AlumNouse: In Conversation with Isabelle Brattle


Grace Bannister (she/her) interviews Isabelle Brattle, a 2023 graduate studying an MA Law Conversion

Article Image

Image by Isabelle Brattle

By Grace Bannister

Welcome back to AlumNouse, the medium aiming to connect our students and alumni community. Our next alum is Isabelle Brattle, a 2023 BA History graduate now studying an MA Law Conversion at the University of Law’s London Moorgate campus.

Isabelle and I actually met in my first year at York, at a James College Netball Club (JCNC) taster training session. Isabelle was introduced to me as a fellow History student and as a friendly, and happy-to-help third year. Like many recent alumni, Isabelle’s first year was almost entirely remote. Not allowed to meet in groups of greater than six meant freshers couldn’t even sit with all of their flatmates. Teaching was done online, and the second term was met with a lockdown and an instruction to return home. While impacting freshers in particular, who were unable to join societies until the end of summer term, Isabelle’s resilience and positive outlook meant that she valued the opportunity to get to know her flatmates sitting around the kitchen table playing cards instead of in Salvos.

It was in the third term of her first year that university started to resemble what it is today. Two weeks before the end of the academic year, societies opened their doors to freshers who’d been eagerly waiting to join. Isabelle joined JCNC and described to me how welcoming the club was. However, the return to some kind of normality was short-lived for Isabelle. In an early match, Isabelle ruptured her ACL and ATFL, and broke her ankle leaving her in a wheelchair for the summer and much of second year. When discussing her injury, our conversation quickly turned to York’s accessibility for wheelchairs.

For most of us, the hardest part about navigating York is avoiding tourists and the long queues for Harry Potter shops. But for Isabelle, her injury meant relying on her friends to help her navigate our city and campus in an entirely different way. Fortunately, her time in a wheelchair was temporary with recovery promised through rehab and physio. However, this experience was still immensely formative for Isabelle. She shared her experience of student life in a wheelchair, which involved finding accessible entrances and discovering that Uber doesn’t take wheelchairs! It also made Isabelle realise that she’d like to work for wheelchair and accessibility charities in the future.

While Isabelle only managed a few matches at JCNC, this didn’t stop her enthusiasm for the club. From being a social member in her second year, to the Treasurer of JCNC in her third year, Isabelle’s commitment to the club has helped to form it into what it is today, and allowed for her to develop a professionalism suited to the corporate world. Isabelle approached the nightclub Flares to initiate a sponsorship deal for the club, and worked as a broker to negotiate contracts. She had almost daily contact with Flares and was responsible for maintaining a professional relationship and positively representing the club. As Treasurer, it was also down to Isabelle to manage the sponsorship deal and money. For JCNC, this meant a snazzy Flares logo on the netball dresses, and for the Committee, a VIP no-queue status. Isabelle described Flares as “so lovely to work with”, and worked through what was “uncharted territory” for both Isabelle and JCNC.

I asked Isabelle to describe her university experience: “busy, that’s for sure”. And, busy she was! Alongside her History degree, overcoming her injury, and her role as JCNC Treasurer, Isabelle was also gaining work experience for her MA Law Conversion application. Isabelle told me that she’d always considered law, but that her decision was cemented after having completed, and enjoyed, some legal work experience. Furthermore, both the University of Law and BPP University attended a ‘Next Steps’ Careers fair at York which allowed Isabelle to speak with both institutions and to decide on her next steps.

We spoke about how she’s finding the change of degree and the notoriously challenging MA Law Conversion. Isabelle told me that, particularly within the field of law in which everyone is gaining qualifications and experience at their own pace, it is important to not compare yourself to your peers. Isabelle advised to take things at your own pace, to believe in yourself but to also reach out and ask for help when needed. Isabelle now lives in London with two friends from JCNC. While her university experience certainly “wasn’t what [she] anticipated it to look like”, she certainly left her mark at York and JCNC, and has taken experiences and memories with her.

Want to get involved? Whether you are a current UoY student and want to write for AlumNOUSE, or if you’re a York alum and want to share your story, please contact me via my email: