At the amusing wish of the university library, today’s post will be about how I’ve found university so far – workload, uni life, what the studying’s like, etc. So without further ado…
First off, I’ll start by saying what exactly it is that I do. I am a joint honours student on an English and History BA degree course at the University of Liverpool, which lasts three years. I started in September 2016 and will graduate in summer 2019.
Joint honours means that each year, I take half my module credits in the English department and the other half in the History department. There’s a lot of speculation that joint honours students get twice as much work as single honours (one subject), but while I would say that it is more work, it isn’t double. It just means you need to get to grips with time management and developing two skills sets at once.
In terms of what I spend my days doing, thus far I have only had up to eight hours per week in lectures and seminars – usually four hours in English and three to four in History, so it does work out fairly equally. However, over the next two years of my course I believe my time in lectures will increase, but it’s still far fewer hours in uni than science students etc.
The rest of my study time is spent on researching, reading, and writing essays, so there’s a lot of independent study. I personally love the fact that, as joint honours, I get the most flexibility out of my course – I don’t have to do all the compulsory modules that single honours students do, and I can choose the ones that are most interesting to me. I was particularly happy when this meant I could avoid the semester two English language module (not a favourite area of mine haha!).
I’ll give a nod to the library here. It’s basically my second home. I’ve yet to fail to find something in there, so that’s great. Also they just got rid of the late fees if nobody’s reserved the book, so that’s cool too! In all seriousness though, it is probably more than twice the size of my secondary school, which is INSANE. (Just don’t tweet them about the heating. Apparently they don’t control the heating.)
In my experiences so far, I haven’t had to hand in tonnes of essays. In my first semester (twelve weeks), I handed in:
- One piece of English language coursework
- One practise and one assessed literature essay
- Two critical pieces for history
- One history essay
- A group presentation
This semester, as I’m doing two literature modules, I’ve had to hand in:
- One practise literature essay (I missed the other one as it was optional and I had history deadlines – see what I mean about time management?)
- One assessed literature essay
- One history essay
- One critical piece for history
After Easter there will be another group presentation and a group logbook for history, and the other assessed literature essay.
The tricky part about being joint honours is that the deadlines often end up coinciding, so where single honours students may have one deadline in week four, one in week seven, and one in week nine, for example, you might end up with two deadlines for week four and two in week nine.
Up to and including 31st March, I had one deadline per week for five weeks. The first was a Monday, and then it was consecutive Fridays – alternating subjects, too. English – history – English – history – English. As far as I know, my single honours friends haven’t had the joys of experiencing that. It was difficult, but you do get into a rhythm. My weeks tend to alternate between a heavier workload in one subject and then the other anyway, depending on the urgency of the work.
If you’re after a Liverpool life for clubbing and nights out, I’m probably not the person to ask about it – I can’t drink alcohol and prefer to sleep when the stars are up, so I’ll skate over that side of things for now (but you’re unlikely to run out of clubs to visit, that’s for sure).
On campus, there’s plenty of places to get food and drink. Every week there’s a few stands by the Guild which sell things like “exotic burgers” (I think they sell camel…), cake, pancakes, and things like that. There’s a couple of pubs, at least three Subways, a Nero either end of campus, a Costa and a Starbucks. Then there’s the Greggs, the Tesco Expresses… Essentially, you can have a field day when it comes to lunch. There’s just TONNES.
There’s also tonnes of entertainment all within walking distance of campus. Believe me when I say that, because I still haven’t even attempted to figure out the bus system and I pretty much go everywhere on foot. (It helps that I live on campus.) The main shopping area, Liverpool One, is about a twentyish minute walk or so from campus, the Albert Dock is about half an hour away, and Sefton Park is about forty minutes away. Between the museums, galleries, and places outdoors, there’s loads to do when you’re broke and bored.
I think that about covers the basics. I’ve managed to survive so far, anyway! There’s loads of societies to join, one of which is the Film Society who shows films at the Guild for free every week. There’s also various events throughout the year, like this Enchanted Forest summer formal the history society is planning for after Easter at the moment, and the Give it a Go trips. I went to the Peak District for a day on one of those last semester.
If you want to know anything else, let me know!