Week in the Life of a History Finalist
Seminars, Lockdown Birthdays, and Essay Prep.
I’m a naturally inquisitive person (which in this case is probably just a nice way to say nosy) and love seeing what others get up to day-to-day, and seeing their routines, perhaps taking inspiration. Now I won’t be so bold as to assume that what I write here will be groundbreaking, but if anyone is curious, here is a realistic, if somewhat atypical, week in the life of a history finalist.
Typically I try to take the weekend off, but this Sunday I was getting some early seminar reading in. It was for my Empire of the Book seminar, which was on Thursday morning. Usually, I don’t read for this seminar until Monday/Tuesday, but this week I was group leader, so I wanted to provide my forum answers asap to allow my peers plenty of time to get involved. Being group leader in this module serves as part of the seminar participation mark and replaces mini-presentations that would take place under normal circumstances.
One I’d finished up some of that reading, I set about tidying up my space for the week ahead. I tend not to put my clothes away. My library books and dissertation notes were spread across my room and the office where I work while I’m at home (it’s best for me to separate my workspace from my rest space where possible, especially when I’m at home and coffee shops are unavailable – in the spring and summer months I’ll often work outside). Although I put tidying off for as long as humanly possible, it’s a great opportunity to put on your favourite playlist and have a little dance party to get the serotonin flowing. It means you’re all prepped for the coming week!
Monday is quite a busy day for me in terms of contact hours, and it often takes a while for me to adjust to not managing to fit in as much reading as usual. I have a Crime and Punishment seminar in the morning and an Anglo-German Relations module in the early afternoon. Around this, I managed to finish off my Empire of the Book readings and upload my forum contribution. It’s important to be realistic in what you can achieve in a day, and often I find it more beneficial to set timers than to-do lists. For example, I set myself an hour to read a text, and I do as much as possible in that time. Finishing that hour is my achievement, versus ticking off a chapter on a to-do list which can take much longer and is disheartening if you don’t manage it. Setting timers also makes me read faster if only to finish that reading in my allotted time.
Beyond reading, I attempted a workout on Monday, which didn’t go particularly to plan, and received feedback for my dissertation presentation, which I was thrilled with! I plan to do a post on the infamous dissertation once I’ve completed more of it.
Tuesday was my 21st birthday! Last March, I never thought that I would end up having a lockdown birthday, but here we are. And it actually wasn’t bad – I had a lovely relaxed day away from uni work, which was the best way of celebrating at the moment. I headed out for a socially distanced dog walk with my friend (you’re still allowed to meet one other person from another household outside from a social distance, so if that’s something that might help your mental health do take advantage of it). I spent the rest of the day playing Animal Crossing (got to have a party somehow and my villagers didn’t disappoint) and watching The Avengers and Soul on Disney+.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t avoid responsibility all day and attended a career event in the evening. It was incredibly insightful, though, and I would highly recommend attending events put on by the university, especially if you’re unsure of your next steps after university. Warwick’s career service is fab!
Wednesday wasn’t the most productive day. I saw another friend for a socially distance belated birthday walk and managed to fit in a bit of essay reading. I try to work less on a Wednesday anyway as it’s time I can spend with my mum on her day off.
Thursday started with my 9am Empire of the Book seminar. It went pretty well, although I felt quite fragile mentally that day. I try not to worry too much about my seminar participation, I do the best I can, making sure to contribute to the forum each week as a bare minimum. It’s important to remember that it is partially self-assessed so you can explain why perhaps some weeks you weren’t as engaged as others. It’s always worth talking to your personal tutor about mitigating circumstances if you think that would help.
I felt restless and relatively low for the rest of the day, primarily because the following day I was attending a family funeral. I managed to get some work done, again using my timer method, and I headed out on a walk to clear my mind and refocused, which was a great help. Please remember to be kind to yourself and take the time you need to feel better. I know it’s easier said than done with today’s hustle culture and the pressure of looming deadlines, but resting is productive too.
And that’s a wrap! I hope that this was an interesting insight into what I get up to in a week. I hope that I’ve shown that you needn’t be working nose to the grindstone 24/7 to do well at university and that taking breaks and being kind to yourself is fundamental to feeling good. A quick piece of advice that resonated with me is treating yourself how you would treat your friends – don’t say anything about yourself that you wouldn’t say to a friend. I’ve found this the best way to start being kinder to myself, so I hope it can help you too!
Until next time,