New year, new term!

Being an essay-heavy Liberal Arts student, I was somewhat lucky enough to escape the examination hell-stretch of the January period. However, with that, I still had to endure the completion of a few hefty assignments before I made it into 2017 home and dry. In comparison to my time at secondary school, assignments in a University context require a much finer attention to detail both in the structure of an essay as well as its content. You learn the tropes of academic presentation which is incredibly precise. However, it is refreshing to get lost in the topic on which you are writing, delving further than you ever would have gone in a school environment. It is intellectually invigorating to jump from discipline to discipline within Liberal Arts, meaning that I can identify links between my subjects, though sometimes there are discrepancies between how the different departments like their work presented, meaning that I have to pay even closer attention! In the term ahead, I will be studying English Literature, Theatre Studies and History which are my three favourite subjects of the Arts; as long as I get through this period well rested and raring to go, I think a really exciting term lies ahead…

 

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Lesson learned

I don’t think I’ve ever felt so nervous to hand in an essay in my life. What should have been an essay in a subject that I felt quite confident about turned into a rush until the very last minute. I blame my absolutely atrocious time management skills (I’m usually much more organised!).

Because of the nature of Liberal Arts, many of my modules are unaccompanied by prior experience. This is why, while I was enjoying my Christmas holiday, I spent most of my time studying for my History of Art exam. But don’t get me wrong, I love the interdisciplinary nature of my degree and I work best when studying a wide range of subjects. Unfortunately, in this scenario, I let myself get carried away with the fear of the unknown and forgot (!?) to do any worthwhile work on my essay.

So, after pulling an all-nighter and what I can only describe as possibly the most exhausting 2 days of my life, I handed in what hopefully will get me an ok mark. But I’m trying to focus on the positive – maybe my exam grade will reflect the hard work I put into it!

Otherwise, examination period was fine – I can say that now that it’s over. I’m looking forward to the next term, even though I know it’ll be busier than ever. I’m taking two English modules which means a LOT of reading, but it’ll be worth it. Now, I just have to make sure I use my time wisely – it’s getting hard now, so I can’t allow myself to do what I did over the holidays.

Term 2, here I come!

 

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New year and new term

Bye-Bye Exams!…

January exams are over! Exam season is always a challenging time, especially as I tend to get very nervous. Luckily, through experience, and through some advice that the university provides, I have been able to manage my exam nerves and stress a little better each year. These exams were a part of my finals, so it is safe to say I still felt the pressure! But thankfully I feel as though I revised hard enough to give the exams my best attempt… fingers crossed the work paid off!

Luckily, the majority of units that I study are 50% coursework and 50% examination. This is actually really helpful because it means that even if you do not score as highly on one as you would have liked to, you can try to make up for it with the other. Usually, coursework marks will be returned before the exam and so I use this feedback to help me with my revision. It really helps to take note of the feedback from coursework as you can use it to help build and improve your next essays! The coursework marks are also a useful way of finding out what you have learnt, and what may need some work.

Now that exams are over, it’s time to look forward to teaching block 2, and to begin to slightly panic about dissertation… It is going to be a very busy few months but I am strangely looking forward to it all!

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Christmas!

It’s been a very long and tiring few weeks! There have been so many deadlines to keep up with! Third year is proving to be extremely busy, there is so much going on. Now that lectures have finished, it’s time to move on to revision for my January exams… But at least I will be home with my family and lots of festive fun, so not all is doom and gloom!

As well as lecture deadlines, I have also had a few interviews this term for teacher training courses at various universities. Although I was very nervous for these interviews, they actually turned out to be a lot of fun. It was lovely to meet new people and to experience different universities. I’ve been very fortunate to have secured a place on one of the courses and am very much looking forward to starting my next chapter there in September.

As it is the final week of term, there has been a lot of celebrations to attend! I’ve been to various society Christmas Meals and socials, and saw the Panto Societies Christmas panto, which was a lot of fun! It’s been a lovely way to unwind at the end of term and has definitely got me in the Christmas spirit. I’m very much looking forward to seeing what the New Year brings!

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Happy Christmas

First term is over and I am not entirely sure where it went… Although lectures have finished, the majority of history students are still lingering in Bristol trying to make some good progress on dissertation research. Compared to the past two years of having a 24-hour exam just before the Christmas holidays, it is definitely a treat not having a deadline looming and having a relatively relaxing December work-wise. I have thoroughly enjoyed my two units this year, and while I am not too eager to spend the holidays revising them for my January exams, I have genuinely enjoyed learning about them for the past term. My dissertation progress is going well; I’ve had a few meetings now with my tutor, as well as a group presentation where students doing similar dissertations discuss each other’s ideas and plans, which was so interesting to see what other people are doing, and was surprisingly helpful to have them comment on my progress.

Bristol in December is a huge highlight of the end of term. Park Street and Cabot Circus dressed up all Christmassy, and the brisk, chilly walks and runs around the Downs will be missed next year after I’ve graduated. Now that it has dawned on me that I’m graduating (very!) soon, attempting to do all the things I’ve wanted to over my time here but haven’t gotten around to doing. One major one was going to the deer parks in Ashton Court, which is my new favourite running route. Haven’t quite decided what I will tick off next…

I have a few shifts at my job this and next week and then I will be very excited to go home and not having the heating on for only 2 hours a day and have home-cooked food. Christmas isn’t a big thing in my family, but Chanukah and my birthday mean the winter holidays are still something I look forward to! I’ve also got days planned to search for archives for my dissertation, so that should be a nice break from revision I hope.

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Happy Christmas!

Christmas is fast approaching, along with the end of term, and boy is it showing! Not just the huge amounts of beautiful lights up all over Bristol, the excess of knitted jumpers and the small but glorious tree bedecked in oversized baubles in the department common room. Oh no, there are other tell-tale signs that the festive holidays are approaching. Namely the fact everyone keeps sneezing. People are seeming just that little bit slower each day, there are a lot more coughs in lectures and everybody has that glimmer in their eye that a visit home is nearing. End-of- termy is a feeling everyone has had since the beginning of school in year 1 and it carries on into university. Only it’s slightly different at uni, there are a whole lot more things keeping you going. I mean I have eaten 4 roast dinners in the last 4 days for one thing. Not to mention the department are hosting a Christmas drinks with mince pies and a staff and student choir, what more could you wish for! Plus decorating a student house for Christmas is just the best, currently if you walk into our living room you need sunglasses for the quantity of tinsel and fairylights. I have two essays on at the moment and yet I’m still finding plenty of time for Christmas movies (would recommend ‘Nativity’ if you’re stuck for festive film choices!) and visiting the copious Christmas markets in Bristol. Of all the cities, Bristol really knows how to host Christmas. So whilst Christmas holidays are very welcome and a much needed break, it’s remarkable how much energy huge quantities of stuffing and cheese can give you to keep going through the last few days and round of the first term of third year with – well maybe not with a bang – but certainly a satisfied “pop.”

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Happy Christmas

It’s the end of first term, and I feel very much in need of a break!

The last few weeks have been taken up with revision for the 24-hour exam which I have just completed. Although it sounds scary, I found the experience much easier than I was anticipating.

Getting the last assignment out of the way is a good feeling, because now I can focus on enjoying the last week of term! I’m planning to visit the Bath Christmas Market and catch up on any art exhibitions in Bristol that I’ve missed over the last month. I’ve also jointly organized an exhibition and social for the Fine Art Society, celebrating the work that our members have made this term, which I’m very much looking forward to!

Over the holidays I’m planning to catch up with friends and spend time with family. I’m also going to take the time while there are no deadlines to start thinking about my plans for next summer. I’d like to be able to do some work experience at an art institution/ gallery, although it would also be great to do some travelling.

I hope you all have lovely Christmas holidays!

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Merry Christmas!

It’s Christmas! This is the time of year where my age is read backwards and I regress to a 12-year-old child… I’m finally heading home to see my family after a hectic term – cue Chris Rea’s “Driving Home for Christmas”. (However, the irony is I can’t drive, but they haven’t yet made a song titled “Sitting in the passenger seat while your mother drives you home for Christmas and repeatedly tells you, you should take your driving test”…) So much happened towards the end of term in so many areas of my uni life, I’ll try and fit it all into one post!

While a family of six and two dogs await my arrival so we can all pull crackers, put cheesy Christmas songs on repeat and watch the Strictly Come Dancing Final – yes, even the men! I am taking some time to look back on my first term of second year.

As you know from my previous posts, it hasn’t been the smoothest of rides… but the final few weeks showed me why I’m at Bristol and how much I love being here so much. I finished my Science and Literature unit, but fear not! I have chosen to do it as my dissertation topic next year – woooo! On the other hand, I haven’t finished Middle English and have my exam in January. If I’m being completely honest, Chaucer and I never did get on like a house on fire but then, you can’t be excessively excited about every topic you do – it’s the nature of having such variety!

In my escapes from revision I have been exploring Bristol at night – although this seems to start at about 3 o clock in the afternoon now with the lack of daylight. If you haven’t had the opportunity there are some incredible sights to see! My top 3 places to see Bristol at night would be 1. Park Street and Bristol Cathedral – If you start at the bottom, the Cathedral is atmospherically lit and there is often an art instalment on the greenery in front. Then you can look up Park Street which is filled with silver Christmas lights hanging over the road zig-zagging its way up to Wills Memorial building which glows gold at night. 2. It has to be harbourside where all the different coloured lights of the water fountains are reflected in the River – and they always have outdoor music and food! (And if that’s not enough, go and fill your bellies and your noses at St Nick’s Night Market!) But number 1 has to be the Suspension Bridge. There’s no bands or buffets but you have to sit up next to the Clifton Observatory and look down to see the whole of Bristol lit up and the bridge outlined in silver, being reflected into the Gorge below.

Back in the daytime, I have been busy with the Pole Society. We have finished filming auditions for our competitions next term and the competitors have been chosen. I am so proud of everyone that took part – it was a long period of organisation with all of the committee but we had the most auditionees ever! This included myself… And… drum roll! I’ve been chosen to represent Bristol University in the advanced category at the South West University Pole Championships and National Qualifier in Exeter next February. (Don’t worry, they were externally judged!). It is fair to say I was completely shocked when I heard as I’ve been doing pole less than a year and the other auditionees were incredible! But I shall keep you up to date with what happens!

But for now, I am looking forward to eating so much Christmas dinner I have to roll into next term, and seeing all of my family as I’ve missed them all so much – with a brother living in Liverpool and another brother in the RAF you can imagine it’s hard to see them! So don your most embarrassing Christmas jumper and have a wonderful time – Merry Christmas everyone and I’ll see you next year!  

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Back to Bristol- Hello Third Year!

 

After a lovely few months at home for the Summer Vacation, it is really nice to be back in Bristol for my third and final year. I can’t believe that my three years as an undergraduate at Bristol are almost over. The time has certainly flown by! This teaching block I am studying ‘Topics in Chinese Buddhism’ and ‘The Resurgence of Antisemitism in the 21 st Century’. I am really enjoying both of these units, which has made the transition into third year a lot easier! One major difference this year, compared to previous years, is the dissertation. Although the dissertation is a lot of hard work, it is really nice that you get to choose what topic to research yourself. I am writing my dissertation on the issue of religious commitment when teaching religion. It has been very interesting to hear people’s views on this topic and I am hoping that my interest in this issue will make writing the project a lot easier!

This academic year, I am taking part in a university-led programme called ‘Students in Schools’. This involves university students going into local Bristol schools to tutor a subject to some students there, and to have a chat to them about university life in general. I have found this role really rewarding, and it has helped me gain experience in a school, which has been vital, as I wish to pursue a career in teaching after my undergraduate degree. I have also participated in quite a few society socials so far which have been really fun. I have just signed up to a trip to Edinburgh with the Welsh society to watch the Rugby there in the new year. I’m really looking forward to it!

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The hectic third year

The first term of the third year of a degree is definitely a lot busier than I thought it would be! I have had one essay deadline so far and another deadline coming up in two weeks, and combined with that I’m working on plans for my dissertation. It is definitely a challenge keeping everything organised, however it seems to be going well so far.

I’m also still managing to do things aside from work! I work one day a week at an organic wholefoods shop in Redland, which is a nice way of having some time off from the library (as well as earning some extra money). As well as this, during our reading week I went on a trip with others in my Death, Doctors and Disease module to the Wellcome Library in London to see the exhibition on the asylums in Britain and then were taken around the library to explore their archives that we can use for our own research – a much more interactive way of learning about the course to say the least.

The rest of this term will probably be quite quiet with deadlines and dissertations, however the History Ball is coming up in early December, which I’m very much looking forward to!

abigail-humphreys-opt

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