While I mentioned Oxford a few times on the blog, I didn’t talk about my studies. Last week or so I thought I would like to make an update, so here is a round-up of my Michaelmas term. I will share a similar update at the end of Hilary term, and again for Trinity. It will be nice remembering this and reading these updates in a few years time.
I can’t believe the Michaelmas Term is over, but it is, we had our end of term “party”, as in we all brought something before the seminar (including Champagne, wine, and Port). I made an Oxford cake (just a name I invented, is actually a spin on a Dundee cake, see the picture below and recipe on CookStyle), and we all had a lovely and lively chat. This week I’ve finished my essay on Monday morning and I uploaded it, that’s done! You can’t even imagine how happy I am that I don’t have to read another book on Elizabeth I!
In a way is not over, as I borrowed a few books (12!) from the library, including on my last day at University, to read during the holiday. I might start even working on my third essay for the Tudor period, depending on how much time I have.
During the winter holiday I plan to read around 10 hours a week, maybe more if I’m very into a book. If I find them a bit dry, I will make sure I keep up with those 10 hours, at least for the next two weeks. It will make my life easier next year, so why not take advantage of the free time I have now, especially as work is starting to slow down too, with the Christmas period.
Michaelmas Term – My weekly schedule:
A random week in Michaelmas Term, towards the end, when I thought of making this post. Not all weeks had the same plan, obviously. Some weeks I studied for longer and some for a shorter period of time, depending on my plans and the workload. On Thursday is only one hour because I’ve spent over three hours commuting back to Liverpool. For next term I’m going to try something new when it comes to travel to and from Oxford.
Monday – 2.5 hours. I…
– looked over the feedback and annotations I received for the first essay.
– updated the plan for the second essay.
– wrote the introduction.
– read approximately 40 pages from a book (for the seminar on the last week).
Tuesday – 5 hours. I…
– read the material for the seminar on Wednesday. It was a total of 63 pages from three books.
– started organizing the material for the second essay. Print the plan for the essay to have at the tutorial.
– did library research.
– read approximately 50 pages (the same book as in the previous day).
Wednesday – 4.5 hours. I…
– went to a lecture.
– had a tutorial.
– attended the weekly seminar.
– went to the library (in Oxford).
– read from a new book, for the essay.
me, doing a bit of reading in the morning, at the student accommodation
Thursday – 1 hour. I…
– read from the new book, for the essay.
– picked up three books from the library (in Liverpool, books for the following term).
Friday – 2.5 hours. I…
– starting writing for the essay essay.
Saturday – 3.5 hours. I…
– continued with the essay.
Sunday – 3.5 hours. I…
– finished writing the first draft of the essay.
This is how the last week went, totalling 22 hours and a half. This is higher than the 20 hours I should have spent for my part-time studies, but I had to work on the essay. The deadline for it was on Tuesday, but I uploaded it on Monday afternoon. For the first essay I’ve made a long draft and after that I’ve included the quotes and references, it was suitable for the topic. For second essay I had to work differently, write the quotes from the beginning, and this is why my first draft was finished on Sunday. I also had an issue with the length of it, it was 700-800 words too long. Cutting it down was painful as I would have liked writing even more, not less.
Michaelmas Term – How much I read:
I started reading from the condensed reading list before the beginning of the term. It has 24 books on it (the ones in the picture below) and I blogged about it on my book blog, here it is if you are interested. From that list and additional list given at the beginning of the term, I read 13 books cover-to-cover. Only those are or will be reviewed on the book blog.
For the weekly seminars I read from three books from 40-50 pages up to 100, depending on the subject. In this term I had to do two essays, which meant, for research, I read chapters and relevant passages. For the first essay the bibliography had 11 books, while for the second essay the number reached 18. My tutor insisted in tutorials that I should pace myself as there isn’t a need to read all the books on those lists cover-to-cover.
As you can see, for history, most of the time is spent reading and making notes. The lectures are not mandatory, but I did my best to attend as many as I could, and that was 8 in total. I don’t usually take notes at lectures, but I like listening to the lecturer talking about the subject. All lecturers give handouts with a bibliography and some of the key issues presented.
Michaelmas Term – Firsts for me:
It might sound strange, considering that I’ve graduated from University once, but I never stayed, as a student, in student accommodations before. I studied in the same city where I grew up and I lived at home.
As I’m studying part time, I don’t have to stay in Oxford all week. At the same time, commuting takes over three hours one way, so I booked a student accommodation for the night, on a couple of weeks.
It was an interesting experience. The room I booked included breakfast and I got the chance of chatting with another student, he too is studying for a second degree.
Michaelmas Term – Time off and holidays:
With 20 hours a week studying, it means I have time to do other things, like work and go on holidays. During this term I went to two holidays, one in October and a shorter one in November. My husband and I always go on holidays in this period as we have different anniversaries to celebrate and my birthday is in November. I usually have books with me and this is what I did this year too. To make sure I don’t miss any seminars or relevant lectures, I booked the holidays close to Oxford and in a period when it was more convenient for my studies. On top of that, I read before the holidays as much as I could.
As I mentioned before, in the winter holiday I plan to read as much as I can for next term. As for work, I have some things in mind which should help with the workload in January and February.
Michaelmas Term – What I wear:
Initially I thought of making a “Fashion for students” kind of post, but I realized it wouldn’t be relevant, as I’m not buying lots of new things so I can wear when I go to University.
Some of the clothes in the pictures are new, some are old. I’m not a fast-fashion kind of person. I mentioned the black boots and the Ted Baker handbag before. Next year I plan to write a bit more about fashion, so I will share my thoughts on two more handbags you see here in these pictures. I couldn’t take more pictures, as I was alone and/or it was very dark when I went to my seminars. I do wear jeans at University, as you can see in picture on the right, but I prefer a dress. With one exception, each time I went to seminars, lectures, or tutorials, I had heels. At the library I might go with trainers, but not necessarily.
This sums up my first Michaelmas term.