Get ready, I’m about to unleash a whole lot of nerdy on y’all.
I know, I said “y’all”. Yikes.
Anyway, I have friends and family asking me what I’m doing over here in the UK, what I’m learning, what my life as a grad student is like. So, I’ve decided to write a post and tell you about my seminars, my weekly schedule, and fun things I’m doing within my department.
First of all, I only have three classes a week, for a total of six hours with an actual professor and other students. Two of these classes are related to my MA program. The other class is a French language class, just to keep up with what I’ve learned and improve my writing skills. (Trust me, I’m really rusty with writing. It’s pretty bad.) Of my two MA seminars each week, one is a “core” course. It is convened by the head of my department, which I think is wonderful. It’s a thorough introduction to the department and a helpful way to transition into postgraduate writing/academic rhetoric. The other MA seminar is an optional module. I’ve chosen a class on Romanticism and Sentimentalism because I like the time period and it gives a nice overview of the period. All of my classes require a fair amount of reading and my two MA courses are each assessed by an essay (20+ pages) at the end of the term. Even though I’m not “in class” for very long, I make up for it in the library!
While I enjoy my seminars, it’s all of the postgraduate research forum and research seminar events that I have really started to appreciate. Each Tuesday, Ph.D. students (and some MA’s) from York and other universities come and present their research and papers. It’s completely student run and it’s a great time to learn from each other, make friends, and ask questions. I love hearing what other people are interested in researching and it’s helped me to get ideas for my own studies. Later on in the evening, CECS (Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies) hosts a research seminar, where academics (from York and beyond) come and share their research/books/papers/etc. I’ve heard a few thought-provoking talks and it’s another important time to learn from the people around me. I love the fact that I’m able to have regular access to people within my department and from other universities. It makes me feel like I’m part of a “family”, even though I arrived only a month ago.
At the moment, I’m working on formulating my essay topics for the end of term, as well as thinking about my MA dissertation. Additionally I’m in the beginning stages of writing a research proposal for the Ph.D. program at York. If possible, I’d really like to stay and continue my education with CECS. It’s an extremely liberating feeling to be able to do the research that you really want to do. It’s such a privilege to study here and to learn from them. I couldn’t have picked a better program. And everything I’ve said is not all hyperbole, it really is that good.
So, that’s how I’ve been spending the last month of my life in the UK! Now you have a better idea of what I’m doing and how I’m spending my time. If you have any more specific questions, please feel free to drop me some questions in the comments!