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Showing posts from May, 2013

Uni Life Series Part 5: Top 10 Things I've Learnt

So here it is, part 5 of my uni life series: the top ten things I’ve learnt over the last 3 years. The previous posts covered living in halls, friendship, holidays and the academic side. This post pulls together the whole experience as I look back over my time studying for my degree. Some are directly course-related, and some are larger life lessons that I’ll be taking away with me.
Read widely This has always been a bit of a motto for me, English geek that I am, but my degree has taught me even more the value of reading. I have learnt so much from the pages of the novels we’ve studied, be they about different countries, experiences or time periods. Reading widely challenges you to ask questions, and that’s something we all need to do more of.
Take the support on offer I remember sitting in the talks at the beginning of university and wondering why I’d ever need ‘welfare support’ or help from a supervisor for any more reason than filling in forms. But then your degree runs away with y…

Uni Life Series Part 4: Academic

Part 4 of my uni life series is focused on the academic side of university. In the series, I’m also looking at living in halls, friendship, holidays and the top tenthings I’ve learnt.
Whoever said English Literature is a ‘doss’ subject at university clearly hasn’t studied our course. I obviously expected a degree to be difficult, but there have certainly been weeks throughout my degree where I’ve thrown my pen or book across the room and declared that I know nothing and will never accomplish anything in my life. It’s pretty intense. Who would have thought that preparing for 4-7 contact hours a week would be so stressful?
For the York degree course, the entry requirement is 3 As… In working so hard to get those grades, I didn’t think about the implications of this when I actually begun the course. Chances are, the majority of people doing our course are doing it because they like the subject, and because they have always been good at the subject. When we then arrived at university, …

Uni Life Series Part 3: Holidays

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This is part 3 of my uni life series – 5 blog posts in which I reflect back on my three years at university. I’m looking at halls, friendship, holidays, the academicside and the top ten things I’ve learnt.
By far one of the oddest things about being at university is that strange limbo between being independent yet still being in education, reliant on your parents and/or loan, and returning home for university holidays. Realistically, the minimum student maintenance loan is rarely enough to cover all rent, utilities and living expenses and most students have to get jobs (term time or in holidays) or rely on extra support from their parents.
In this post I’m focussing on those ‘in-between’ times, the holidays in between terms. Most of us, when it gets to Christmas, Easter and summer, pack up and return home for at least a portion of those breaks. The packing itself is hard enough; 5 weeks at home is a large amount of things to fit in a suitcase. In addition to that, there are the boo…

Uni Life Series Part 2: Friendship

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So here it is: part 2 of my uni life series. Having just completed my three-year English degree, I’m looking back at the experience and thinking about what it’s taught me. I’m looking at living in halls, friendships, holidays, the academic side, and the top ten things I’ve learnt about myself.
In this post I’m thinking about friendships, both making new ones and maintaining your ones from home. I love my friends, but I also like knowing exactly where I stand with people, so the thought of being thrown into a sea of new people and new experiences, not yet knowing who I would click with and who I could trust was more than a little daunting. As I discussed in Part One, my friends were definitely not the people I ended up in halls with, so I had to open myself up to trying more new things on my own until I met more like-minded people.
The first thing that I pass on now to people who are nervous about starting university is simple, but often forgotten: everyone is in the same boat. Everyo…

Uni Life Series Part 1: Living in Halls

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Last week, I handed in my dissertation and completed my 3-year English Literature degree, so I’m doing a mini-series of 5 blog posts attempting to sum up some of my thoughts about university: halls, friendship, uni holidays, the academic side, and the top ten things I’ve learnt during this 3 years.
Snowy Goodricke 
First up, and a vital part of anybody’s first year, was living in halls. York is a collegiate university, and I went for Goodricke College, which was on the new campus. It was possibly a little early to be on the new campus (we were the 2nd year to live there), as there was really nothing there. Now it has a bar, another college, and much more of a buzz to it. Anyway, the campus was pretty and it wasn’t far from main campus, so I thought it would be fine.
My room
My room was amazing – on the third floor, it was a corner room, and because of its bizarre shape it was far bigger than anyone else’s. I had a huge floor area between the door and bed, and a whole separate area for…

Photographic Nostalgia

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This post has taken me a while to put together, simply because my life has been taken over by essays, my dissertation, and trying to plan for life after university! Anyway, on Easter Sunday, my mum’s side of the family all came for lunch, and my parents decided it was the perfect time to sort through huge boxes and suitcases of photo albums and other memories that have been filling up our garage. The collection has grown as we have acquired collections from my grandparents and from great aunties, so going through them with the whole family present seemed appropriate. At the gathering was me, my sister and my parents, my Auntie Anne with fiancĂ©e Will, Auntie Jane and Uncle Bill, Auntie Elaine and Uncle Mark, and Great Auntie Jane with husband David. A lovely full household of Tophams (my mum’s maiden name).
Baby Sophie, looking like I'm wrapped in a cloud
A picture I now love which I discovered of me and my lovely grandparents, who are no longer with us. Very, very special! 
The act…