Although I am only a first-year English student and have only completed half of the year so far, if there is one thing that I have learnt, it is that no day is ever the same when you’re doing an English degree. With this in mind, I will endeavour to describe ‘a day in the life of an English student’ but, with a total of just 8 hours of lectures and seminars a week, it is particularly important to find good places to curl up and read. There is also a lot of time to explore the city, and I have often found myself in its museums and galleries.
At the Strand…
With only 8 hours of lectures and seminars a week, my timetable is quite spread out with roughly 2 one-hour lectures or seminars a day. Although this may not seem like much, the lecturers are passionate about their research and have a lot to say in only an hour, so my notes sometimes make no sense. This is why I find the seminars so useful for the modules – you have the chance to ask questions, confirm any points that didn’t make sense about the text and discuss further ideas in a smaller group. Each term, you complete 4 modules, which means that each week there are 4 new pieces of literature to familiarise yourself with. However, not all of them necessarily require reading. Shakespeare’s plays are far more entertaining in theatre so, if I can find cheap tickets, I try and see them with a few friends rather than read them. However, I have come to realise that the modules are far broader than Shakespeare as I have learned about so many different cultures and time periods, both within and across texts. In this way, I find that the course is particularly stimulating in that the past and present are frequently compared, and current issues of politics, race and gender are often relevant.
Chilling, eating and exploring…
More often than not, I find myself with a lot of time before, between and after my lectures. What I do during this time normally depends on who I am with, and where I am. As a live-at-home student, I am on the tube quite a lot, giving me the perfect opportunity to read, relax with a cup of caffeine or just have some time to myself. On campus, so far, I have found that all of my lectures have been in the same building, which is especially convenient. Up the stairs is Chapters, a cosy café good for both reading and socialising with friends if there is a short break between lectures. If there is time, then going to the Shack or the Vault in Bush House is perfect for having lunch for a great price. Alternatively, for some peace and quiet, the Maughan Library is a short walk away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and the best place for getting some reading done. As an English student, the Maughan is particularly useful!
Of course, this is only a vague outline of what I might do during the day, but when the city of London is your university campus, you quickly realise that it is impossible to run out of things to do!
If you liked Safia’s post, you might be interested in Samuel’s post on “Career Options When Studying English at University”.
If you would like more information about the English offered by the Department of English at King’s, click here.