Year 2, Term 1 so far!
So the first four weeks of Term 1 have flown by incredibly quickly, and I haven’t had the chance to tell you all what I’ve been up to! To make up for this, I’m going to write two posts giving you a quick round-up of how second year has been going so far: one covering the academic side of things, and one covering the social side of the last few weeks.
Here goes everything academic!
For my second year, as an English Literature and Creative Writing student, I have one compulsory module called Composition and Creative Writing. This is a continuation of our first year creative writing module, where we explore further the skills and techniques involved in writing both fiction and non-fiction. So far, we have been looking at fiction, focusing on a different element each week; such as the advantages and disadvantages of writing what you know vs writing the fantastic, writing about moral, ethical or unsolved problems, and writing from different perspectives. In the second half of term we will be looking at non-fiction, and then in term two we will be spending five weeks on fiction and four weeks on non-fiction again, but with a different tutor.
All of my other modules were optional, and there was a lot to choose from! I decided to do a second Creative Writing module, Practice of Poetry. I didn’t write much poetry before starting my degree, but I really enjoyed the poetry unit in first year, so I thought it would be fun to take this further. Each week we explore a different form or type of poetry and try writing it ourselves; so far we have written four line poems, riddles, ghazals, ballads and villanelles. This means that I’m encouraged to experiment with many different types of poetry which I otherwise wouldn’t think about trying.
My third and fourth modules are Literature modules: Arthurian Literature and its Legacy, and The English Nineteenth Century Novel. I chose Arthurian Literature and its Legacy because it looks at Medieval texts similar to those which I enjoyed studying in first year in Medieval to Renaissance English Literature, and because I have always been interested in the myths and legends surrounding King Arthur. The module traces these legends from their conception in Medieval texts to their revival in Victorian and twentieth century Britain. The English Nineteenth Century Novel is pretty self explanatory as it involves looking at a range of novels written in (no prizes for guessing) the nineteenth century, looking at them in terms of similar themes, comparatively, and within their historical context.
This year, all four of my modules are taught by 1.5 hour seminars. Some Honours modules have lectures too, but not any of the modules I chose do. This means that I only have 6 contact hours a week, so there is even more importance placed on independent work this year, which means that organisation is key! It’s taking me a while to settle back into the routine of university life and get used to my new timetable and the demands of second year, but I think I’m just about getting into the swing of things!
We also have a bit more control over our timetable this year as, depending on how many people are taking each module, there will be several seminar groups running, and we can choose which one we’d like to be in. This isn’t always possible due to timetable clashes etc, but it worked out well for me! I prefer to work in the mornings, so I mainly chose early seminars, whereas some of my friends who prefer to work in the afternoon and evening chose later seminars.
Just to give you an idea of how my days are structured, here’s my timetable: Monday: Practice of Poetry 10:00-11:30 Tuesday: Composition and Creative Writing 11:30-1:00 Wednesday: Arthurian Literature and its Legacy 9:30-11:00 Thursday: The English Nineteenth Century Novel 1:00-2:30
And that’s it! As you can see, it’s fairly sparse, so I do spend a lot of time independently reading and writing: that’s the life of an English student!
So four weeks down, and it’s probably time I actually got back to doing some work…