The dreaded reading list:
As a literature student there is a lot of reading (pretty obvious right?). But the key thing to remember is that the reading is not actually that much if you organise your time well. I’m going to show you how I organise my time during the week to ensure I get my reading done for my seminars and workshops.
Manic Mondays… (what are those?)
For most people, Monday mornings are the worst, but for me they aren’t so bad. As a literature student you tend to have fewer contact hours compared to medical or science students who are in uni everyday – but that doesn’t mean to say we don’t have work to do! As it turns out, my timetable for this term means I am not scheduled to be in any lectures or workshops today. However, as it’s the first day of the week I want to be productive. It’s the perfect opportunity to use my Monday to crack on with the reading that has been set for the week. The English department are really good at clearly stating what you need to read and when for. All the information for each module is available online via a site just for York students: Yorkshare.
I always try to work within the working day hours (9am-5pm) with at least an hour’s break for lunch. However, being a uni student is all about finding out what works best for you and your learning style, and sometimes I like to mix it up. I tend to have a day a week where I don’t work within the tight 9-5 regime and do something fun!
This morning I had an hour-long lecture so I’m feeling quite productive in my note-taking. I’ve decided to treat myself by going to the Christmas market in the city centre with my housemate – if you’ve never been before you need to go! It is the perfect way to get you into the Christmas spirit. I snack on York Roast Company’s famous Yorkshire Pudding Wrap (yes, you read correctly!) and drink a Bailey’s in the pop-up THOR’S tipi bar. With its atmospheric open fire, cosy fur and winter garden it is not to be missed at Christmas time.
Back to the grind today. I have a meeting this morning with my dissertation supervisor. When you get to third year you write an 8,000 word dissertation on anything of your choice. This may sound really intimidating but it’s actually pretty cool. You get to write about something you find really interesting and that you have a real passion for. If you are reading this now and are thinking ‘ahhh I don’t know what I like writing about HELP!’, do not stress! The English department at York encourages you to write about stuff that you find interesting early on. You come up with all your own essay ideas and arguments over your three years. Again, this isn’t meant to intimidate you; it’s actually really useful because you have two full years practising and finding out what you enjoy writing before you write your dissertation.
Today I am in uni 2pm-6pm with two back-to-back seminars – we have plenty to do, contrary to your Uncle Tim’s view of uni students never being at uni! This term I am taking three modules, including my dissertation module which runs all year. For the other two modules I have a one-hour lecture and a two-hour workshop/seminar for each. Seminars and workshops are in smaller groups of around 15 students and are led by your tutor where you discuss the reading for that week. Some tutors set questions for you beforehand to help you prepare for the seminar, while others may ask you to give a presentation one week on the book and other required reading, which tends to be short essays about the book.
I have dedicated Friday as ‘my dissertation day’. This basically means I do all my research, reading, planning and organising today. I like to mix up where I study; I love being in the library when writing essays because I don’t have that many distractions, but if I am feeling a bit bored of the library I like to work in a café in town. York is full to the brim of lovely cafes and so many of them are student friendly! Some of my personal faves are Gatehouse, Drift In, and Forty-Five. All of them serve delicious cakes and help make the uni work a little less stressful.