Easter holidays mean you’re nearing another year of completion at university (honestly well done, nice work). For first years and second years this could mean casting their gaze toward the future and considering what modules they would like to study in the coming academic year. If this is you, potentially, maybe this post could, in a way, be somewhat useful to you.
I am currently in my second year at University studying Theatre and Performance studies. Last year, when I was deciding what I wanted to do I tried to follow a few steps to help ensure I was making the right decisions for me.
1) What do you really want to do? This is an incredibly tough question because it does not simply relate to the next year of study. The real deal breaker with module choices is trying to use them to frame your future ambitions. For instance, as a theatre student, do you have more of an affiliation toward writing, or community work? Both practices have modules that help nurture this interest and it would be useful for you to pursue them. Having said this it is important to be mindful of not passing up completely new opportunities that you would never have normally been exposed to. Striking that balance is difficult: do you take a risk and try something new, or do you pick something you know will stimulate you. Some of the further tips below might help you with making these decisions.
2) I spoke to people in the year above. I tried to speak to as many people as I could regarding module choices: I asked about: workload specifically whether the workload was proportionate to merit, lecturers, their experiences with group work (if group work featured in the module), how challenging the reading was etc.
I find it really important to pick the brains of people that have already been through the process- however something that is so vital about this, something that is all to easily forgotten, is that everyone else’s opinion is ultimate subjective. Of course listen to all the feedback you find but be shrewd about the content. I have been discouraged from taking some of the modules I have taken this year, and honestly, they have been the most enjoyable. Only you can decide what is right for you and it is important to trust yourself in this process.
3) Do your online research Read up about the modules online. Read the module outline, check the assessment criteria and ask yourself if these assessments will shine you in your best light? Still, although I understand that sometimes students are advised to be strategic in what modules they are choosing, in other words, it is preferable to play to your strengths, I am a firm believer that choosing what you enjoy will always prevail over what you are deemed ‘best’ at. If you enjoy something the motivation to improve is already lit. Therefore, be calculated but please don’t doom yourself to an entire year of sorrow. (Link to theatre modules are here: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/theatre_s/current/ug/intro/)
4) Speak to the lecturers in charge of the modules you are interested in Get a feel for who will be commentating your mornings/afternoons. It is important too to ask the module leader any questions if you have any reservations about choosing a module. Sounds so obvious but I’ve sometimes regretted not keeping more open communication with the convenors.
5) Look at timetabling One of the most important things about choosing modules is to consider, really consider, your future timetable. You can only do your best with this, but it is so important to be clear on when which module is teaching, when its assessments are, and roughly cross-reference this information with other modules you’re interested in. You want to avoid running yourself into the ground in the future by opting in for modules that all run in one term and all have assessments in the same time-frame. Try wherever possible to space out work so the prospective year will be more manageable and ultimately enjoyable.
6) Start thinking of reservation choices The reality is that you may not get all your first choices due to oversubscription, undersubscription, unexpected absences etc. So look up a secondary list of modules, all the while being mindful of the above point of timetabling.
7) Take the module application seriously Some modules are highly competitive, and if you have your heart set on a particular module, you need to prove that you are truly excited and dedicated to the course. Think about what your drive is, why you are a suitable candidate, and how the course will help further your studies, or indeed, career. Be persuasive, confident, and passionate.
I hope these tips help you and I hope you’re all having a good break.