Reflections on Second Year
It was Jim Morrison that once sang, “this is the end/beautiful friend, this is the end”, and it only seems fitting that such words are borrowed here as I find myself at the end of my second year at the University of Warwick studying Film and Television Studies. What a tumultuous and challenging year it has been, what with the intensity ramping up due to it being second year, oh and a worldwide pandemic in motion. With this in mind, I thought it would be a nice opportunity to reflect upon the past year, how my experience has been and how it has changed in comparison to my first year.
Please note, his is solely my own experience of studying my particular Film and Television Studies degree – the experience of other degrees in other academic years may differ and vary.
Before I begin, I must thank and give credit to the wonderful lecturers and teaching staff in the Film and Television Studies department, who have adapted and kept up the high standards that Warwick is known for – they have been brilliant.
Of course, the biggest shift in teaching and studying over the past year has been the move to online. While all lectures and screenings (which will be covered just below) were all online, my first term consisted of a mix of seminars online and in person. I must admit that, while initially apprehensive, online lectures became very appealing and enjoyable, with the ability to pause to take notes, and research any further enquiries immediately without worrying about missing any crucial information.
Screenings, however, were a very different story. In first year, all screenings took place in a lecture theatre, projected on a big screen with the entire module group. As you can imagine, the theatrical setting is gospel to me, and I very much missed it this year, as all films were uploaded online and had to be streamed. Not to sound overly dramatic, but viewing films on a laptop is close to sacrilege, with the experience easily distracted and incomparable to the big screen in a controlled environment. While I was very lucky to have a friend with a projector, so that the big screen could be replicated as well as possible, the idea that some people were watching brilliant classics such as Stagecoach (Dir. John Ford, 1939) and Singin’ in the Rain (Dir. Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly, 1952) on laptops is a little disheartening. It’s unfortunate, though of course uncontrollable due to present circumstances, and I can only hope that next year is not a repeat of such a situation.
Another aspect of the lack of group screenings was the immediate reactions and initial impressions that students shared upon leaving the lecture theatre, which in first year were always eye opening and led nicely into the seminars that followed. The seminars that took place in person during first term were not too different from first year, the only difference being slightly less people who were all spread out. Online however, the mileage varied: sometimes all that could be heard was an awkward silence.
Overall, I would say that my second year, all things considered, was an enjoyable continuation of my degree. Everyone adjusted very well to the new teaching and learning methods, with things working as smoothly as they could’ve, and somethings maybe teaching us a thing or two about what methods work best: pre-recorded lectures actually appear to be a pretty nifty idea upon reflection, though film screenings in person followed by the opportunity to defiantly defend why the film we just saw is brilliant are sorely missed and must return as soon as possible. I can only hope that the experiences of the past year will be a memory we all look back on and say, “remember when that happened, that was a weird one”. Have a good summer…