Kicking off my weekly life as an English student, early this morning I travelled from my flat in Campus East to Campus West, where the Department of English is based. Today was filled with three lecture Q&As. These are helpful contact times to reflect on lectures and raise any questions or thoughts, or to learn more about certain aspects. The staff are always happy to help! After the Q&As, I caught up with friends as we walked out of the lecture hall, and we made our way to the library café for a much-needed coffee break!
While on Campus West, I made use of study spaces available. My favourite is the Spring Lane Building. This is a modern space with a variety of areas to work in, including large, very comfortable seats! I also tend to visit the FR Leavis Room in the Department. This is a quiet, cosy space to work in as it is filled with sofas. I’ll read a book here and feel like a total English Literature student! Today, in the Spring Lane Building, I began seminar preparations for this week. I revisited the set texts, made notes, and gathered my thoughts ready to discuss in seminars with my tutors and peers. To do this, I turned to the VLE website and answered the questions provided, which will set me in good stead. The VLE is a useful tool to view your module structure, and to equip yourself for the week ahead.
Today I had my first seminar of the week for the Age of Extremes: Twentieth Century British and Irish Literature module. This exciting module explores a variety of texts, ranging from the early 20th century with Woolf and Eliot, right up to the turn of the millennium with Zadie Smith and Caryl Churchill.
Before starting university, I found the idea of seminars quite daunting. The prospect of having the confidence to speak out on unfamiliar, often challenging topics in front of new people was scary. However, I want to let you know that while seminars can sometimes feel like a challenge, they are a safe space to dive into conversation about texts with tutors and peers. If this is something you worry about, rest assured that in time your confidence will develop! Also, Covid-19 measures are in place on campus. Everyone takes into consideration the health and wellbeing of others. Students and staff wear face coverings in class as safety on campus is a priority – don’t worry!
After my seminar, I went back to my flat to brainstorm some ideas for a Renaissance essay I’m working on. I find seminar days quite tiring, so after this I got into my PJs for some light reading – currently Michelle Obama’s Becoming – then into bed!
This morning, I was up and out for my Critical Practice module. The workshop ended at midday, after which I travelled into the city centre. I met up with my dad and went to the iconic Bettys Tea Rooms for lunch. Its aesthetic interior, not to mention its sweet treats, render it a hot spot to visit. Afterwards, we walked around the city and admired York Minster. While I’m on the subject, University of York students have access to the York Minster Library: just scan your student card, and you’re in!
After taking the afternoon off, I returned to my flat to read and prepare for tomorrow’s seminar. I looked at the VLE questions, ready to voice my thoughts in class. Preparatory work for seminars helps me feel confident in class, as I am more secure in the texts we’ll look at, so have more ideas. Do make sure you use the VLE to your advantage!
Today I was up early (*yawns*) for my 9am Renaissance seminar. I grabbed a coffee from the library café to wake me up for the two-hour seminar ahead. After, a friend and I wanted to check out Thin Ice Press, the Department’s very own printing press. Modules within the degree often explore the impacts of print on literature as we know it. This has made me curious about how print works, so I checked it out. As a student here, you can explore interests generated from modules through the Department’s facilities. Thin Ice Press is an accessible, unique addition to the University, and you can get involved! Learn printing techniques with historic presses by joining the Print and Press Society when you arrive!
No seminars today! Instead, I prepared for next week and watched pre-recorded lectures and read set texts. I’m currently looking for Marketing and Advertising summer internships for 2022. So, today I also checked the University’s Student Internship Bureau website as it provides plenty of opportunities for you to utilise. Internships can be difficult to find, so having this platform is reassuring!
Later, I walked around the lake, which is a perfect way to switch off from work. The beautiful views are cathartic. The lake and surrounding greenery hold geese, rabbits, birds, squirrels and more. Campus is home to Long Boi: a tall, well-known Mallard-Indian Runner Duck. Follow his fan account @longboiyork on Instagram, and look out for him when you’re here! Walking among this stunning scenery was a great end to the day.
Over the weekend, I always make sure to balance leisure and work. For me, being organised is a necessity, and my planner is a lifesaver! As a student, make sure you find time to relax and socialise. This weekend, a friend and I went into the city centre for shopping and drinks – there are many bars to choose from. I also did my laundry (slightly boring), carried on with essay ideas, and did some reading for the week ahead. The weeks at university fly by, but I’m loving every moment, and I hope you will too!