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Showing posts from February, 2013

Thoughts on Trains, or, Why we Hate Trains...

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On Monday 18th February, the Metro headline ‘Red Signal from Train Passengers’ (article by John Higginson) was hardly a surprising one. Let’s face it, trains are pretty rubbish. I know it’s wonderful that they’re available, they travel so quickly, the seats are usually comfortable and it’s possible to get a good deal. But just under two years ago I became ‘A COMMUTER’, and my view on trains changed for the worse.
Metro, 18.02.2013, article by John Higginson
I travel between Darlington (where my flat is) and York (where I go to university) between two and five days a week. It’s a 24 minute journey. I travel at a mixture of peak and off-peak times. And I have a 16-25 railcard. I book my trains the night before I travel, and I’m a standard class train passenger.
One issue is, of course, price. Some train tickets have faced price increases of around 4.2%, despite the fact that we travellers have seen very little visible change in the service we receive. Journeys of comparable distance v…

Why I've Done an English Literature Degree

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At university, I am student manager for the English department, which involves organisation of the visit days for prospective students who have received offers to come here. Again and again, even more so now as I’m coming towards the end of my degree, parents ask me what I feel I have gained from studying English Literature at university. So here goes, I’m going to try and write a blog post about it!
Me at the beginning of second year, ready to work at an open day
Organisation – Many may say my obsessive organisational skills didn’t really need working on, but studying English can test even the most diligent to-do-list-writers. As the contact hours are few, the spare time can seem daunting, even though, realistically, we need all of that time to actually do the work in. Without a timetable telling you that you must be present in a certain room from 9am until 5pm, it can be hard at first knowing how to schedule your time.
Speed-reading – We read. A LOT. I have always been a fast reader, …

How to Behave at the Theatre

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Jen Symes (left) as Nickie, Vicky Geary (centre) as Charity and me (right) as Helene in Sweet Charity Some of the cast of BYT's Footloose in 2009
I love going to the theatre. Big budget musicals, tiny touring productions and amateur shows are, for me, a treat to watch. Even if I don’t enjoy the show, I still always take something away from it, and quickly book my next theatre trip. Since I was 13, I’ve performed in youth musicals. I did a summer course with Youth Music Theatre, where we wrote a musical and performed it at the end of the week. I’ve been to Stagecoach. I’ve done terms and summer schools with Upstage. Playing Mary Poppins at an Upstage summer school was my first time singing on stage, and definitely one of the best experiences! I then did a few shows at Brookdale Youth Theatre, in Bramhall, where I got to understudy and play Cosette in Les Miserables, play Mrs Molloy in Hello Dolly, Ariel in Footloose and Helene in Sweet Charity. This doesn’t even include school produ…

Just an Orange Juice, Please

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I’m 20 years old and I don’t drink alcohol. Not a drop. Ever. And I never have. I find it so interesting to see how people react to that. Usually, they laugh as if I’m joking, or look at me as though I’m an alien. Being a non-drinker just doesn’t seem to be socially acceptable, especially when you’re a student. I feel like admitting I don’t drink causes people to instantly jump to conclusions, like I never go out, I’m unsociable and I can’t have fun. At times, I’ve found myself avoiding a drink altogether in certain bars or clubs, so as to avoid the awkward questions. In the last three years, since leaving home and going to university, I’ve had to think a lot more about the fact I don’t drink. Whatever people say, there is a drinking culture based around universities today. I saw a friend at Christmas who admitted he had never tried out for university sports teams because he didn’t like the thought of being forced to drink so much at socials. Those who do go out and do drink will insi…

What Sophie Said

I'm Sophie, I'm 20, and I'm in my final year of an English Literature degree. For the last year, I've been writing a blog of arts and events reviews, and discovered a bit of a love for using writing to get my opinions out. So. Time for a new blog. This will be my space for discussing current events, trending twitter topics, and the annoying people on the bus you love to hate. My family might say I get a bit too wound up about certain things. I like to think I'm 'passionate about what I believe in'. I don't pretend to be an expert on all I write about, but I definitely have ideas to share. Because I'm just an ordinary girl in her twenties. I love time with friends, I'm reluctant to write essays. I'll judge what people wear when they walk past in the street (don't pretend you don't too), and I have to force myself to go to the gym. I read heavy university books of literary theory, and I love a glossy magazine. What's most important…