volcanology but after studying human and physical geography for two years, I discovered that my true passion was political geography. As such, in the future I hope to continue my volunteer work and develop a career in post-conflict development and refugee support.
Do you have any advice for other women looking to work in your field?
During my time at Trinity Hall I was exposed to so many inspirational people and ideas that I formed an opinion on gender equality and developed my own self-awareness as a woman for the first time. Though I truly value the education I had in female empowerment at Cambridge, encountering both positive and negative gender discrimination in other areas of the world I have volunteered in since (Botswana and Vietnam) was a sharp reality shock for me. My advice for other women looking to volunteer or work in less developed societies is to be patient, understanding of the culture and gently help develop ideas of female empowerment but do not feel as though you have to engage in any cultural practices you are uncomfortable with.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Though I still feel pretty young, I definitely have some advice I would give to my pre-Cambridge and Cambridge self: you don’t have to follow a set path! Not everyone follows the traditional route. Take a chance and look for the opportunities that allow you to take a risk – they are often the most invaluable and life-enriching experiences you will have.