Politics and philosophy are two of the more interesting subjects you can find yourself studying at University. Most people talk about how fast-paced and varied their life is when they come to York to study. However, when studying two different subjects, this gets cranked up to eleven. With this in mind, I’m going to take you through an average week for me, if there even is such a thing!
It’s best to start the week off in the right way and this is what I try (and not always succeed) to do on a Monday. There are two lectures in the afternoon, but before that, I will try to go on a one-hour bike ride (because who needs the gym?), answer any emails from the weekend, catch-up on the news and do some of the reading for the week (which I will touch on later).
In the afternoon, my two lectures are Politics in the United Kingdom at 1 pm and Applied Ethics at 4 pm. Politics in the United Kingdom does what it says on the tin. Last term, we covered the history of British politics after 1945 and this term, we will be focusing on a wide range of subjects including the financial crash, immigration, and foreign policy. All of my politics lectures last for one hour, that has been the case both this year and last year.
Two hours after that I have my philosophy lecture in Applied Ethics. This course is very wide-ranging, touching on the ethical implications of subjects such as torture, climate change, and drugs. The lectures in this course are two hours but some philosophy modules only have one-hour lectures.
The time in between and after these lectures is spent getting my reading for the week done. This will definitely be the bulk of your time on the course, luckily it will be in subjects that you’re interested in which makes it more enjoyable.
Today, I have one lecture at 1 pm, in Comparative Politics. Beforehand, I spend the time doing more reading, as well going food shopping on the bike (tip: bring a bike, makes life so much easier). It’s also a good time for doing any cleaning and washing up which unfortunately does not do itself over the course of your stay in York.
Afterwards, it’s time for the lecture, in Comparative Politics. We focus on different types of political systems and government. In the first term, we had a big focus on authoritarianism vs democracy. This term has had a much bigger focus on the different types of democracy and their institutions.
If you have anything on Wednesday, it’ll be in the morning – the afternoons are reserved for sport and societies. In the morning, I have an applied essay seminar and a Metaphysics lecture.
Seminars are group discussions that last between an hour and an hour and a half. They are based around the lecture and reading content for the week. The great advantage of these is that you can finally have conversations with people who are as engaged in politics and philosophy as you are, which has always been a rarity for me. The lecture after this is Metaphysics which, again, covers lots of areas such as time, possible worlds and identity.
The afternoon is free for me. Again reading, shopping and cleaning is the order of the day. However, Wednesday is also the day that I do regular socialising with housemates and friends. Being at a university miles away from your family can be a bit isolating if you do not make the time to do things you enjoy with other people. Usually, this boils down to watching TV or going to a pub (especially if there is a good footy match on).
One seminar today – an hour of Metaphysics at noon. Before that though, I go onto campus for my show on University Radio York (URY). When coming to the University, I didn’t really know what I wanted to get involved with. I ended up investing my time in was university media. University Radio York is one of the many societies that you can get involved in at university, with almost every option you can think of.
Like a lot of students, there is one day of the week when I cannot have the luxury of sleeping in until 9:30 am. For me, that day is Friday. I have a 9am seminar on Comparative Politics, followed by my Politics in the United Kingdom seminar at 3 pm. Both of these last for an hour and a half. It’s worth noting that, this term, I had four modules. This can vary and it will affect your timetable accordingly, for example, last term I had three modules.
Friday is also another great day for socialising. It’s the one day a week that everyone wants to and is available to go out. We usually going into the city, which is great, day or night.
I try to spend the weekend relaxing and indulging in my two big loves: football and American football. Whilst I will make sure I do at least some reading, these days are for me. Most of the weekend is spent relaxing and doing another URY radio show.
And that’s what the life of a Politics and Philosophy student is like at York or at least the closest attempt. When you come to York, you’ll find out that every day is different. Studying these subjects is great, studying them at York is even better, I hope to see you in September!