Steph is a second-year English Literature and
Creative Writing student. She works part time in her campus book store.
(18 January 2010)
Midnight’s Children is the only course book I’ve managed to steam through over the holidays. It reminded me a lot of One Hundred Years of Solitude. I take a deep breath now when a student buys either book from the campus book store, trying to stop myself from issuing them with a terrible warning.
In a moment of temporary insanity I also purchased Michael Cunningham’s The Hours in Oxfam. I don’t really have time to read it on top of everything else, but Nicole Kidman just looked so lovely on the cover. I believe (hope) it may give me some kind of insight into Woolf for my next essay on Mrs Dalloway.
Cereal and Surreal Seals
(3 February 2010)
I found out yesterday that I’d won the Alara Poetry Competition for January, which is always nice. My prize is two boxes of muesli – and let me tell you, muesli is invaluable to a student. My only qualm is that nature poetry is not really my thing. Poets of yore seemed to be able to do it, but all I could come up with myself was a turtle swallowing a K-Mart bag.
We are having a bake sale to raise money for Haiti, which my housemates and I all plan to contribute to. It’s strange that we can find the time in this house to bake so many cheesecakes and biscuits when we constantly bemoan the lack of time we’ve been given for our essays, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. On my 20th birthday I awoke to find an edible woman cake, Margaret Atwood style! But this time we know we have an actual cause, and I’m eager to see what our capable minds will come up with.
David is in the third year of his English Language degree. In his spare time he represents England
Oh Come, All Ye Faithful
(15 January 2010)
First semester had ended and I returned home to the North East full of the best intentions of recharging my batteries and enjoying the festivities. Instead, I endured late nights and early mornings working on two essays with a deadline of 11 January. I created myself an efficient timetable factoring in time to work on both essays, along with my dissertation, and chill a bit with my family and friends. However, much like the A1 this winter, my timetable quickly became a slippery slope. Eventually I knuckled down to a few weeks of 12-hour per day shifts, rejecting friends’ invitations out and having self-imposed bans from a certain social networking site, all culminating in a timely hand-in last Monday. Luckily, this time I avoided the night-before-hand-in red mist of doom. But it’s out there…
(25 January 2010)
My main concern over the past two weeks has been continuing work on my dissertation. I am investigating the accents of regional television news presenters, with particular focus on BBC Look North and ITV Tyne Tees. Today I am to submit 2000 words of my dissertation for feedback, but not assessment. Writing the 2000 words has helped overcome the ever-occurring slippery slope of “let’s make 350 pages of notes but not make any written contribution to my essay” and has forced me to articulate my ‘Background’ and ‘Data and Method’ sections into a grammatically complete and coherent set of sentences. Which is nice.
Hannah is in the first year of her degree in English and Creative Writing.
Early Morning Salutations
(18 January 2010)
I’m nervous and excited to be going back for semester two! Other than our reading list we had no written work for the holidays so I am looking forward to the mental stimuli. I haven’t a clue what our Drama Semester Two module will be like, it has a lot to live up to as Drama in Semester One was superb. It’s silly but I repeatedly quote the play I wrote for it half expecting people to recognise it.
Back for Good?
(26 January 2010)
It has been amazing seeing the result of Semester One's slog, two 1sts and a trio of 2.1’s under my belt and still a mark to go. I am floating through the rest of this evening on a great big cloud of GO ME! The most horrifying part was looking at my drama justification and seeing one word underlined. Not only had I misspelled promenade, I’d used it incorrectly too. Dang. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the difference between a traverse and a promenade stage now.
I got rip-roaringly drunk at the weekend, took all my money out and left it somewhere in the centre of Birmingham. Epic fail. I remember purchasing a chicken burger at 1am and paying for the taxi home but have no recollection of where this money has gotten too.
Hmmm, Monday I love thee!
I spend so much time at work and so little time at Uni these days that it’s a struggle to write about study. All I really do constructively is continue reading Great Expectations, which I really love and have read before. Between the overtime, my usual shift and trudging to and from the office I feel less and less like a student.
Hope is in the second term of her degree course on English Literature and Journalism.
My week. A summary.
(24 January 2010)
Monday: Poetry and Society – Our wonderful lecturer started the workshop with a long talk about the assignment we did before the holidays; we had to write 1500 words about three different poems (500 words each). He started the talk with ‘You should know I have failed a third of you’, and went on to mention we would not get the results until next week as they were still in the process of being double marked. Now, I don’t mind an overall talk about the results of an assignment and what could have been done better generally, however, I really think it should be given on
the day you get your marks back because now we’ve all been left to worry for a week over something we can do nothing about.
Thursday: Day off – shopping! It was surprisingly easy
to find my friend a full Lady Gaga style outfit on the
Friday: Introduction to the Novel – It was our first workshop on Great Expectations. We focused on the women in the novel and placed them into Patricia Ingham’s ‘Categories of Dicken’s Women’. For example, Miss Havisham is ‘Excessive’ – she conforms to social expectations but does it in a very extreme way. Personally I love any talk of woman’s role in society and how it is depicted within both literature and the media – I’m sure my family and my boyfriend are fed up of me seeing some advert,
TV programme, film, reading some book, etc and completely over analysing how the women are depicted. So I found these categories really useful and insightful –
if I do my essay on Dickens I will probably use them as my starting point. Incidentally, Dickens’ ideal women were efficient but submissive, something which is reinforced through the novel. As somebody in my class put it ‘What
Susan is a first-year mature student in English Literature and Language.
(14 January 2010)
Being in the position I am in, the university experience hasn’t been exactly what it is for others; as in I don’t go partying and am lucky to have time for the odd coffee.
I am always so conscious of the fact that I should be at home picking up my younger daughter from my parents, who are doing me a big favour!!
belated intro and feeling jittery
(23 January 2010)
My tutor is rather strict, but she is excellent. I got my first essay back and to be fair, since the feedback I have been feeling jittery and rather disappointed. My mark makes it look like I did not make an effort, but my worry is I really did!! Still, I can definitely see where I went wrong. I chose Wuthering Heights, which was a bit of a mistake, but I spent a whole week trying to decide and in the end my nerves got the better of me and I chose the easy option. Then I just did not plan it very well and in the end just
went to writing it. In the end I feel I just got too over the top about it, so I was never going to be able to get it right. Am going to go to academic guidance for the next one. I just feel rather like a lost child at the moment with this subject and think I need direction. Thank God marks don’t count this year!!
As for language, my History of English tutor is a genius in my opinion. He was the reason I took the course in the first place. For goodness sake, he can make the history of the dictionary interesting.
Matt is a first-year studying English and Drama. In his spare time, he works as a DJ at his university’s community radio station.
And so we return…
(18 January 2010)
I was fairly pleased with my reflective commentary for drama and essay on the gothic novel which both received high 2.1s. The only problem I now have is how do I improve on my grades? Lecturer feedback is certainly helpful but lecturer handwriting is another matter entirely! Having appalling handwriting myself I can certainly sympathise but I just wish more of my feedback was word processed or at least explained to me in person; after all, I’m a student not a cryptographer.
Kicks for free?
(28 January 2010)
My student loan has still not arrived and I’ve completely eaten away my precious savings. I seem to spend an inordinate amount of money on such mundane, but necessary past times as say, eating or paying rent. To top it all off, my laptop has decided to pack up, so rather than writing this from the comfort of my bedroom I have been forced to brave the library with its slow computers and dodgy air-con.
Having recently purchased all 300 odd episodes of ER I have discovered a new way to motivate my learning; one episode for one hour of work. It’s a simple system but at least I’m getting my reading done. This week alone I’ve had to read and annotate the whole of Dracula, O Go My Man, 10 poems and two online journals and in the process I’ve got through a whole series of ER! Who knows, by the end of my degree I may know as much about emergency medicine as I do about semantic fields and Walt Whitman!