The End

So, this is it, the final post.

If this is your first time visiting the blog then I hope it serves as a helpful snapshot of one undergraduate’s experience of UEA, and if you have been here before then this post is a thank you for coming on this 3 year journey with me.

This blog has been many things; an outlet for my feelings on current events, a rather public diary of my time at university, and also a surprising way to find new people and opportunities. I’ve had the chance to speak to prospective undergraduates and current ones, answering their questions and hopefully allaying some of their fears. Although I (probably) won’t be adding to this blog it will remain up as a resource (and as a way for me to be occasionally nostalgic).

What’s the plan now?

Well, as of about 2 weeks ago I became a registered student at the University of Oxford and in October I will begin my MA in Medieval Literature, an undertaking I’m not sure I would have thought myself capable of this time last year.

Oxford will be a very different environment I’m sure, but I think having gone to UEA will keep it all (and by this I mean some of the slightly excessive traditions) in perspective. One of the things that I have always loved about UEA was that it didn’t stand on ceremony or labour over tradition, but rather aspires to always progress – the attitude it espouses in its motto, ‘Do Different’.

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After Oxford? Who knows. Maybe a PhD, maybe I’ll be doing something in the Heritage/Arts sector. But I’m not quite done with Norwich yet and I plan to visit when I can (luckily a fair few of my friends have stayed in the area).

When I think of UEA I think of its flying walkways, designed by Denys Lasdun so that students’ heads were almost literally up in the clouds and away from mundane realities of things such as cars. I think of the lake with its morning mists, dog walkers, and summer BBQs; the Sainsbury centre; morning coffees in Unio in the depths of winter; watching the changing colours of the trees whilst writing essays in the library. But most of all I will remember the kind and warm hearted people I met, who supported me, pushed me, and afforded me opportunities I couldn’t have imagined before I arrived.

I wouldn’t claim that my university experience was perfect but I’m so grateful to have had it and, in a small way, to have shared it here.

(If you’d like to contact me about UEA or more generally my experience as a student then you can still find me on twitter – the link is at the top of the page)

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Reading ‘the right stuff’

Hello All!

Goodness, August has been a busy month. I’ve been the literal length and breadth of the country over the last two weeks and am now quite exhausted.

However, during that time I have received a few interesting emails from readers (all soon to be Literature students) asking about how best to prepare for uni. One question that particularly struck me was from a UEA fresher who was worried that they hadn’t read ‘the right sorts of books’ before coming to uni.

This question particularly stayed with me because it made me realise that before coming to university I was one of those people who might be perceived to have not read, ‘the right sorts of books’. It had never really occurred to me before that that was something I could have been potentially worried about when I arrived as a fresher.

It’s probably worth outlining now what people usually think of as the right kind of books for literature students to be reading; Classics such as those of Dickens, Eliot, the Bronte sisters… you get the gist.

Now, I have always been a book worm. As a child my teachers used to complain to my parents that I read too much and wasn’t playing with other children enough. I used to get in trouble for staying up past my bed time reading, and right up until sixth form I was happily getting through at least one book a week (then A-Levels and being able to go out at weekends began to take up my time a lot more). But at no point during that did I worry I was reading the right stuff.

Since I was very little I knew that I wanted to study English Literature at uni and so I always supposed that I would get around to reading the classics then, when I was older, wiser, and would understand them better. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t read classics when you’re young, just that you shouldn’t feel like you must or that otherwise you’ll not be qualified to be a literature student.

I read handful of classics before starting uni but they were all ones I was interested in. Other than that I read what I liked, and I am pleased to say that it has not hindered me at university at all.

We study literature at university because we enjoy it and because it interests us, so there’s no point slogging through something in your free time just because you feel you have to.

Every literature student arrives at uni with a different reading history behind them and it is meeting all these different people who have been exposed to different kinds of books (don’t even get me started on how a lot of the books we’re told we’re supposed to have read were written by dead white men) that makes it an exciting and interesting environment to be in.

Long story short, read what you want and enjoy it to the max.

New Year, New Post…

Happy New Year! (and a very belated Merry Christmas)

You may have noticed that this blog was particularly quiet recently. This was in part due to a few weeks of very stressful essay writing, but also because shortly after submitting my final essay my laptop suffered a catastrophic encounter with a cup of tea. But thankfully all has been repaired and now I’m back at uni and ready for term two to begin!

It has been pointed out to me that, by some measurements at least, I am now half way through my degree – a truly terrifying thought. Luckily for me I do have some idea of what I want to do once my BA is finished so it’s a bit less like staring into oblivion.

However, if I really want to get onto an MA, as I hope to do, I need to knuckle down and get more work done this term. Last semester was difficult for a number of reasons, but I think it wasn’t helped by the fact that I was putting in less hours than last year but being set more work. This is probably the result of living with friends; watching a film with your flatmates is far more appealing than doing extra reading unfortunately.

I’ve been back in Norwich for a few days now and the newness of being away from home is already fading. I’ve just about remembered how the cooker and washing machine work, although my use of these utilities is still a little sporadic.

Having had the time to settle back in, I’m now a lot more excited about getting started with this term’s work. This semester I’m taking Romanticism, Austen and the Brontës, and Shakespeare. My first week’s reading is fairly gentle; Jane Eyre, Henry V, Pride and Prejudice, are all texts I have read before so the only new piece of reading is William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience.

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Some of my reading…

 

This first week of term is always the calm before the storm, but I promise I’ll do a better job than I have recently of keeping you up to date with student life in Norwich.

As always, if anybody has any questions about UEA, feel free to email me.

Until then.

LGBT+ History Month

Following on from Welfare Week, I thought I would talk in this post about some of the other ways UEA works to support their students.

In case you didn’t know this month is LGBT+ History Month, and the UEA Student Union and the Pride Society have organised a huge variety of events including talks and free film screenings, alongside all of the usual stuff that they put on.

LGBT History Month Speakers WEB USE

https://www.uea.ac.uk/literature/engagement/lgbt-history-month

UEA Pride is a really active and friendly society who regularly organise socials in the SU bar, nights out in Norwich, or if that’s not your cup of tea there is always the Pride Bookclub – which I can personally recommend, although opting to read extra books whilst doing an English Literature degree can feel like masochism.

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LGBT History Month isn’t just about celebration but about representation, and I would really recommend you attend some of these events even if you don’t identify as LGBT+.

On a final note, if you ever want to speak to somebody about something, the UEA Advice Centre is open every weekday (10.00 – 4.00), with drop-in sessions on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays (12.00 – 2.00).

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Unio’s cups for this month!

Hannah’s Norwich Highlights

Please, forgive the alliteration.

I’m very aware that this is the time of year when A-level students around the country begin to take stock of their university choices; you may have applied somewhere but it’s only once the offers start rolling in that it really sinks in that you’re going to have to choose, very shortly, where you want to live for the next three/four years. So for those considering UEA I am, hopefully, going to compile a couple of posts about Norwich itself – places I like to go, good places for a night out, maybe a little bit of Norwich’s history (used to be the second most important city in England don’t you know…).

My list will by no means be conclusive but hopefully it will give prospective students, and maybe even current UEA students, some info about our fair city.

Favourite Coffee shop/ Tea Rooms:

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Biddy’s Tea Room – 15/15a Lower Goat Lane, Norwich, NR2 1EL

Norwich is teeming with delightful cafés and I have barely begun to chip away at the plethora on offer, but so far the stand out from the crowd is Biddy’s.

The range of cakes is usually vast and sometimes baffling, and they don’t skimp on portions – when I went a few weeks ago with a friend we had to wrap our Rocky Road up in napkins to save for later. They also let you blend you own tea, my personal recommendation is Earl Grey with Lavender.

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Biddy’s is the graphic definition of hipster so if eccentric décor and people aren’t your cup of tea then steer clear, but if you like tea and cake, and enjoy consuming them in a very unique establishment, then Biddy’s is the place for you.

Favourite Bookshop:

The Book Hive - 53 London Street, Norwich, Norfolk, NR2 1HL

The Book Hive – 53 London Street, Norwich, Norfolk, NR2 1HL

You will soon learn that as a student you can seldom afford to buy your books from an actual bookshop, the lure of Amazon and Wordery are just too strong, but certain independent book stores should still be supported. The best that Norwich has to offer, in my humble opinion, is The Book Hive. In 2011 it won The Daily Telegraph’s Best Small Bookshop in Britain, a title it well deserves.

All of the books are personally chosen and fall into five main categories; Fiction, Poetry, Art & Design, Children’s Books and Cookery. Because of the personal touch you will often come across titles that you’ve never heard of or are unlikely to stumble across in a chain bookshop.

The shop itself is beautiful but a great deal of effort is put into celebrating and showing off the beauty of the texts themselves. Well worth a perusal.

Favourite (not really sure what to call this one…):

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St Gregory’s Antiques & Collectables – Pottergate, Norwich, NR2 1ER

St. Gregory’s is a 14th century church in the heart of Norwich which has been turned into the mother of all bric-a-brac shops, it’s partly what I imagine the room of requirement to look like in Harry Potter. Having a look around is an adventure in itself as you never know what you may find.

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I apologise for the poor quality photo

Next week I’ll be back with even more of the delights of Norwich, but in the mean time I’d love to hear what you think of these places, and if you have any recommendations.

TTFN.