Semester 1 of Year 2 has started for me, so I thought I would write a diary type thing of how all of my lectures went. The lucky thing is that I’m only in Monday to Wednesday, but all my lectures are three hours long, so overall I have 12 hours a week, which isn’t too bad, I don’t think? It’s more than I had last year anyway, because a couple of them were only one hour long. But that’s not the point! Let’s get on with it!
Monday // Victorian Fictions // 3pm-6pm
This was the lecture I think I was the most scared about, because I’ve spoken to a couple of people who did this module last year, and from their experience it wasn’t the best. But our first lecture wasn’t too bad! I actually did the reading- I didn’t know that it wasn’t Middlemarch until midday when I met my friend in the library, and we read through it, and- get this- I wrote notes! I actually spent time writing down notes and was being a good student! Sure, it was three hours before the lecture started, but I still got it done!
The only thing I didn’t like is the time of the lecture. I know everyone who has a 9am on Monday always complains, but I’d rather have a 9am than a 3pm, because then at least it would be over and done with, and also my other lectures this week start at 9am as well, so it kind of makes sense. Also, I’ve picked up fresher’s flu, thanks to fresher’s crew, so I was that annoying person who kept sniffing because they didn’t have any tissues… at least if the lecture was at 9am, I could come straight home and go back to bed!
However, my lecturer was really funny, but he definitely knows what he’s on about. Apparently Middlemarch is one of his favourite novels for some unknown reason… (I think it’s terrible and it’s too long and I doubt I’ll even be able to finish it by Christmas!) But yeah… my first lecture didn’t go too badly! We even managed to get a Horrible Histories mention in as well, and our lecturer thought it was a good reference because it’s “proper history” in his own words!
Tuesday // Chaucer and his World // 9am-12pm
So the main reason why I decided to do a Chaucer module was because I needed to choose a fourth module and Chaucer was the only one left that I was familiar with, having studied The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale last semester. I did find it quite interesting, but Jesus Christ it is hard to read. That’s why I got the modern translated version to read over the summer holidays just so that I had an idea of what was going on, but let’s not tell my lecturer that! Nick taught me last year as well, but mainly for lectures rather than seminars so I’m not sure if he remembers who I am but that’s not the point. He’s quite funny, and said that we mustn’t trust his accent when he reads parts of the Canterbury Tales out loud because of his Geordie accent. He also made it clear that he isn’t a medieval expert, he just really likes Chaucer.
We started off by discussing what we thought of when we think of the Middle Ages, and everyone had to say one thing after our small group discussions, so I mentioned class and how the difference between Kings and Knights is very different to the Peasants which are often portrayed in things like Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail (which also came up as an example, and it’s actually surprisingly accurate!) Nick talks a lot anyway, and I think he can get carried away sometimes, but he’s really into it, and clearly knows what he’s on about.
We looked at a few of Chaucer’s short poems, which, in all honesty, I forgot to read before the lecture, but it was okay because we were all put into groups and given certain poems to look at, and as my table was the biggest group we had the longest poem (it was only four stanzas long so it wasn’t that bad). It was quite easy to annotate once we got into it because Chaucer was complaining about not having enough money in his purse and so he wrote a poem to the King asking for more money… or to be paid… something along those lines!
Tuesday // British Literature in the Age of Reason // 3pm-6pm
This lecture started badly by me having a coughing fit five minutes before walking into the lecture room. I was talking to a girl who was in one of my modules last semester about what we’d been up to over the holidays, and out of nowhere my throat felt like it was about to close up if I didn’t start coughing… you know the feeling? This was mid-sentence, and then once I tried to contain myself, it just kept coming back every minute or so. I did manage to finish what I was saying, but then we went into the lecture room, my strepsil did nothing, and I spent the next hour coughing up my lungs. Or, at least, it felt like it. (My throat still hurts, and I’m writing this at 9:46pm!)
Eventually I stopped coughing, in time for everyone to say who they were and an interesting fact about themselves, and then Chris, our lecturer would tell us something interesting to do with our fact and how it could relate to the 18th century. I was last, because we went in alphabetical order but from the end of the alphabet to the start, and my fact was that when I was eleven, I rode an Ostrich! So then Chris said that Ostrich feathers were actually something that rich people liked to buy back in the day for accessories or maybe clothing. It was a really interesting lecture, and Chris, although he is blind, definitely cares about us getting good grades. He even said that if it’s midnight we can send him an email and he will reply to it!
Also, to try and keep in his good books, I’ve even taken his book out of the library which is all about writing successful essays, so hopefully I’ll be off to a good start this year…
Wednesday // American Gothic // 9am-12pm
I’ve been looking forward to this lecture for a long time now… pretty much since I chose it as a module back in the beginning of the summer. I already know Denise, the lecturer from last year, and what I love about studying the American Gothic is that we not only study texts and authors such as Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King, but we look at shows and films like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, American Horror Story, and even Twilight!
This morning’s lecture was more of an introductory lecture into what the American Gothic actually is, and the types of things we will be looking at this semester, and what our assessments will be (if you’re interested, we have to do one essay of 2000 words, and one group presentation). Each of the assessments are worth 50% of the overall grade each, so that’s not too bad, I guess… let’s just hope I do well! I am looking forward to this module, though, and it tends to be that if you enjoy what you’re learning about, you’ll usually do better in the assessments because you’ve taken that initial interest to it. Does that make any sense?
So now I’m in the library, having returned one book and taken out a further six (I probably have around twenty books from the library now… I haven’t even started some of them, nor have I finished the books I’m actually meant to be reading…) and I’m writing this blog post! I’m a really good student, eh? But I am going home this weekend, and the two and a half hour train journey is a good time to catch up on reading and note taking, so I guess that’s one of the benefits of not having my car with me at university!
I hope you enjoyed this post! I realise it did become quite long after a while, but I only have lectures Monday-Wednesday, so at least it’s not a full week! I’m glad that I get Thursday and Fridays off this semester, as well as Monday morning being free, because I have four and a half days to catch up on any reading I haven’t done yet, so it’s less stressful knowing I have this time. I just need to get through Middlemarch, and then my life will be much more relaxed!