Books & Study Life

Michaelmas Term

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.

Michaelmas Term

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, studying
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.

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.

British History 1485-1603

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.

Student accommodation

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.

10 Comment

  1. It’s great to hear about your term so far! I do like the idea of doing a Master’s degree but I can’t imagine fitting it in with work! Well done you!

  2. Enjoyed reading about your Michaelmas term. You managed to read so many books! Tudors is a fascinating period of history. Eddie had to write a Tudor project, and I found some fascinating history books for him.
    Wishing you a lovely break! Hope we could meet in Oxford in the new year.

  3. Tudor history? I am green with envy! Absolutely love anything Tudor related and am currently reading the lost Tudor princess. Your time management is on point too! Xx

  4. I am so impressed with the depth of your study, particularly as part time. The Tudors are fascinating and I hope you’ll share more about them in your posts. I love hearing your take on the university. For some reason, I thought you didn’t begin till next term so it’s good to know you have that first chunk under your belt. Enjoy the break and onward!

    1. It must be because I was on holidays and I blogged about them. I also blog about Manchester and it seems I have a lot of time off. 🙂

  5. It’s interesting to see how you schedule your time. I remember when my younger daughter was in her Masters program in History she would make reading goals of a set number of pages each day. I was surprised that the advanced History curriculum included as much as , if not more, reading and writing than the Literature program. You’re obviously doing a tremendous amount of reading, too.

    1. Same or more reading than the Literature program? I wouldn’t have imagined that. It’s a lot to read, but I do enjoy it. 🙂

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