Thursday, 30 August 2012

University: My Second Year of BA History

This will probably seem to most, if not all, of you like a pointless or irrelevant post. But from my point of view, I'd love to see more of these, to see what people are studying, what they like and dislike about what they have in store, and all that jazz.

I'm going into my second year of a BA History degree, having spent my first year studying Late Medieval England and Modern East Asia. I surprised myself though, I hate medieval history with a passion beyond the fires of hell, but my marks suggested I did pretty well! I transferred to History after a semester in English so this will be my first entire year in History. Thankfully I got a place on all the modules I asked for, so this year will not be a disappointment to me, unlike last year. Also, this will be my first year at university where my marks directly affect my final degree, as my university uses the first year as a gauge to see what to expect from you for the next two years of your course, which in some cases is seen as an excuse to party hard and refuse to work. Not the case.

Without further ado, here are my modules for the first semester:

Culture And Society In The Roman Empire

I've been passionate about Roman history since I was a kid, I grew up in an area of Wales steeped in Roman history, there was an amphitheatre not so far from me, and it was thrown at us in every History lesson at school. I studied Classics at A level because it was my ideal course - history smooshed together with English (there's my favourite word again!), and it was so much fun. So now I'm at university level history, it's about time I returned to that. My university likes to keep the details of future modules particularly vague so that people don't over-prepare or think it's clever to learn it all then refuse to turn up to lectures, but we've been given a reading list at least. Thankfully, as I was reading through the reading list, I found I'd read some of them before in my Classics studies - you have NO idea how good it is to know I'm saving myself a hundred odd squid on books I already own! More to the point, I've already read them, which means I'm saving myself a lot of preliminary reading too, I've spent today rejuvenating my memory of them and I'm feeling very refreshed!

The module includes studies of Juvenal's Satires, The Satyricon by Petronius and Virgil's Aeneid.

Genocides: Theme Study

Nice and morbid, me! I guess I chose this because the other choices of subjects weren't exactly exciting, but this screamed out to me because I'm obscurely attracted to historical periods that involved unnecessary bloodshed. I'm not sure how I'll get along with this because it looks like it covers more recent genocides such as Africa, which I'm not greatly keen on, but thankfully uni modules are pretty open so you can pick and choose which bits you want to revise and research. As long as there's a mention of the Second World War and communism, I'll be fine. (was that a strange statement to make?)

Past Historians And Current Practice

This was a compulsory module so I can imagine a lot of us are going to be pretty peeved with this. I have absolutely no idea what kind of study this would involve, but its title brings to mind an image of Time Team consulting their resident historians on the artefacts they've found. If you're not a History/Archaeology student/professional, you'll probably be unaware that historians and archaeologists have an unlikely, unspoken hatred for each other. Historians study the written word and the living evidence to suggest something happened in a particular period, whereas archaeologists take one look at a peculiarly-placed stone in a field and claim a caveman took a shit there. Yes, I'm biased. 

Middle English: Texts In Context

We were given the option to study English or Politics modules that compliment our studies with History instead of two more History modules. As English has always been my passion, I jumped at the chance and swiped up the two English modules on offer, and this is the first one. As I mentioned before, I'm not quite so hot on medieval history but from a language perspective, I'm looking forward to this.

Now onto my second semester subjects, I don't have much information on these so far because they all start in January, and I'd rather not concern myself with them too much just yet, I've got enough on my plate this semester as it is!

The Third Reich

This was my most obvious choice and I'm so happy I managed to get into this one because it was way oversubscribed! My parents are serious World War Two nerds and I've grown up surrounded by war books, so this is perfect for me, I know so much about this already. My parents approach the war from the Allied perspective but because I've studied it from a German perspective, my mind veers towards the Axis. I'm fascinated by the events of the Second World War, so I hope this will be good!

Women In History

Again, not something I'm really looking forward to because the title just doesn't inspire me. I don't quite know how it's possible to encapsulate the entirety of female contribution to history in a 4 month module. It's pretty self-explanatory that 99% of the students subscribed to this module are female, subtle chauvinism in education right there. But as I said before, this was the only subject I liked out of the choices, so it's what I've got. Hopefully they'll put in a little mention of Amelia Earhart, I'm intrigued by her story and I leap out of my seat whenever newspapers cover stories about new evidence found on the islands near where her plane went missing. I'm expecting an onslaught of suffragette debates here!

Old English

Another of the English modules, I'm excited for this because we covered this in one ridiculously short lesson at A level and I hoped to do a bit more in-depth study. I'd love to learn more of the language so I can slip words into conversation with people and make them feel a little perplexed, I'm slightly worried that's become a habit of mine that borders on psychological torture, but it's all in the name of fun!

Independent Study Module

Now THIS is what I'm excited about! The last time we had a limitless study module, I ended up in a group who wanted to study Sengoku period Japan, which I did enjoy, but it still didn't enthral me. This, however, is completely independent. A chance to study anything I choose! Judging by my strange fascination with Chinese communism, it's highly likely that will be my choice, I know a little too much about Mao Zedong's sleeping patterns to pass it up!

So that's my next year in a nutshell, I'm excited to get back to uni and do some work, but I have hardly prepared myself for the workload of four intense modules. I'll be keeping the blog updated throughout the semester to tell you how I'm getting on, so watch this space if you're interested!

I'd love to know, what are you studying? Are you in school, college, university? What have you got in store for the next academic year?

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  1. Sounds like a very interesting course I'm only just starting my A levels this year so have got all the planning for uni to come.

    1. Ooh what subjects are you doing? Best of luck, I loved my A levels :)

  2. This sounds interesting! I did Texts and Contexts last year (it was theatre based, not sure if it's similar to what you will be doing or not) and I'm taking it again this year because I liked it so much! The independent study module sounds so good! My choices were really limited for my second year and I've not even found out if I've got the ones I wanted!

    1. Oh I kinda wish mine was theatre based, although I don't really know what to expect mine to be based on! Oh really?! They're leaving that a bit late aren't they? Must be frustrating :/ x

  3. Ah reading this makes me kind of sad I'm not doing History- I loved studying the third Reich and 100 years up to it in A level history, and I've always loved Roman history. I do get to do 2 similar things to you though- as I study English and linguistics, and we look at English through the ages, so old and middle English, it's interesting but quite hard as you have to get your head around the German aspect
    Daniella x

    1. Hehe I'm always so badly drawn between English and History, looks like we need to combine forces! Oh god I heard that a lot before I signed up, silly me thought it would be a nice challenge! XD xx

  4. oooo this is a good idea! might do one on my blog, would be geeky/fun to blabber about exciting modules :D x

    1. Yeah it would be great to see yours, ever since I saw your blog I've been jealous you have the brains for biomedical science! xx

  5. This was so interesting to read, very refreshing and a nice personal post :) xxxx


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