Welcome to your semesterly "this is what I’m doing" post!

Yes, yes, it’s that time again. The second semester of my second year at university has just begun and I have had a week of my courses… time for me to write down what they are so that when I casually reference them later it doesn’t cause such confusion.

First off is my compulsory course Advanced Research Writing or, as it used to be known and therefore how it’s still called by basically everyone, Academic English II. Advanced Research Writing continues from my first semester course of Academic English I (now called Intro to Research Writing or something) and in this course we prepare to write our capstone (Bachelor’s Thesis). Basically, in practice, we spend the next few months writing an article and, in groups, creating a journal in which to ‘publish’ the articles. Okay, it doesn’t sound as soul-destroying as Academic English I and, you know, it might actually be useful this time.

I’ll be honest, I felt that Academic English I was a complete waste of space so my hopes were really not high for Academic English II. I signed up for the teacher I thought would be best at teaching it and, turning up on the day, it turned out that the class was being taken by someone else. I resigned myself to months of frustration. And then I kicked myself for being so judgmental. I actually really like the teacher, probably aided by the fact that she’s not simply teaching the dry course but giving it a personal spin and therefore making it feel interesting and worthwhile.

My second course is Literature and Science. As the title may well suggest, this course looks at the interaction between literature and science throughout history. Well, it starts in the early modern period but, you know, that’s still a fair chunk. So far, we’ve mainly focused on the disciplinary conflict between the academic subjects but we should move on to look at how the two fields intermingled and inspired each other… perhaps limited too, who knows.

This course is taught by three of my favourite teachers and, as they said, with a class of around 15 (give or take as people join or drop out) what other university course would ever offer that kind of teacher student ratio! Each specialises in a different time period of literature, and I believe a different area within literary studies too, so there’s a real breadth and depth of knowledge being offered. I think the reading load may be quite intense for this subject but I suppose that’s one of the drawbacks of majoring in literature!

Then we have my accidental course History and Heritage of the Dutch Golden Age. I think the title of the course sums this one up. It’s a study of the Dutch Golden Age (17th century) and the different things that were going on and related to it. The course covers aspects from the economy to literature, art to religion and, quite frankly, it looks fascinating. I love taking a period of time and a place and then attempting to learn about ‘everything’ – it’s an exciting approach to history, I find.

However, I did not initially sign up for this course. One of my courses was cancelled due, I believe, to the teacher being ill and this was what replaced my art history course. So far, I feel it was a very happy mistake. The teacher of History and Heritage of the Dutch Golden Age – I really need to find a shorter title for that one – seems absolutely lovely. He’s got a great sense of humour, is engaging, and seems to be genuinely interested in, and know, his stuff. He’s also open to changing the course around in order to fit the desires and interests of the students and, I think, open to learning from his students. It’s a wonderful attribute for a teacher to have. Oh, and another funny thing, at the moment I am the only non-exchange student in the class… not quite sure how that happened!

Finally, I am taking Political Shakespeare, something that won’t be surprising to a lot of you. Again, this title is exceptionally self explanatory. The course mainly focuses on reading Shakespeare’s works within the (political) context of their society. There is also an aspect of looking at how they have been used in later societies and the meanings that the works have been given or picked up and that should be interesting. It’s taught by the wonderful Rebecca and, considering how much I have sung her praises in the past, I won’t go into how awesome she is at teaching here but it’s still the case.

Actually, I’m also taking three external modules through a distance learning program this semester. They are not counted towards my degree and I’m trying to keep it a bit quiet from the university but I’m really excited about them. Two of those are Shakespeare based and one is history based but I’ll say more about those when they start, perhaps. Seriously, if I get through the next semester without wanting to chuck my Shakespeare books out of the window then I can be pretty sure I’m applying for the right courses post BA 😉

I think including a picture of my nail art of this
week is pretty fitting at this point.

Add to this mix the fact that I’ve still not heard anything about my internship and this next semester is going to be a pivotal one, I think! Very, very excited!!

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