What is originality?
Well according to William Ralph Inge, it is undetected plagiarism (but that quote isn’t plagiarism because I cited it, kind of).
Anyway, it is the “P” word that has been on my mind all week after a particularly terrifying lecture from our Plagiarism Officer on Monday. Now I know that she didn’t mean to scare the pants off us, but put the fear of God into us she did.
To recap, I have just handed two essays in, and I am 99.9% certain that I have not committed anything that might be termed as bad practice, but it’s like during A-Level exams when they ask if you have your phone on you, and you know you don’t, but you still have a ten minute panic wondering, “what if…”.
But the talk turned out to be immediately beneficial to me, as I went straight back to my room to reread my essay, and discovered that I had in fact put two of my references the wrong way around – a close save.
The rest of the lecture was far more enjoyable, including such wonderful lines as, “we’re literature students, it’s our job to be pretentious… so go forth and be pretentious”. It also turfed up the old history vs literature debate – what is the difference between them if we view history as a narrative (other than that historians claim to be more scientific), or as Alan Bennett puts it, “Just one fucking thing after another”?
But now that I’ve handed the essays in I have promised myself to not look again until I get the marks back, because I know I will just stress over what I could have improved, etc.
I’ve also been working on improving my studying habits, as I’ve settled into the term my fresher’s enthusiasm for going through all the further reading given us has waned, and I admit my reading of our actual texts may have become a little sloppy too. But, after a few days spent with the Significant Other in Oxford, I’m feeling a little more invigorated. When you’re surrounded by people who have to turn in two essays a week it puts your own studies in perspective, and creates an environment more beneficial to working than sitting alone in front of your laptop, where the siren call of funny cat vines is strongest. So, if my friends are up for it I think small study groups might be the way forward, but we’ll see. Everyone has to find what works for them.
(Pro-tip: Audiobooks mean you can get through the more meaty texts faster, and tidy your room at the same time!)
In other news, the Minotaur Theatre Shorts ended last night and it would be remiss of me not to congratulate all involved, and to not give a special shout out to the cast and team of “Maggie” who were, as always, wonderful. It’s exciting to see just how much talent exists in our relatively small community, and very flattering to know that the staff have deemed you worthy of being a part of it. (Our alumni include the, late, Doctor himself, Matt Smith, and others such as Radio One DJ Greg James)
So that’s it for another week. It’s scary to think that we’re more than half way through the first term already, and before we know it, it shall be Christmas…