Shona Macleod

About me

I have three part-time roles right now: Senior Research and Evaluation Officer at Consortium for Street Children, Associate Tutor teaching Masters students at SOAS, University of London, and a self-employed research consultant.

Left school

June 2006. 

Senior Phase

In S4 I achieved Standard Grades (SCQF level 5) in English, Maths, French, Computing, Biology, Chemistry, Modern Studies and Music.

In S5 I achieved Higher (SCQF level 6) in English, Maths, Computing, Biology and Advanced Higher (SCQF level 7)) French (there was a timetable clash so I skipped Higher!)

In S6 I achieved Advanced Higher (SCQF level 7) Maths, Computing and Higher (SCQF level 6) Modern Studies and Psychology.

Choosing my Destination

I knew I wanted to go to university so I ordered about 30 prospectuses and talked my Dad into taking me on a tour of the country to get a feel for the ones I liked, before settling on Aberystwyth in Wales - I think the place you'll be living in is as important as the university and, if I'm honest, it was the beach that convinced me. 

I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to study, so I ended up doing joint honours in French and International Politics to keep my options open, and later ended up going into international development, after travelling a lot in my summers.

Extra Curricular & Work Experience

I worked at Millie's Cookies in town and volunteered with a group of Rainbows (5-7 year old girls), both of which helped build confidence and patience. 

Skills I've developed

As a researcher, critical thinking and curiosity are fundamental for me! Research is about asking questions, trying to explain things we don't quite understand or approaching a problem or idea from a new angle. 

Good communication has also been crucial in my career. Teaching university students means I need to be able to express quite complicated concepts in a simple way, and being able to communicate clearly has also been important for my work in international development organisations, particularly because I often collaborate with people from different countries and cultures (my favourite part of the job!).

My Advice

Follow your gut. If an opportunity feels right, go for it, even if it's scary! If it doesn't, wait for the next thing you're excited about. 

I also think it's important to remember that what you're choosing now isn't setting your path in stone. While I've worked in international development since finishing my Masters in 2012, I've done quite a few different roles - from communications to grant management/fundraising to doing a PhD which brought me to my current research focus - and I'm still keeping that variety by combining multiple roles into one unique career path that I definitely couldn't have predicted back at school. Don't be afraid to try things out and see what sticks.