November, a Month of Two Halves: Part 1 The Great – OurWarwick

November, a Month of Two Halves: Part 1 The Great

As November is coming to a close, and the Christmas holidays are within sight, I begun to reflect on what has probably been the busiest month I have ever had at university, for both great and not so great reasons. This is the happy side to the post, however, if you would like to hear more complaining and make yourself feel better, here is a link to my blog explaining why November has not always been so lovely…

The start of November saw reading week commence, a week that proved to be rather crazy and full on. First of all, I took a little trip to London to see my family and watch South Africa win the Rugby World Cup, which proved to be a lovely day, with lots of prosecco to celebrate!

Then, I went to Madrid for four days to visit my best friend from secondary school who is studying there for the year (hot tip: make friends with language students so that you’ll have free accommodation and a guide wherever you travel). It was wonderful to escape Coventry and deadlines, and feel a bit like an Erasmus student all over again, even if it was over in half a week… 

Feeling on top of the world in the land of tapas and sangria…

It is safe to say we squeezed in a lot, including a visit to the Prado Museum, one of the biggest art galleries in Spain with paintings from Bosch, to Caravaggio, and of course, Goya. If you study HP104, you might have the pleasure of writing an essay about Goya’s painting 2 de Mayo, so seeing that in the flesh was a little exciting.

Not to mention this Caravaggio, which I had written an essay on during my year abroad

We also made it to the Royal Palace, which thanks to a 50% off student discount, made for an incredible afternoon exploring the ornate rooms of the old Spanish Kings and Queens, as well as taking in the views of Madrid (despite the freezing weather).

It’s not bad, is it?

I confess I hadn’t actually seen the “no photos” sign when I took this one

Not to mention the endless amounts of food and drink consumed, to get the authentic  Spanish experience: you know the drill…

Some of the best Nachos I have ever eaten…


Regrettably, I was not able to live out the total Spanish A-Level student’s dream of seeing Guernica in the Reina Sofia, because apparently Spain has a public holiday on the 9th of November. Another time, perhaps…

I even managed to squeeze in a phone interview with a company in Russia, which means it is looking like I will finally spend some time there this summer, as I managed to get a 3 month internship in Moscow. I am now in the midst of visa applications and scouring for flights and accommodation, which is giving me all the feels from year abroad again. 

However, on the last day of reading week, I had to sadly make my way back to the midlands, meaning a 7AM flight and 4AM alarm; the holiday was truly over. But the start of the second half of the term has not been totally bad. I started volunteering with the Herbert Art Gallery in Cov, digitalising their archive for the 2021 Coventry City of Culture celebration. As someone who doesn’t love children or want to teach, finding volunteering options can sometimes be slim. However, I saw this advertised by Warwick Volunteers at the fair in October, and decided it could be interesting. Scanning books from the early 1900s and photos from before Coventry was bombed is really fascinating, and another way to contribute to the city of culture campaign! There are other opportunities to volunteer at the museum, and also the Coventry Museum of Transport or the Lunt Roman Fort, so if that sounds exciting to you here is the link to learn more about what we do, and how to get involved:

Another surprise to my life has been University House. If you read part two of this blog, you’ll learn why I have been spending all my free time studying on campus instead of in my room (where I have always preferred to study). But the library is so busy, and I think, stressful, which meant I have become a firm Uni-House fan. (I’m there so often I have now made friends with other regulars…) Situated just 5 minutes from the library, just after that shiny-new, massive building, Uni-House has a big learning grid with lots of computers and nice pictures of cats. The best thing is, it is always relatively empty, so I almost always take up two desks with everything I need for the day, without any guilt. It has been nice to not spend the whole day in my room, and also, to be able to leave at the end of the day knowing I have done all the work I need to do. So, if you need to study on campus, and want a nice environment (and a hot water tap) give University House a try.

And that is why November has been a lovely month, teaching me to enjoy the positive moments of uni, because sadly, life is never perfect. Reflecting shows us this, but can also highlight to us all the things we should be happy and grateful for, especially when life can seem really quite tough. 

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