This term is the first term of my final year, and so marks the beginning of the end. The end of my time at university is now in the not-so-distant future and I’m trying to put my remaining time to good use. Joining societies and being involved with anything and everything is really the best way to get the most out of university, something I’m lucky to have discovered early on in my degree! I’m of the firm belief that it is better to be ridiculously busy and to do as much as possible, than to be boring and do the bare minimum. As a consequence, my life is pretty hectic!
I play the piano, violin and viola, and have played the violin in the University of York Symphony Orchestra since my first year. This is one of the many orchestras and ensembles run by the music department here at York. It’s an auditioned orchestra, so the standard of playing is very high, and I feel very privileged to be a part of it. We play three concerts a year (one a term), and our first concert is on Saturday. One of the pieces we’re playing is Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto no.2 with a student soloist. The piece is so beautiful and the orchestra and soloist sound stunning; I’m very excited to perform it on Saturday!
The other main society I am part of is the Swing Dance Society. It’s something new that I discovered at the end of my first year and it has taken over my life. I’d like to call it a healthy obsession, but I’m afraid I would be lying.
Swing Dance is a bracket term used to describe dances from the 20s to the 40s, but I mainly dance Lindyhop which is from the 30s. It’s a social dance, so there aren’t choreographed routines to learn. You learn how to lead and follow moves, so you can dance with absolutely anyone. It’s a fantastic way to meet new people, it’s great fun, you get to travel and visit new places, it counts as exercise (woohoo!) and the society is one of the friendliest I’ve ever experienced. There are simply no bad points.
I’m involved with running the society and this is my second year on the committee. Last year I was the treasurer, and this year I decided to be ‘teaching coordinator’. I get to organise workshops as well as the weekly lessons, and so this term helped to organise a Viking-themed Halloween event for the society called ‘Jorvik Swing’. This involved hosting 5 hours of classes with two sets of teachers and a social dance in the evening, for 90 people. We even made a Viking longboat for the photo booth…
Surprisingly, I still find time to do my degree! This term I’m studying four modules so I have about twelve hours of contact time a week. I’m also starting to work on my final year project which is about knot theory. We’ve been set lots of small assignments to help us get to grips with using the mathematical typesetting program, and to remind us how to write academically. It’s a bit of a relief really, because I haven’t written an essay for well over three years! Recently I’ve been doing some research into the history behind knot theory, and the motivation for it. It’s refreshing to learn something completely new and to find things out for myself; lectures are really interesting but there’s something really satisfying about discovering something on your own.