Almost there!

Almost There!

It’s been an extremely busy few weeks! I’m so happy to say that I have submitted my

dissertation! After months of hard work, it was a big relief to hand it in. I’ve taken a few

days off from work to be able to relax and unwind after the dissertation, but now it’s back

to the grind! I had the last ever lecture of my undergraduate degree last week. Time has

gone so fast; I can’t believe everything is coming to an end!

Exams are three weeks away. This summer, I have two exams. They are five days apart from

one another which is quite nice as it gives me plenty of time to focus equally on them. For

revision, I usually read through all of my notes and the extra reading we have been given,

and then I’ll type up an essay plan, making my notes as condensed as I can. Once the plan is

done, it’s just a matter of sitting down and learning it all off by heart! Revision can get

tedious and monotonous but you just have to push through, hard work pays off.

My advice to you as, someone who has been through many exams, would be to work as

hard as you can, and try your very best, but most importantly, take breaks! Go for a walk, or

have a cup of tea, anything that will allow you to step away from your revision and feel

almost human for a little while! Exams place students under a lot of stress and pressure,

make sure to look after yourself as best as you can. Keep your mind and body healthy and

try your best, there’s not a lot more you can do! Good luck!

Posted in Religion and Theology Tagged with:

Summer Exams

Unsurprisingly, the Summer exams are never front and centre of the department’s glossy advertising. Therefore, I thought I’d lay out a short guide  to everyone who hasn’t experienced the Bristol way of doing things.

1-In the revision period it’s always good to meet up with the lecturers to bounce a few ideas around the room. They are the ones who mark the papers, so it’s good to hear what they’re looking for from the historians mouth. Besides, teaching stops one week before the exams start, so they’re only drinking tea in their offices.
2-University exams differ from school insofar as your mark is decided on how strongly you argue your case, rather than whether that case is in the mark scheme. As my revision for ‘Ancient and Modern Paganism’ I have assessed the evidence for and against ancient human sacrifice, to give the most macabre example. In the exam, should this come up, I will make my case, and then bring in historiography which I can refute and argue against-markers like this!
3-All the Summer exams I have had so far are two hours long, consisting of eight questions, of which you must answer two. The good news is you can focus on specifc parts of the course, as the questions are topically spread across the unit. The bad is that the questions require more critical analysis and flexibility than A levels. My Soviet Christmas exam asked: ‘Was the Cold War essentially about Rock and Roll?’ I took it on, based on my knowledge of  the Beatles’ ‘Back in the USSR’, and enjoyed the answer by the end! So expect the unexpected, but it’s easy to focus your revision somewhat so you can be critical and specific.
4-After the exam that’s you pretty much done until the end of September, so have something in mind that you can look forward to during those hour in the library!
The main difference between Bristol exams and school assessments is freedom. Your answer is not shackled to a prescriptive mark scheme, you can be yourself more in terms of independently sourcing evidence, and there’s much longer Summer in which to have fun.
Good luck!
Posted in History Tagged with:

Exams are coming

Exam time is almost here; fortunately, I only have one this year! Lectures and seminars are winding down in preparation for revision break, which will begin in a week’s time. I have about two weeks to prepare for my exam, so will be spending a lot of time in the library! Bristol University has lots of libraries and study spaces which is useful and very much needed at this time of year. The Arts and Social Sciences Library is massive; I tend to go there when I need books, although the downstairs social area is also a good spot to take a revision break with friends. If I feel in need of a slightly quieter space to work, there is a study space in the basement of the History of Art department building. It’s rarely busy, and is next door to the History of Art department’s library, so is pretty convenient! It’s important to maintain a good work-life balance during exam season, so I will make sure I intersperse heavy revision days with visits to some of the new art exhibitions that are opening in Bristol for the summer.

Hopefully it will be a stress-free exam period!

Posted in History of Art Tagged with:

Spring has arrived!

We’ve had some truly gorgeous weather in Bristol recently which unfortunately seemed to appear

when I was working all day at my part-time waitressing job. It might be the most depressing thing in

the world to be inside looking out the window at people enjoying a pint in the sun. But at least

Spring has sprung! Bristol is a great place to be on a sunny day since there are so many green spaces,

harbourside spots or outdoor cafes where one can sit and enjoy the weather. I like King’s Street

where there are outside benches galore, and on a sunny day the whole street is buzzing. However,

although Bristol is great in the Spring, the last few weeks of term have been a bit of a struggle for me

and I am very excited to be heading home for a few weeks. I will be going to the Yorkshire Dales for a

week’s walking holiday with my family where hopefully the countryside and my mum’s cooking will

rejuvenate me! As the English course is more coursework weighted, I have a couple of big deadlines

due a few weeks after the Easter vacation to be getting on with, but where better than a cottage in

the middle of nowhere to be removed from distractions!

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Spring is here!

Bristol is a beautiful city, particularly in the sunshine, so spring is one of my favourite times of the year! It’s lovely to be able to sit in the sun, or grab a drink at a pub with friends, after lectures finish for the day. Although I am going home for the Easter break, I will be coming back to Bristol for a life drawing and late bar session at the antique shop Rag & Bone, which has been organized by a friend whose been interning there as part of the UoB Internship Scheme. There are always so many interesting and fun events going on in the city.

I have a 5000-word essay to write over the holidays, which will probably be taking up a lot of my time! It is the longest essay I have had to write so far, and has required a lot of research, but will be good practice for the 9000 words I will have to write next year for my dissertation. Although there is still a fairly long way to go until second year ends, it is time to select my unit choices for third year. I feel particularly enthusiastic about the units which explore American Art and Identity, and Art in Russia and the Soviet Union.

Posted in History of Art Tagged with:

Spring!

When Spring comes to Bristol, everyone’s mood lifts and daffodils are just about everywhere where there’s soil for them to grow! Bristol is such a beautiful city in spring, and I try to spend as much time outside appreciating the views as possible! I’m in Goldney Hall at the moment, and the view from my bedroom window out over the whole city below is amazing all the time, but particularly when there’s sun too! The Clifton suspension bridge, Ashton Court and College Green are all areas where you’re bound to find students sitting out on the grass when spring comes! The great thing about spring in Bristol is that so many of the post-offer visit days for the university happen around this time! Thankfully, because the sun is usually out, we can show off our beautiful city in the best light possible! I remember coming to an open day around this time last year and being so drawn to Bristol not only because of everything the university itself offers, but also the thought of spending the next three years in such a picturesque place with countless beautiful views to go and appreciate when you need a break from working!

 

In terms of academics, for the arts students, spring brings with it the time to choose next year’s units which is always exciting. There has been such a wide variety of unit choices for me this year, and the unit fairs where you can ask any questions to the unit tutors are also really helpful! Trying to broaden my horizons, I’ve put a unit on Aztecs and Incas as my first choice for the second-year Special Field, which will involve writing a 5,000 word essay. I’ll find out which units I have been given in May, so fingers crossed for that! Although undoubtedly the weather can still be a little temperamental in March, as the days go by, we get closer and closer to summer and the time when we can afford not to wear jumpers to our seminars and lectures, and sunglasses can become more of a permanent feature of our daily attire!

 

Posted in History Tagged with:

The Spring term

This term I am studying two very interesting modules.
The first, ‘History in Public’, is extremely eye-opening with regards to revealing how history is present in everyday life. We are currently looking at history’s role in politics and the media. What particularly struck me was how politicians attempt to distance themselves from the past, yet paradoxically employ historical examples. For example, in 2003 Tony Blair spoke of history providing little instruction for the present, then progressed to discuss the historical roots of terrorism.
At the very least the unit has left me well equipped to respond when my scientific-minded friends argue against the value of history!
My second unit is on Ancient and Modern Paganism. I am very enthusiastic about the special topic project I have undertaken , titled ‘Hollywood and Paganism, 1950-1960.’ In this 5000 word research project I will focus on the treatment of pagan characters and traits in the historical epics of the 1950s. I will argue that this can act as a window on how contemporary Amercian society viewed itself. Undertaking independent research on this topic is exciting and rewarding, especially since there isn’t much precedent in historiography; it’s what history is all about!
Posted in History Tagged with:

Almost halfway through spring term

So we are almost halfway through the second term of third year and things are somewhat piling up. Having been involved in a high-commitment production called ‘5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche’ (and yes it was as crazy as it sounds!) work did take something of a back seat for the week the show was. But that’s the refreshing thing about university level study, because it’s entirely independent taking the time off for things that you are really passionate about is feasible because you can plan your independent study around them. Making sure you get reading done in advance and planning for a week of pure, solid 9-5 in the week after means you can give yourself entirely to a project that really matters to you. And that’s what’s most important in third year. Because it makes you realise that actually uni has given you tools beyond knowing the progression of Romantic conventions throughout the 18 th century and the grammar of Auld English from the 1100s! It’s taught me how to structure my time, choose things to prioritise and juggle running a society, working part-time, being involved in shows as a director and performer and of course getting my reading and essays done in time! This term has really reminded me of the importance of the skill of juggling! At this rate I can join a circus within a year! With the end feeling near I’ve taken to piling on as many extra things as possible. This has included co-directing an Edinburgh Fringe festival production, performing in a show, writing some short theatre pieces, volunteering with three different charities and devoting much of my time to my dissertation which has been really interesting! So never think that the more you progress through uni the less you end up doing on the side. It’s definitely not the case, if anything the further into university you go the better your juggling becomes and the more you can manage.

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Spring is here!

Spinning into Easter

The final term has begun! Easter is fast approaching and before I know it I would have finished my second year!

After amicably saying goodbye to Chaucer, I have started my Literature 2 unit and become acquainted with his next generation – Wyatt, Johnson, Spenser and of course the Sidney dynasty. I really want to go out with a bang this year and make my results the best yet so I am working extremely hard with every aspect of my units. After each lecture, I am re-watching and taking down detailed notes and expanding on them – this takes about 2-3 hours a lecture (“madness!” I hear you say – yes… but nothing a cup of tea and a packet of bourbons can’t solve). This unit runs from 1500-1700 and we are currently still within the Reformation period. I’m really enjoying this unit as I can look at literature from a political stance and how the period really encouraged cultural productivity.

My optional unit had some drama surrounding it – in both ways! Originally, I had chosen to work in the Drama Department on a unit called ‘Performing the Archive’. The alarm bells should have started ringing when the word ‘PERFORMING’ was blazoned across the unit title suggesting there would be an element of PERFORMING involved. But, apparently, the brain of Victoria Jones completely missed this point and thought it would be a research unit. How wrong I was. Not only would I be being assessed on my performing skills, but I would be in front of the general public on the Bristol Old Vic stage. Now, don’t get me wrong – an amazing opportunity for anyone who doesn’t crumble at the very thought of having to act. The irony has already been pointed out to me that I have performed all my life through gymnastics and dance – however, the act of opening my mouth and verbal words coming out of it in front of an expectant audience makes me shudder!

I quickly realised what I had got myself in for and went straight to my personal tutor and the student support office to see if I could change. THIS IS NOT RECCOMENDED. Seriously. Read what your unit entails before you choose it – in EVERY detail! Then you would not have the hassle and toing and froing I had. But – success! I was eventually able to change units to… Landscape, Poetry and Aesthetics! Ok, ok, you might look at this unit and think ‘Gardens, you’re doing a unit on gardening…?’ Yes! And I love it! I’ve already handed in one essay on the contribution of Pope’s poetry on landscape gardening and it was a joy to write! No, it’s not for everyone, but that’s why there is such a wide variety of optional units for everyone.

Outside studying, I have signed on a flat for next year – hooray! It’s got a little garden and is light and bright. It’s not huge but I’m only small (5’2 in fact) so all I need is a pocket size place – my own little pocket of Bristol.

Also, I competed in the Advanced category of the South West University Pole Championships in Exeter on the 25th February. And… *Dramatic Pause* I won! It was so unexpected – so much so that I’d settled into my seat with a cup of tea and plenty of snacks to hear the results. When they called my name, I jumped in shock – flapjack and tea everywhere! Apologies to everyone sitting around me! 

Bristol did really well overall, winning both the Advanced and Beginner categories, coming 4th in the Intermediate category and our Group performing so well in a really tough category. We came 2nd overall amongst all the universities in the South West meaning we have qualified for Nationals at the end of March! It is such an honour to represent the University, let alone the South West. Such a proud Vice-President! So no dominoes delivery just yet – back to training to do it all again in Newcastle! Come on Bristol!

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Christmas

We reach the end of a very long term. And breath. It seems like years ago that I started my second year at Bristol. This isn’t necessarily a negative comment; if anything, it is a testament to the amount I have done and achieved within a short space of time! My assignments on this side of term are now handed in, I have spent a good term editing for Epigram, improving my writing techniques, and I have acted as a Director and Set Designer on two different shows. The work I have put in this term has made me very much look forward to Christmas as I’m absolutely exhausted! I always find it funny how much I appreciate and miss my home in Devon when it’s not there. I feel now, however, that I have found a home in both Bristol and Devon, meaning that travelling from one to the other is always a lovely feeling. The first term of the year is always the hardest as it’s the longest, but this term was one of the first times since being at University that I could finally say that I felt very settled, both personally and academically. Christmas will be full of family and gluttony for sure (I’m preparing myself to literally transform into a pig in a blanket), but once we are over the bridge into the New Year, I will be itching to get back to beloved Bristol.

 

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