A week in the life of an English Lit student

Goodness doesn’t time fly – it feels like only yesterday you were all avidly reading my last blog entry, and here I am serving up another one.  But the high aerial velocity of time also means that most of you will have heard back from nearly all your university choices by now, and that is scary.  It’s scary because it means the actual decision of a first choice begins lurking in the corner of the room and coughing menacingly.  No doubt you have heard so many English course details your ears now spontaneously bleed upon hearing the words “contact hours”, so this month I thought I would try and give you a snapshot of my extra-curricular life at York.


Rosy-fingered Dawn shoves her fist between my curtains and says “Oi get up” in a gruff, Ray Winston-esque voice.  I potter around reading for my seminars and lectures that week, until at about 1pm I start getting concerned about my radio show, Saturated Facts, that evening.  I cycle to the library, meet co-host Sacha by the Encyclopaedia Britannicas and collect the one with this week’s letter in it.  We spend the next five hours chatting and fact hunting at a leisurely pace until 6pm approaches and we rush to the University Radio York (URY) studio.  The show happens and I get scared of all the buttons at the end so manage to mess up playing the news – oops!  I go home, cook and relax with housemates for a bit, then try and squeeze some more reading in before bed.

URY studio – you can’t even see all the buttons in this shot!


I wake to the shrill cry of my alarm clock, knowing that I will definitely have to rush everything to make it to my 9am Camus seminar, but still lying in bed for just five more minutes.  I rush, and just about make it in time, panting and wheezing.  After talking about Camus and Absurdism for two hours I spend the day having an existential crisis, until at 6.30 it is time for a Shambles rehearsal.  The Shambles is the improvised comedy troupe of which I am part, and is an element of York Comedy Society.  This is the group I went up to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with last summer; ComedySoc takes up two shows, a sketch show and The Shambles Improvised Comedy, and I had the most incredible month up in Scotland being a part of that.  Audiences actually paid to see us, and we had a number of four and five star reviews.  These are the sort of extra-curricular experiences it’s easy to forget about – societies often offer trips and opportunities during holidays too.  After two hours of silliness and laughter, The Shambles rehearsal ends and we all head home (or go for a drink depending on who has some free time).  End the day reading, as always.

The Shambles at the end of the Edinburgh Fringe 2015


Lectures happen, and then I have a gap until 6.30.  Last year this was filled with my LFA class as I discussed in my last blog, but this term I have stopped doing that, so I usually try and get a bit of work done in that time instead.  Then at 6.30 it’s time to set up for the ComedySoc show that week.  We put something on every week, be it improv, stand up, a sketch show, or a panel show, which provides huge numbers of opportunities to our members.  I am often performing, but if not I just sit back at 8 o’clock and enjoy the show.  Then afterwards we go and sit in a campus bar and chat until we all remember to go home.


More lectures and reading for the next day’s seminars, but I sometimes play tennis in the afternoons and then at 6.30 it is Open Improv (ComedySoc’s workshop for anyone to try improvised comedy in a low-pressure environment).  Afterwards, home for a cup of tea and reading.


By Jove!  It’s actually happened!  My one free day of the week!  No regular commitments here, just 24 hours of sweet, sweet idleness… except it’s not, because I have a seminar, and then have to try and fit in all the jobs that have a nasty habit of building up over time, like washing clothes, tidying, writing blogs, etc.  Not to mention all the one off things that sometimes turn up, like meeting friends, going to parties, auditioning and rehearsing for plays and going shopping.  And these can happen on any day!  I could be an Olympic cyclist with all the scurrying back and forth from uni that I do.

Cycle to uni for societies and you too could have legs like Chris Hoy


ComedySoc committee happens on Saturday, so we discuss last week’s show and plan the next one, along with anything else occupying the society.  Then after that it’s the writer’s workshop, where people bring the sketches they’ve written that week to be read out and chatted about.  Since I’m a terribly lazy person I rarely have more sketches to show, but I enjoy just attending to laugh and give feedback.


Finally, Sunday plays host to the stand up workshop in the afternoon, which is always good fun and very supportive.  So there you have it: one week in the life of Lewis, and despite the slight bursting around the seams I don’t regret doing any of it. York just has so much to offer those who look for it, and I can’t think of anything that makes my life more rewarding right now than the fact that I can fill a whole blog with the silly things I do beyond my degree.  Come to York, get involved, have fun.  It’s as easy as that.

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Lewis is a 2nd year English Literature student, who uses the rare moments between books to gallivant around on stage performing improvised comedy. He spends far too much time trying to keep up with the news, but still manages to be a full-time guardian of two cacti.

One thought on “A week in the life of an English Lit student”

  1. Living proof that potential Lit students do actually read the blogs – awesome stuff 👌enlightening insight into the vagaries of student life.

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