After having tried to write a summary of my second year and having found that it amounted to a short essay, I next turned to a slightly more technologically advanced form of blogging – the YouTube vlog.
Unfortunately, after uploading it I have found that the sound is out of sync which makes watching it a bit weird. However, my sister (bless her cotton socks) spent a long time editing it for me and kindly let me use her YouTube channel to host it as I don’t currently have one. Therefore, I shall endeavour to re-record it soon and hopefully sort out the technical difficulties, but until then I will upload it here (for now) for your listening pleasure – as I said, watching it is a bit of a trip as it’s all out of sync.
Please forgive a rooky attempt at a vlog, hopefully the next one will work a little better…
I know that the events of the last few days have been heart-breaking and scary, I know that for young people wanting to come out it might seem more impossible than ever, but I want to tell you now that at UEA there is a community ready and waiting to welcome you with open arms.
Over the last year I have been too caught up with my work on the Drama Society committee to be involved in many of the Pride (our LGBT+ society) events, but as a fresher they were somewhere I knew I could go and make friends and feel safe. It is an incredibly open and supportive community and I would really recommend you coming along to at least the welcome social at the beginning of the year.
This week their commitment to solidarity and activism was sorely needed following the events in Orlando, and a vigil was held in the campus square to remember the victims.
Photo: Eastern Daily Press
Things seem awful at the moment but I just want you to know that uni can be the time when you learn to express yourself, your identity and your truth in the most supportive and loving environment imaginable. So please don’t feel when you arrive in September that you need to hide anything about who you are or who you love.
Enough words have been said by more eloquent people than me, trying to describe a tragedy for which there are no words, and therefore I would like to leave this post with a poem which I came across recently and which has stuck with me:
Last weekend saw the tenth anniversary of the one true UEA tradition – ‘Pimp My Barrow’.
‘Pimp My Barrow’ is an event really unlike any other and until you have seen it with your own eyes it is hard to really convey just how ridiculous and beloved it is.
However, I shall try and give a rough guide to the day’s proceedings:
It all begins with thousands of students in fancy dress, sporting decorated wheelbarrows, descending on the UEA campus square. The students are usually in teams of around 6 people and each team will pick a theme for their costumes and their wheelbarrow. Recent great designs have included ‘Only Fools and Horses’ and ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ teams.
They even had smoke pellets to put in his funnel!
Somehow every year the weather is beautiful and this first part of the event is a chance to party in the sun with your friends and celebrate the end of another academic year.
The teams are then set off on their journeys in three separate waves to take part in a wheelbarrow race across Earlham Park and then on to a pub crawl through Norwich. What the locals make of the sight of all the students in their costumes I don’t know, but it is certainly a very interesting and ‘unique’ parade.
Whilst it is all lots of fun the main purpose of the event is to raise money for the local cancer charity, the Big C. This year ‘Pimp My Barrow’ raised over £9000 (or the cost of one year of university tuition) which I’m sure we can all agree is a fantastic achievement.
I had a great time again this year but it was strange to be doing it all again. Last year this was of course all new and exciting, now it feels like a strange count down to the inevitable day when I have to wave UEA goodbye. I suppose it just means we’ll have to put a special effort into ‘PMB 2K17’ and see it out in style.
Side note: We bumped into campus celebrity, ‘Cloud Dog’ aka Beau
More thoughts on the end of second year to follow, until then enjoy the good weather whilst it lasts!
One of the many benefits of being an English literature student at UEA is the absence of end of year exams. By the end of second semester all of our essays are handed in and summer stretches ahead of you – however, this does leave the question of how you can go about filling the final few weeks of the academic year.
Well for the first year literature students this conundrum is answered in the form of the ‘Reading Matters’ Conference, a few weeks long project in which small groups of students research and write a presentation on why their book should be on next year’s first year syllabus. At the end there is a vote and the winner is added to either the Literature in History or the Reading Texts modules.
‘But Hannah, you’re not a first year!’ I hear you cry. Sadly this is true, however, having had a great time working with my team and our tutors last year I was delighted to be asked back to help out as part of a student run social media team.
Niamh and Dougie, the wonderful duo who I worked with on this, did fantastic work creating graphics and setting up a twitter account for the event. This meant that on the day we largely spent our time tweeting coverage of the event and making memes to share with the participating students and tutors – the twitter battles are one of the best parts of the conference.
The books being put forward this year were:
- The poetry of Sappho
- Antigone by Sophocles
- Paradise by Toni Morrison
- Metamorphoses by Ovid
- Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
- Jacob’s Room by Virginia Woolf
- Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe
- The Play Boy of the Western World by John Synge
- Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
All of the teams gave well-argued reasons for why their book should be chosen, and the choice was very hard indeed, but ultimately ‘Citizen’ won.
It’s not a book I have read yet but I will certainly now make an effort to track down a copy and I’m delighted that we are gradually seeing a diversification from the usual white male writers who take up so much room on our syllabuses.
I hope this year’s first years enjoyed the conference as much as I did, I hope they made new friends and got to know their tutors at least a little bit more, and if nothing else I hope they enjoyed the free wine and nibbles at the after party.