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Homepage / Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology students Grace and Trish on life at Cranfield

Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology students Grace and Trish on life at Cranfield


“Me and Grace met during our undergrad in Ireland, and we’ve been inseparable ever since to the point that we followed each other to another country to do our master’s” – Trish Commins  

Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology MSc students and best friends, Grace and Trish, joined Cranfield in 2023, after studying Forensic Investigation and Analysis BSc in Ireland. Here they share their journey navigating student life in a new country, and their career aspirations.  

Why Cranfield?  

Trish: “Naturally I initially looked at doing my master’s in Ireland, however, these seemed to be solely in Cybercrime. As a person who is not technologically savvy, this was not a good fit for me. I therefore extended my research to other universities in the UK before I found myself on Cranfield’s website.  

“The lecturers were fascinating, and the module descriptions discussed practicals that I didn’t know were possible to do without experience in the field. Intrigued, I visited Cranfield on the open day in March 2023 and was thoroughly impressed with what I saw, to the point that as soon as I returned home to Ireland I applied to attend. The rest is history as here I am with Grace!” 

Grace: “I had been looking at Cranfield for a good few years. Before my undergrad, I wanted to do Forensic Anthropology and, when I googled universities, Cranfield appeared at the top. I looked at the modules and practicals compared them to others and decided then and there I would be going to Cranfield.”

What is student life like at Cranfield outside of study?

Trish: “I’ve been waiting for this for years and I’m very excited to be here, and get stuck into the labs, and get on crime scenes. Since joining Cranfield in September last year (2023) me and Grace both joined the Netball society, attending the weekly training on Cranfield campus with other girls on our course, and we also have students from across the University attend, like the engineers. It’s a lot of fun and a great way to burn off any stress.”

Grace: “As me and Trish live together, we started doing movie nights on Saturdays, making our way through the Marvel films as Trish has never seen them. It’s going to take us a while…

“We have also been to Bletchley Park;, the museum in Milton Keynes, it was amazing! We will be going again as it’s one of my favourite museums. There was so much to see. We were there for five hours and still didn’t see everything. You can’t do it all in one day.”

How do you balance studying and home life? 

Grace: “It took me a while to find my flow in Cranfield. Between coursework, my part-time job, and being there for my family, I was constantly putting myself last. I was in the habit of going from university to my part-time job and then just crashing in bed and waking up and feeling horrible. So, just before Christmas, I started to prioritise myself more and develop my time management skills.  After work I started having a shower with my favourite soaps, and shampoos, I would make the time to do my skincare routine and felt so much more refreshed.  

“I noticed a pattern that I’d wake up overall feeling a lot better by making this small change. I then started planning my day, so I had more time for things instead of working on university assignments until it was time to go to work, coming back and working on assignments again.

“It wasn’t functional, so I started to prioritise things I enjoy, like reading. I always have a book in my bag for when things get a little too much, I can just take it out wherever I am, read a chapter, and feel so much better and clear-headed afterward.”

Trish: “I go to the gym a lot; I like working out and just plugging my headphones in and forgetting everything else exists. Also, because I’m an adult, I have the Sims. I love making houses and dogs and it’s just a nice way of destressing and not thinking too much about the fact I’m doing a master’s and I’m in a different country. I also have a weekly facetime with my parents back in Ireland every Sunday, and my mother sends me pictures of my dog every day just to say good morning.”

What’s the end goal after Cranfield?

Trish: “The end goal is missing persons or body recovery, so Interpol is the dream, but we will just have to wait and see.”

Grace: “Eventually I want to work in either museums or with police forces, but my end goal would be to work in a disaster victim identification unit, to give people the closure only a few people can give, so if I’m trained as one of the few, I can help other people.

“Now I’m here. I love it, I feel privileged to have one of my best friends going through this next chapter with me and I cannot wait for what follows!”

Transitioning from undergrad to postgrad studies or balancing work with home life often means our personal joys take a backseat. But, as Grace and Trish discovered, making time to take small steps towards self-care and enjoyable activities that seem less important, is crucial for our well-being, especially in the whirlwind of new responsibilities and environments.

Everyone needs help sometimes; our Student Advisors and Learning Support Officers are on hand to help you work through any difficulties, no matter how big or small they may seem. The most important thing is to seek information, advice, or support whenever you need it.

Cranfield University

Written By: Zoe Nimmo

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