Without doubt I can imagine that many bloggers in a similar situation will be writing almost identical posts as you read this. For the past month (and more, admittedly), I have felt a little snowed over by coursework deadlines and exams (I say exams, I’ve only had one!). And my exam yesterday marked the end of my first year – officially! And I know I am “just a fresher” and the marks I get won’t really contribute towards my final degree, but I still came to university with the mindset of working as hard as I can – let’s just hope it pays off! Anyway, it is now fair to say that I am out of the woods, and have come out the other end, knowing that a) I have adapted to so-called university life b) I LOVE my university and c) I LOVE my degree.
There are many things I have enjoyed about my first year at university. From exploring the sweet cobbled streets of Norwich, to meeting amazing new people through my course, societies I have joined, my flatmates, and generally putting myself out there.
One aspect of my first year, which I have thoroughly enjoyed, is being a member of the Media Collective – something which I knew would appeal to me. I got quite involved in UEA:TV, taking part in filming projects with like-minded, creative individuals. Next year, I’m also on the committee, and words cannot express how excited I am about that! But if I were to give any advice to anyone going to university after the summer, or have plans to do so in the future, it would simply be to say YES to as many things as you can. I’m definitely not the first student to ever give advice of this nature, and naturally will not be the last, because university can absolutely make you grow as a person, widen your perspective on life – and that’s my impression after just one year. And boy has this year gone by far too quickly!
Say YES to as many things as you can
As for my course, I won’t lie. There are have certainly been times – and I’m referring mainly to coursework and exam season – when I have idly questioned whether the life of academia is the right path for me. It’s not so unknown that British universities tend to focus more on a theoretical system of thought in their approach to teaching and directing courses. Of course this does depend on what you study. But for me, studying Media and International Development, I did question whether I would want to be doing tedious readings for the next two years. But it’s a challenge. It’s not meant to be easy, but it’s designed to make you think outside of the box, to get out of your comfort zone. I think back to how interesting I find my course, and the multiple, MULTIPLE things I am interested in, and I realise that yes – this is the path I would like to take. I love learning. And did I mention I LOVE my course?
If anyone is particularly interested in finding out more about some of the modules I have taken this year, some of which include: Humanitarian Communication, Social Anthropology, An Introduction to Development Studies, Political Communication, and other media-related modules, I would be more than happy to speak more widely on these. For now, however, my focus for this blog post is to give a brief overview of my thoughts of my first year, how it continues to invigorate my passions and interests to do development journalism, particularly reporting on gender and development, as well as global health, and cover stories and VOICES which are either misrepresented or underrepresented within our media, and to say, quite simply, that I apologise for the short hiatus. I imagined that this would tend to happen at certain periods whilst having to prioritise university work, hence why I didn’t want to put any pressure on myself to set deadlines for blog posts to be out consistently. I much prefer to read and write well-thought through, well-written pieces, than a rushed one which hasn’t had much thought put into it. It is in this way, nevertheless, that I just want to say that I’M BACK, and hope to be sharing more thoughts and ideas with you.
There are so many dev-related (and non dev-related) books and articles which I am super excited to be reading and sharing over the Summer, many of which are related to gender, politics and anthropology in development – as well as Steinbeck, and perhaps some dystopian fiction? Any recommendations are warmly welcomed! And while I’m acclimatising to not actually having any academic reading to do for essays, or revising, I will at the very least link below some articles I have come across recently, which may be of some interest to you, in the hope to speak more widely on such issues.
Sending warm early Summer wishes to anyone who reads this!