Q&A with a literature student

Hi everyone,

i thought today I would do a Q&A with one of my housemates and fellow literature student to give you an insight into what the department and coursers Edge Hill offers!

Q: What has been the best part of your degree?

A: Getting the opportunity to study a subject I’ve always been interested in with like minded people.

Q: Why did you choose Edge Hill?

A: The course has a wide range of modules spanning from classical renaissance literature to more contemporary issues. Also, the fact that Edge Hill is a campus and everything is in one place makes it feel like a community!

Q: What was your favourite aspect of your course and why?

A: The lectures are delivered by tutors who are passionate about their subjects and therefore it makes it interesting to learn from them.

Q: How would you summarise your experience at Edge Hill?

A: I’ve had the best three years at Edge Hill, it’s such an inclusive university it’s nice to be around so many people who are friendly and happy to be there.

Q: Favourite module or anything you found particularly interesting?

A: Special Author in third year in which we studied the works of Rudyard Kipling who wrote the Jungle Book which was really fun.

Q: How have you found living in Ormskirk

A: Really good, Edge Hill provides a lot of support for finding off campus accommodation and in the transition from living on campus to in Ormskirk. The support means that  you won’t come across any landlords that you feel that you can’t trust.

Q: Any advice for future students?

A: Take every opportunity that is given to you as you don’t want to look back on your time at uni and regret not pushing yourself to do new things.

I hope you all find this helpful!

See you next time,

Ellie 🙂

Public Lectures, Research Seminars and More!

Throughout the year, Edge Hill University hosts a number of public lectures. These are can be in subjects such as my own, Biological Sciences, or others, such as Education or History.

Banded archerfish (Toxotes jaculatrix). Lithograph, published in 1884.

Recently, my personal tutor and department head of biology, Dr Paul Ashton, gave his inaugural lecture titled “Contemplate an Entangled Bank” after the opening to the final paragraph of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. Paul’s lecture was on the culmination of his work to date, from lime trees to sedges.

The Biosciences Department also hosts research seminars typically at lunchtime, as well as public lectures in the evening. Previous research seminars from this term were on biogeography (the origin of the Lusitanian flora), a rare genetic disease (Fanconi Anaemia), and how plant-atmosphere interactions shine a light on the origin of flowering plants. Although the schedule for 2018’s public lectures is not yet released, check back HERE for details! I attended Dr André Antunes’ talk, “Living on the Edge: Life in high salinity environments” last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. Also of note for the department is “ENTO’18: The Good The Bad and the Ugly” – an annual entomological conference which this year is being hosted at Edge Hill University during the 29th to the 31st of August.

The Geography department also holds public lectures in the Geosciences building, the most recent two being a lecture on coastal vulnerability to climate change and rising sea-levels, and perceptions of “Globalisation, Sustainability and Culture” in regard to “the Identities of old/new Empires and their colonies.”

Conferences and talks are held by the Faculty of Health and Social Care in their own building, as well as the Tech Hub and the Manchester campus – particularly for open days, where the Operating Department Practice programme is held. Conferences are also held by the faculty, such as the Digital Ecosystem event.

Education students have an interesting research seminar scheduled for early 2018 on January 11th – The Teaching and Learning of Britishness and Fundamental British Values, by Dr Sadia Habib, who has also published a book on the topic. Past seminars and lectures have included teaching in South Africa, lesson study, and educational responses for the future.

The Department of Performing Arts also has had many events throughout the year, two workshops of which were on Mindfulness and Butoh in Dance Movement Therapy. Another inaugural lecture was held by Professor Stephen Davismoon earlier this month.

Finally, students of English, History and Creative Writing have enjoyed lectures on The Politics of the Neo-Victorian Freak Show, how the illustrations of Sherlock Holmes affected the success of Doyle’s success, and “what it meant to be a girl in the late Victorian period and how women editors played a role in shaping the modern girl,” in a paper reading by Dr Beth Rodgers.

As you can see, Edge Hill University offers numerous lectures across the board of courses! I’ve found that attending these talks for my subject has allowed me to get an idea of which topics I find enjoyable both inside and outside the curriculum.

What Exactly Am I Studying?

Over the last three years I have really enjoyed studying English literature and creative writing, I’ve had the option of taking a whole load of different modules that cover so many different areas. This post is going to list some of my favourite modules that I have studied since first year and I’ll you a little bit about them.

  1. Periods and Genres one – First year

This module ran for one semester in my first year. It was a literature module in my first semester and was a great way to ease me into the course. It covered genres from Romanticism to post-modernism and gave me a good over-all knowledge of the literature periods which I have now built on. It also started my particular interests in romanticism and modernism.

  1. Writing Short Stories – Second year

This module ran over both semesters in second year, It was one of the core creative writing modules. It built on the fiction module from first year and extended our knowledge of short story writing. It really opened my eyes to the short story form and I have a newfound appreciation for it both from a reader’s perspective and a writer’s perspective

  1. Film Adaptation – Second year

This was a literature module that was also available for creative writing students. It ran in my second semester of second year. It looked at a series of different book/film pairings and used film and literature theory to analyse how books are adapted into films. This has been, by far, my favourite module because I learnt so much; I realised that films don’t particularly have to be ‘faithful’ adaptations of a source text to be successful and there’s a lot of thought that goes into the process. I also got to choose what film/book I wrote my assignments, I chose Matilda for my final assignment – nostalgia much?

  1. Special Author two: Jane Austen – Third Year

This module ran in my first semester of third year, it focused on the work of Jane Austen, looking almost her entire catalogue of literature and a few contextual novels that linked to her work. I enjoyed Jane Austen novels before as I had studied them in my romanticism module in second year, but this module made me all the more interested. We had an incredibly enthusiastic lecturer who made the experience even more fun and I now have a new favourite book – Emma, which I wrote an essay comparing to the film Clueless for one of my assignments.

  1. The Art of Screen Writing – Third Year

Another core creative writing module that runs over both semesters in third year. It looks at screenplays, how to write them and the theory behind them. As I’m mainly accustomed to writing stage plays, this module has been a challenge for me to adapt to screenwriting and how different it is to writing for stage but it’s nonetheless a welcome challenge. I’ve enjoyed studying different screenplays such as The Graduate and When Harry Met Sally and I am now in the process of writing my own.

First Impressions

Hi Everyone!

Since the start of the second semester I’ve really started to reflect on my time at uni so far. It doesn’t seem that long ago I was nervously awaiting my A Level exam results, and ever since then life has been a little bit crazy.

Getting into the university you really want to be at is one of the happiest moments of your life. I stayed up the entire night beforehand and had cake for breakfast to celebrate my results!

Then there’s always that little bit of nervous anticipation about what life is going to be like once you move to uni. It’s a big step, so this is only natural and you will have heard it a million times by now I know, but everyone is in the same boat as you.

So first impressions. They are pretty important, but nothing to be worried about! When I first moved in to my accommodation I was scared about meeting my new flatmates, but everyone was so friendly and we all get along really well.

I still remember everything that I did in the first week, and I know this is common amongst Freshers. From the nights out, the lectures, that very first seminar and the really awkward department socials!

The English department held a quiz for us all, with prizes for the top three teams, and the losers. It was a great way to meet people from my subject, and from other subjects across the department. Let’s not forget to mention it will be the first time you the tutors who will be teaching you over the course of your degree.

The best advice I can give is to just throw yourself in to everything you possibly can! At Freshers Fair sign up for as many societies that interest you (there will be a lot) this is a great way to meet new people, create long lasting friendships and try something exciting and different too.

When I first came to uni I thought it would be really hard to make friends. But there are so many people from so many places here that meeting someone with the same interests as you is as easy as possible!

And trust me, before long you will be at the end of your first year looking back at all the great memories you’ve made.

Quote for the day: “Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.” The Story Girl –L.M. Montgomery.

Until next time guys, bye! 🙂

So Much Variety!!!

As you may already know, I am about to finish my degree in English Literature. Even though I am just about to graduate, my classes still continue to surprise me! If there’s something that has been one of the most pleasant surprises about my course at Edge Hill, it’s been the absolutely incredible variety of things I’ve been able to study, all under the heading of ‘English Literature’. As well as the expected books, plays and poems, I’ve looked at films, video games, role-playing games, and loads more. It’s really incredible that playing a game can count as work towards my degree!

I thought that I’d got used to the variety of things I could study, but last week in my Dickens and Popular Culture module we had a whole week concentrating on illustrations of Dickens’ work from the Victorian era. It made such a change to look at pictures – and we even had a go at creating our own illustrations! Drawing is definitely not my strong point but it was lots of fun all the same, and I discovered that some of my classmates have some hidden artistic talents!

An illustration from Oliver Twist
An illustration from Oliver Twist

The great thing about the content of modules at Edge Hill being so varied is that it makes it difficult to get bored. I also have found myself constantly developing new skills. Last year when I took Texts in Motion, which was a heavily film based module, I had to learn a whole new load of terms in order to analyse the films correctly, which was a challenge but also really interesting and exciting to do.

I’ve found that university has allowed me to experience so many new things, both in my course and outside of it. There’s so many opportunities to try something you’ve never even thought of before, whether that’s joining a sports club for a sport you’ve never played before, or going to see unusual shows at the on campus theatre, or perhaps (and maybe most common!) trying a new kind of alcohol! Whatever you decide to do whilst at university, don’t be scared to try new things and most of all, have fun!

English Literature Modules

If you’re thinking about studying English Literature at Edge Hill you’re pretty lucky in the fact that we get offered a really wide range of modules to choose from. In first year there are specific modules that you have to study, but in second and third year you get to pick all of your modules yourself. This means there is a really large variety of literature that you can be studying at any one time. For example, last year at the same time as studying work from the 1660s, I was also studying Twilight! It also means your friends could be reading completely different texts from you because there’s so many different possible combinations of modules, giving you lots to talk about!

If you’d like an idea of the modules available, you’re best having a look at the English Literature course page on the Edge Hill website which you can see here. As an example, the modules I took in my second year were as follows:

Semester One

Literature 1660-1760

Writing the Supernatural

Vampire Fictions

 

Semester Two

Romanticism

Renaissance Poetry & Prose

Texts in Motion (we looked at books and their film adaptations – really interesting and great if you also have a love of film!)

 

As you can see, they were really varied in content which kept me on my toes, and they were also all assessed differently with some modules including exams, and another requiring me to write a blog! It was pretty hard to get bored!

A pile of some of my books from second year!
A pile of some of my books from second year!

This year I love my choice of modules just as much. In case you’re interested here they are:

Last semester

Modernism

The Shakespeare Problem (if you enjoy Shakespeare this is just wonderful ; a different play every week and I loved every minute of it)

Late-Victorian Gothic

 

This semester

The Sense of an Ending (this includes literature from the 1950s onwards)

Dickens and Popular Culture

Gothic Romanticism (in case you hadn’t noticed, I like Gothic literature)

 

I’m currently having an amazing last year and looking back at all my old module choices is making me rather nostalgic and I absolutely wish I could go back an experience it all again for the first time because I truly have had a wonderful time!

Larp Stories!

Hello One and All!

As Some may be well aware, I often go LARPing, which is Live Action Role Playing. Essentially D&D in real life.
The Stories that happen are quite beautiful.
So here before you, I shall tell the story that happened last Session.

– — —
Once Upon a December, in the Land of Primus in Labyrinthe, a call was sent out by one Scott Trudgebill. His Father Johnathon was haunted by the death of his twin Brother, Edward, who some 50 years ago, went off to explore the Catacombs located at the very North end of their vast Estate. The family had never ventured here as it was believed a great evil existed below. His Brother never returned.

Johnathon knew that Edward had died as they were twins and they had a special “bond”. Out of anger and in despair at his twins actions,  Johnathon sealed the entrance with a warding and placed certain protections in place to prevent anyone ever going down into the Catacombs again.
However, Johnathon knew he must recover his brother’s remains and give him a decent burial before he, himself, can peacefully depart from Primus.

Aquiring the Hiring License, the call was placed out for Mercenaries to take on the Job. A Variety Responded. Four Wizards (A Red, A Grey, A Brown and  A Blue.), A variety of Priests, an Orc, a Ratkin, a Monk and A Variety of Warriors.

The Mercanaries went on down into the catacombs and encountered many creatures, including a Giant Scorpion which killed the party’s Anti-Paladin, forcing him to raise as  a Wraith, before being dismissed and resurrected.

The Party trudged through the catacombs and a few of them were killed by the undead and Kobolds that lay in the depths. Until, at last, they found the body and armour of Edward Trudgebill. The party recovered it and returned it to Johnathon, all bar two accepting their pay and wandering off. Only two remained behind to oversee the funeral. The Earth Elf Wizard and the Monk. They assured the body was put to rest, and the story ended.

— — —

“See that guy over there? Go Mess him and all his friends up” –
Belgeon the Wizard to Requiem the Not-too-Bright-Warrior.

Best Books of the Semester

Studying English Literature, I read a heck of a lot of books for my course. Some good, some not so great. I really enjoyed writing a blog last year about my three favourite books from the first semester, so I thought I’d  do it again this year. Here it goes…

Coming in at number 3 I’ve chosen Selected Stories, a collection of short stories by Katherine Mansfield. I read some of these short stories as part of my Modernism module, but I enjoyed them so much that I’ve read a few more since then. I’ve never really been a great lover of short stories, but this collection may have won me over. I love the internal style of Mansfield’s work and her concentration on the individual. My particular favourites were ‘The Daughters of the Late Colonel’ and ‘Bliss’.

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At number 2 we have The Blood of the Vampire by Florence Marryat. I read this book for my Late-Victorian Gothic module and absolutely loved it. I studied a module last year called Vampire Fictions so of course this was right up my street. The vampire in this novel doesn’t fit your typical description of a vampire which was really interesting. And best of all: she’s a woman. Oh the scandal. This is a really great read if you’re interested in gothic, powerful women or vampires (and no, I’m not just appealing to those of you who enjoy Twilight – there’s some really great vampire novels out there).

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My absolute number one book of this semester is actually a play. I’m a big Shakespeare fan (stereotypical, I know) so this year I have taken a module called The Shakespeare Problem, meaning I get to read a different Shakespeare play every week. And although I have adored most of the plays so far, my clear favourite is Measure for Measure. I love the problematic situation that Angelo puts Isabella in, and the creepiness of his character. I also love the combinations of genres, which gives the play an uncomfortable but, for me, enjoyable feel. I absolutely recommend this if you’re a lover of Shakespeare. Or just evil, sinister characters.

Assignments

It’s nearing the end of the university year which means that I have a ton of assignment deadlines at the moment. University assignments differ somewhat from the ones I had to do whilst I was at school, and the procedure for handing them in is extremely different. Before I started at Edge Hill I had lots of questions about assignments, so I’ve written this for anyone who might be in the same position. However, every department has their own way of doing things, so bear in mind that I only know about the procedure for those studying English Literature.

Once we’ve written an essay, the first thing we do is upload it to an online system called Turnitin. This checks the work for plagiarism, after which you are given a similarity percentage. Our tutors use this to check that our work is all our own, and that is why we very often get reminded about how important it is to reference accurately. For English Literature, we use the MHRA style of referencing. It can be difficult to use at first, but I found it quickly got a lot easier with practice.

We are also required to hand in a physical copy of our work, which most tutors will annotate and add feedback to when they mark it. There are lots of regulations regarding how work should be presented, such as spacing and font size, but you’ll be told about all those things when you start the course. Assignments are always submitted alongside a coversheet which has your name and details of the essay on. We pick these up from the copy room which is located next to where we hand our essays in. Here’s what the English Literature coversheet looks like:

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In the English and History department we hand our assignments in in drop boxes located down the Clough corridor. The boxes are emptied at 4pm each day and stamped so they know which day you handed it in (not that it matters as long as it’s before the deadline.) Once they’ve been marked, our tutors either hand our essays back to us during seminars, or leave them in the English and History office for us to collect.

My Applicant Visit Day – English Literature Taster Session

(This blog is going to focus on my experience of an English Literature taster session that is a big part of an applicant visit day. See my last blog for more details about my applicant visit day in general).

When I attended an applicant visit day at Edge Hill, the English Literature taster session directly followed a general talk about the English and History department. We were directed to follow a particular member of staff, depending on which course we were taking, out of the lecture hall and into our taster sessions. I was nervous, and I remember not wanting to leave my parents, feeling very much like a child again. But I did, because I knew that if I was going to move out in September I certainly needed to be able to leave them then.

I didn’t know it then, but the tutor I followed out of that lecture hall would become one of my tutors for a module in first year. Getting to know him during that session actually helped me settle into his group a lot quicker when I was an actual student. As a generally shy person, this upper-hand really helped me feel a lot more confident.

The English Literature taster session went better than I imagined. The class was bigger than your typical seminar size, containing about twenty people or so. The tutor gave us a quick talk about studying English Literature at Edge Hill, before setting us the task of analysing two poems in groups. This scared me, but it really shouldn’t have; we weren’t expected to analyse the poems at some super high magical degree level; all he wanted to know was what we could get out of it. Anything that we did come up with, he gladly helped us expand on, so I really felt like I learnt something even in that short time.

Some of the people I met during that taster session went on to become Edge Hill students too. This was great during my first couple of weeks at university, because every now and then a face I recognised would pop up in a sea of strangers and it was that kind of thing that made me feel more confident in situations I was finding daunting and scary.

My experience of the English Literature taster session is really what convinced me most that the course at Edge Hill was the right one for me, and I advise anyone who has any doubts to attend one.