Second Year: Semester 1

I’m back at uni, and almost finished with Semester 1, so I thought I would just give an update on all things uni related!

So, this semester I am taking 3 great modules: American Literature, Space, and Place, Literary Theory, and Cultures of Childhood. For each I’m studying an amazing variety of texts – most of which I have never come across before.

  • For American Lit, (by far my favourite module for many reasons) texts such as The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Awakening by Kate Chopin and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (a personal fave!) have appeared on the module along with many other texts of different genres/time periods are the best words I can think of to explain – so captivity and slave narratives, and the Harlem Renaissance were areas we explored in seminars.
  • Literary Theory is a module I have a love/hate relationship with. I absolutely love how much I am learning about different theoretical approaches to literature, but the content is really challenging, which is okay! However, sometimes I find myself thinking ‘why didn’t I just pick a module based on literary texts rather than theory?’. But despite this, the skills and information I’ve learned are invaluable so I really cannot complain! We have covered Marxism, Psychoanalysis, and Post-modernism to name but a few, and I am really enjoying the challenge strangely enough.
  • Cultures of Childhood is an interesting module, because (as the title might suggest) we study children’s literature. I have studied texts such as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Peter Pan. It is both difficult and interesting having to approach these texts from a critical mindset, as most people have enjoyed and loved these texts as children, so sometimes it’s hard to put my emotional response to the text to one side and have a critical approach, but nonetheless, it’s a fun module.

Mid-Semester assignment chaos has been and gone (thank goodness!) so now it’s just trying to get myself v. organised for all the essays that are due in over the Christmas holidays, because I most definitely do not want be worrying about them over Christmas (made that mistake last year – 100% do not recommend). This semester at uni I seem to have been getting on a lot better than I did in first year, I think the fact of no longer being a ‘fresher’ has really helped me to settle down and feel more comfortable in lectures and seminars and just generally helped my approach to my degree. It’s nice to have that moment of self-realisation every once in a while and it came to me a couple of weeks ago when I was in a seminar and were asked to feedback on a task we had completed at home. My tutor said: ‘who wants to go first then?’ and after looking around the room quickly to see who else was going to volunteer, (no one did) my hand shot straight up, without really thinking about it. Afterwards, I thought about much I have developed not only academically but personally in confidence, something that I felt I lacked massively throughout first year and I seem to slowly but surely becoming more positive and confident in my approach to my degree. Something, which if I am completely honest could never see happening this time last year. I suppose what I am trying to say, to anyone reading this, whether you are a student or not, that if something seems like there is no end, or that you will never be as good as everyone else around you at work, school, university, that it isn’t true. You cannot see it, I definitely couldn’t, but with the help of friends, family, and even tutors at university I am beginning to see that everything isn’t as terrible as I think it is.

Jenna xox

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