This week marks the start of the second semester of my second year at uni – I’m officially half way through my degree!
The new semester means I’ve just started 3 new modules. And for two of them, I am completely out of my depth. I knew I would be, and that’s why I chose them. One of my modules isn’t even in either of my departments – I study English & History, but I was able to choose one in the Archaeology department for the history side of my degree.
I realised quite how out of my depth I was in my first lecture for my module in archaeology – on the Sumerians. The lecturer threw out a question and I sat there completely nonplussed until an actual archaeology student a few seats down from me shouted out an answer that was probably obvious to around 90% of the people in that room. I can guarantee you that his response would never have crossed my mind.
But it’s all part of the experience. The other module in which I feel I’m completely out of my depth is one on cinema & the making of modern India. I can safely say I have never in my life studied anything about India, and I’ve never even seen a Bollywood film. Thankfully though, the majority of students doing this module are equally out of their depth (the exception being my Indian friend & housemate who’s taking it with me, which is great). Our lecturer asked in our first seminar, just out of interest, why we’d all taken the module if we’d never had anything to do with the subject matter.
All of us pretty much agreed with our answers: why not?
The only reason I’m not entirely out of depth with my English module this semester (on Medieval Narratives, if you’re wondering) is because I happened to choose a history module last semester on the medieval period. That module gave me the opportunity to become familiar with a lot of what we’re covering in the English module. (Reading Middle English is still going to be a challenge though!)
I always think that I came to university to learn about things I hadn’t come across before. I wanted a bunch of new experiences. And new experiences are going to throw you out of your depth – but that’s not a bad thing. I mean, it makes life more interesting, for one. Voluntarily learning about things you’ve not come across before broadens your horizons, and, as my lecturer for the India module pointed out, it makes you more interesting as a person.
Being voluntarily out of my depth is something I try to embrace in a lot of ways – it’s about conquering new challenges, figuring out different methods of approach. I like the challenge.
Yesterday was my twentieth birthday… Twenty. Wasn’t ready for that one. I can’t tell you how much I’ve been absolutely milking the “I’m still a teenager!” excuse over the last few weeks.
The day was actually surprisingly enjoyable. It didn’t rain (SHOCKER), I had cake for breakfast (told you I wasn’t ready for my twenties), and I went to the theatre. We saw a student production of Lord of the Flies put on by the university, which was actually really good. They moved the stage so it was sort of in the middle of the audience, which worked really well, considering the story is set on an island.
Regardless of all my not-a-teen-anymore-sadness, I’m determined to start off this decade the way I mean to go on. That means getting a hold on all of my work, getting writing done regularly, looking after my health (I’ve basically had an eternal cold since about six weeks ago, and I think I moved right from one onto another…) and trying really hard to stop procrastinating on Netflix as much.
But speaking of… how good was Stranger Things season 2?!?! Best thing to have been released all year.
I think I’m doing alright on the work front. Yes, I was supposed to have finished an essay this weekend rather than be about to start it, but other than that, I think I’m on schedule. And anyway, if I finish this essay tomorrow, it’ll still be a week-and-a-half early!
This week should, theoretically, be a productive one – one of my modules isn’t running because my tutor is away at a conference, and I’ve already done basically all of my module reading aside from one play. I thought I was alright at speed reading during year one, but I have seriously sped up this year! I suppose it’ll all be in preparation for third year. I plan to fill the time with blog planning, book writing, and cleaning the house. Oh, and applying for summer work! I’m hoping to get a position abroad, so wish me luck.
For now though, an essay calls…
Year two at university. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily harder than year one, but I definitely feel like I’m spending remarkably more time reading – which is saying something, considering the volume of it I did last year.
The good thing about this year is that I’m only doing three modules instead of four – which, theoretically, should equal the same amount of work, considering they equal the same number of credits. The great thing I’m finding about it, though, is that I have fewer deadlines than last year, and also my brain only has to cope with three sections of research and study, rather than four.
We’re six weeks into term now (seven if you include freshers, but who includes that?) and that means… READING WEEK! One of the great parts of an arts/humanities course is that the university seems to anticipate that by half way through the term, you’ll either be substantially behind on work, or looking at looming deadlines with dread, so they give you a week without any lectures/seminars and let you catch up.
Not going to lie though, this weekend has essentially been me and a friend lounging around the house (our three housemates were all elsewhere), watching Netflix and staying in our pyjamas for longer than is probably advisable. We were tired, okay?
But, I fully intend to make use of this reading week. I’ve got an insane amount of reading for a couple of seminars the week after next that I’m determined to get through, I have an essay due in two weeks’ time that I want out of the way so I can work on other deadlines that week, I need to read a play for the week after next and do research for another deadline.
And it’s my birthday next weekend, which I’m trying not to think too much about because I won’t be a teenager anymore! A friend tried to console me the other day by telling me that various psychology studies believe adolescence lasts until you’re thirty. A different friend is feeling the exact same sense of woe because she turns twenty the week after I do. My parents think I’m being dramatic. *dramatic sigh*
Either way, it’s about time for me to get back to the pile of books and journals and research and notebooks sitting waiting for me…