Y3 – Semester One, Week Three

Whilst this week may not have been as busy, socially, as last week I still definitely had a lot to keep me busy.

I had a fairly late start on Monday, choosing to spend the morning resting in bed instead of doing anything productive as I had all my work ready for my Victorian Poetry class. This week we were looking at Robert Browning, I was really eager to see how we would be analysing his poetry as I studied him at GCSE level and was curious to see if there was anything we didn’t consider back then in our analysis. I really enjoy Browning’s poetry, however that class really summed up Literature (as a subject) for me… As I went in there pretty certain Porphyria’s Lover was about a man murdering his lover and came out of the class thinking the speaker had a hair fetish and was into asphyxiation.

I spent my entire Tuesday reading The Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson. I was determined to get it read for three reasons:

  1. I wanted to get my work done for Friday as soon as possible so I had time to do other things;
  2. I was intrigued as to where to book was going and wanted answers to all the questions the book was offering;
  3. I wanted to spend my evening playing the Pokémon Sun and Moon Special Demo which was released that morning and I refused to let myself download it until I had done the reading.

The Brown Girl in the Ring was a really interesting read and it wasn’t anything like I was expecting… There were a lot more spirits than I thought there would be for a book on my Health module, haha!

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On Wednesday I finally had my dissertation meeting as I felt ready for it. What I thought would be a half an hour meeting solely focused on my dissertation turned into an hour and a half chat about my dissertation, the course in general and other bookish things. Although it wasn’t completely focused on my dissertation the meeting was really useful and I feel more confident in my idea and I’m pleased I’m now at a stage where I can start doing some research.

In the evening my university celebrated it’s 50th anniversary with a night of music (from a university band, GSA ensemble and a Beatles tribute band) and fireworks. It was a really fun evening and the fireworks were great to watch, I’m really pleased that I got to be a part of that.

On Thursday I had my last dissertation workshop for this month where we spoke about the literature review part of the project. To me, this sounds like the best place to start my dissertation and will tie in nicely with the research which I plan on starting with. So not only will I be able to start my dissertation by researching it, I’ll be able to start writing my literature review too. Afterwards I met up with one of my old housemates and we had a catch up for a couple of hours which was nice.

My Friday class, where we discussed The Brown Girl in the Ring went, well I think. I seemed to talk a lot in that class for some reason. Perhaps I understood the book more than I thought I did…! Or at least, I certainly had a lot more to say about it than I thought I would have.

From next week I think I’m going to start to be more strict with my time and plan my days better; as I will be getting my assessment questions for both my classes which means I can finally start them. I’m quite looking forward to doing work other than reading for my classes as I haven’t written an essay on literature for over a year now!

Y3 – First Semester, Week Two

I had a very packed week last week, which is why this post is a little later than I had planned it to be…

On Monday we discussed Tennyson’s In Memoriam in our Victorian Poetry class, and although I like Tennyson, this certainly isn’t one of my favourites of his but it does have some great lines and stanzas which makes it worthwhile. Afterwards I headed into town with one of my friends as we were going to be attending the Anthony Horowitz event (where he was going to be talking about his latest book, Magpie Murders) later that evening. We met one of our other friends for dinner in Franco Manca (which was great!) before the event started.

I have another, longer, post lined up talking about the Anthony Horowitz event so I won’t go into it in detail here. All I will say is that it was amazing to be there and listen to him speak about his work and writing in general. It was encouraging and motivating with some interesting in depth discussion on characters and crime fiction.

As Tuesday is a day off for me I took a trip to Chantry Woods with my friend and her dog, Blue, to do something different and to get out of the house. I don’t think I’ve been into woods for quite a few years so it was nice to get around and take some photos.

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On Wednesday there was the careers fair which was quite interesting to look around, however I didn’t find many jobs or organisations that I was particularly interested in. A lot of them seemed to revolve around finance, engineering and HR. But I did sign up for some more information about some graduate schemes and also got some more information about postgraduate studies. Afterwards I met up with a friend who is doing a PhD and got to talk to her about postgraduate study too, which was really helpful.

I spent my Thursday reading Audre Lorde’s The Cancer Journals ahead of my Friday class of Health, Illness and Technological Imaginaries (I think I’m going to start shortening that…). The class itself was really interesting and it seemed like a lot of people had things to say about this text which prompted some great discussions. After the class I grabbed some lunch with a friend before going to another event at the Guildford Book Festival. This time we saw Keith Stuart (author of A Boy Made of Blocks) talk about his book, autism and gaming which was fascinating. Again, like with the Anthony Horowitz event a longer post will be coming soon going into more detail about this event. I would have liked to have had a chat with him after the event however, unfortunately, I had to rush off to catch a train but I was still pleased I was able to go at all.

Overall I had a great week doing things that I wouldn’t normally get to do and visiting new places, I hope this is a theme that will be continuing throughout my final year of university!

Y3 – First Semester, Week One

This week was my first week back in classes. I loved being back in classes, although it’s odd to go to two-hour classes after being used to just one hour lectures.

I had quite a long afternoon on Monday, I had my 2-4pm Victorian Poetry class which was great and the lecturer even brought biscuits. We’re a small class which is nice, and a mix of students who went on a placement year and students who didn’t so there were some new faces amongst the familiar ones. After my lecture I went to town with one of my friends to kill some time before we had to be back on campus for our evening welcome talk and reception. I’m pretty certain the general welcome talk is the same one we get every year, haha! It was quite interesting though, I’m now considering doing a Masters but I’m not completely certain yet.

On Wednesday I met up with another friend and got to meet her service dog who is wonderful and had dinner round her flat whilst she introduced me to Gravity Falls. When I got in I did my reading for my class on Friday which I enjoyed more than I thought I would (as usually introductory reading can be a little dry). As I got all my work done on Wednesday, after my dissertation lecture on Thursday (which was really interesting and reassuring as hardly anyone seems to have a concrete argument for their topic yet) I had the rest of the afternoon off. Which resulted in another trip into town for tea and lunch…!

Friday morning I was up earlier than expected and went onto campus before my lecture to grab a drink and do some work before the lecture, although not a lot of work ended up being done…! I had my 11am-1pm Health, Illness and Technological Imaginaries class which was really interesting and it sounds like we’re going to be studying a range of great texts! They seemed to have kept everyone who did a placement year separate from those who didn’t for this class, which felt like we hadn’t been away at all!

Overall, I had a great first week back and I think I’m really going to enjoy my classes! We’ll see how everything goes in week two, which is already looking busier than week one…

Y3 – First Semester, Fresher’s Week

This week I officially moved back to uni for my final year (I still haven’t fully come to terms with the fact this is my final year, I’m in a permanent state of questioning how time has gone this quickly). As this week was fresher’s week I didn’t have any classes, however I wanted to come back this week so I had the time to move into my new house and settle down before classes start.

In my last university update I had just started house hunting for my final year and I think that was the most stressful thing I’ve had to do for uni. It took a couple of months before I found a room close to campus which is also a nice size, which is great as I’ll be spending 80% of my week working in it. In total they’ll be five of us in the house, just waiting on a couple of the last housemates to move in but everyone seems really nice so far!

I moved back on Monday and spent most of the day unpacking with my parents before having a late lunch with them at T.G.I Friday’s in town. Tuesday I met up with two of my housemates from my second year for coffee in town, it was lovely to see them again and we went to a nice cafe which had a comfy and cozy upstairs surrounded by books (naturally, this will be my go-to in town from now on). As it had been a while since I had walked into town I had forgotten how awful it is to walk back… So many hills!

On Wednesday I met up with a couple of other friends at one of their houses to catch up and see how all our placement’s went, and thoughts about doing our final year. This somehow ended up with another trip into town, which was fine until I took a wrong turn on my way back home and ended up on the other side of the road, facing the opposite direction (no, I still don’t know how I managed that either). I spent the rest of Thursday recovering from the 8+ miles that I had walked in the past two days and decided it would be best if I didn’t leave the house!

I went home for the weekend on Friday as I had a driving lesson on Saturday and had a lot of things to pick up that I’d forgotten (or got partly through the week and realised I needed it). On Friday I was also given my timetable which consists of a 2-4pm Victorian Poetry class on a Monday, a 11am-1pm Health, Illness and Technological Imaginaries class on a Friday and occasionally a 11am-1pm dissertation workshop on a Thursday.

Really looking forward to the coming week to get back into the swing of things (although I probably won’t feel as excited when I am actually back into the swing of things… Haha!).

Rosie xx

April Update!

Hi everyone

Since my last post I had a big project at work (creating 40+ pages of a microsite and uploading content to all those pages) to complete which took up a lot of my time during the day and left me exhausted afterwards. I also turned 21 and had over a week off work doing a lot of fun stuff, most of it was literature based and I have longer posts about those actitivies planned and coming very soon!

At the minute a lot of my spare time has been dedicated to doing things for university as I had a poster presentation to deliver last week, and now I need to write a dissertation proposal by the end of May (and I currently have absolutely no clue where to start). On top of this I’m also looking for somewhere to live in my final year, as my univeristy had a record breaking number of applicants they’ve been unable to offer any final years accommodation… So far I have no house or housemates, which isn’t ideal but I’m doing what I can, when I can.

I’m sure everything will come together eventually… In the meantime I’m just going to work on my birthday posts and possibly a play review. Oh, and figure out what topic and texts I’m going to dedicate six months of my life to when I go back to uni…!

Rosie xx 

Book Review – The Maltese Falcon

by Dashiell Hammett

Started: 26th March 2015

Finished: 26th March 2015

This novella took a very different turn from the other books and stories I’ve read for Detective Fiction. I thoroughly enjoyed this ‘new’ direction of Detective Fiction!

One night Sam Spade is approached by the mysterious Miss Wonderly, and is hired to follow the man that’s allegedly ran off with her younger sister. Shortly after putting his partner on the case he gets a call telling him that his partner has been shot whilst on the job. Spade begins to question whether Miss Wonderly is all that she seems.

I really loved the characters in this story, they were all so interesting. Although none of them were written to be particularly likeable (or that’s how it appeared, anyway) you still can’t help but have your favourites. Even though Sam Spade seems to go by his own rules and is a womanizer, I did quite like him as a detective. It was nice to have a detective that didn’t seem to know what was happening and was very open about it – rather than claiming to know everything about the situation that he found himself i. He had some witty lines and he was quite unpredictable. I also liked Spade’s secretary, Effie, too. Although she was only a minor character, I liked her personality and the way she and Spade would interact. It was interesting having a more major female character with Miss Wonderly, however after a while she began to annoy me a little and by the end, I didn’t really mind what would happen to her.

The plot of the novella was great, however there did reach a point where I was losing some interest and lost track of what was going on. However, by the end of the novella I understood what had happened and how we got there. I think one of the reasons I preferred The Maltese Falcon to ‘Golden-Age’ Detective Fiction was the realism and darkness of it. It just made a really interesting change from the predictability of what we have been studying. I read this book in a day as I enjoyed reading it.

I hope that I will be able to read more like this on the module and in future in general!

Rating: 4/5

Book Review – The Picture of Dorian Gray

by Oscar Wilde

Started: 24th March 2015

Finished: 24th March 2015

This is a classic that has been on my ‘to-read’ list for years and I just never got round to reading it. Finally, it was put on a module reading list so I got an opportunity to read it. I’ve heard a lot about this book and Wilde himself, which really intrigued me and made me excited to get stuck in!

The book revolves around Dorian Gray and his descent into immorality. As his behaviour worsens, his portrait that has been hidden away begins to deteriorate and take on the damage caused by Gray on himself. Towards the end of the novella Gray wonders whether immortality is something he really wanted.

I loved the way this story was written, it was very easy to get into and it was very funny and witty at times – which I expected coming from Wilde. These were also characteristics found in many of the characters. I enjoyed seeing the development of Dorian Gray, how he’s kind of shy and innocent when we first meet him and how this gradually changes (especially towards the climax of the story). I also liked Lord Henry. Well, I say ‘liked’… I found him interesting with a lot of amusing ideas on what Dorian should be doing. He’s not a ‘good’ character (in fact I don’t think any of them are) but he did fascinate me. So did Basil too, to an extent but I don’t think you see enough of him.

The plot itself was intriguing, however after hearing so much about the book I had high expectations and expected more than what was presented. The plot was great and held my attention but it wasn’t as shocking or explicit in some parts as I was lead to believe it would be. In addition there also didn’t seem to be much in terms of an explanation of the portrait, which I would have liked some more of. But, I understand why Wilde possibly avoided that. I would have loved it to have been longer as I got very into it, however having it the length it is increases the impact of Dorian’s downward spiral.

Overall, I did love this book and I’m pleased I’ve finally got a chance to read it. I will definitely look more into more of Wilde’s works in the future.

Rating: 4/5