My morning usually starts between 6:30 and 7. Admittedly I’m naturally what my old head teacher referred to as ‘a frightening morning person’. I throw together some breakfast and look through my itinerary for the day: a seminar from 9-11 and a meeting with my supervisor at 12. The seminar notes I made yesterday come out and I familiarise myself with the points that I’ve made as the breakfast stuff gets thrown into the sink. It’s also my turn to give a presentation this week and after a final run-through, I pack the whole lot into my bag and head off to uni.
Walking to campus
The walk to campus is one of my favourite parts of the day. I now live in the centre of town but last year, I lived on Campus East (the superior campus in my humble opinion). Last year, I would walk through the different colleges to get to my seminars and lectures. This year, I’m walking along the city walls for half an hour pretending that I am, in fact, at Hogwarts. The walk to uni, for me, is a chance to clear my head but on days where I’m already feeling particularly clear-headed (or if York decides to grace us with one of its downpours), I could get on one of the buses that pass right outside my flat. But today, we walk.
I get to the seminar and spend the first fifteen minutes delivering my presentation. The presentation occasionally crops up in the English course at York. It makes a refreshing change to the way you’re assessed and they’re not as terrifying as they sound. Far from being made to stand in front of a power-point and read from a script about Spencer or Milton, the tutors really encourage you to be creative. My team and I created a presentation last year by filming time-lapses of the different coffee shops in York and compared that with coffee-house etiquette of the eighteenth century and it was the highest mark I achieved that year. So naturally, I have included a stop-motion-animation video of The Faerie Queene using Lego minifigures in this week’s presentation on Duessa!
After the presentation, the seminar splits into smaller groups. We discuss our ideas before feeding back to the whole room. This is always my favourite part of seminars. I’ll often watch my tutor’s seminar plan fly out the window as someone says something provocative or controversial and our discussions then guide the rest of the seminar.
I decide to grab a quick lunch from Nisa and head to the top of the Spring Lane Building. There are loads of casual study spaces up there, as well as some perfect sandwich-eating spots that I can relax with a book in before meeting with my supervisor.
Everyone is assigned a supervisor at the start of university; they’re there to support you academically and personally throughout the degree. You’ll generally meet with them once or twice a term for a check-in, but you can visit them any time you like throughout the year. They’re your first port of call if you have what I call “a wobble”; today, I’m just having a check-in.
To the library!
My afternoon consists of a trip to the King’s Manor library. Unlike the main university library, the King’s Manor library is located in the centre of town and is one of York’s many Hogwarts-ian spots.
I meet one of my flatmates there and download all of the following week’s reading onto my laptop. The headphones go in and I work my way through the critical reading on Henry V parts one and two. There’s generally three or so pieces of critical reading that supplement each key text for each module each week. But, of course, you don’t need to worry about reading the key texts during term time because you always finish every single one before term starts. You never realise that you haven’t read a thing before term starts. You’re always much more organised than that…
When all articles are read and I’m feeling sufficiently proud of myself, my flatmate and I leave King’s Manor and visit the markets: a lesser-known goldmine of cheap stuff. My flatmate decides to leaf through the second-hand records and I award myself with a congratulatory coffee for finishing a decent chunk of the reading.
After a final amble around town, we head back to the flat and start cooking tea. I take food quite seriously; the preparing, eating and cleaning away of food is a strictly no-work zone for me. I’ll usually take this opportunity to watch something or talk to someone. Or just generally sit in a vegetative state for an hour or two.
My flatmate then drags me to the gym, which is conveniently located only a flight of stairs beneath us. The gym is another effective head-clearing exercise; I’ve often written my best essays post-gym but tonight we have arrived a little later than intended and I decide I’ve done enough work today anyway. Instead, I return to a hot shower, a book (what my mum would call a “fun book”, not a university book) and some chilled music. I might then spend a couple of minutes on my phone before calling it a night and enjoying a lie-in tomorrow.
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