Looking to Third Year

It feels weird to be writing about my last year of uni but here I am, two years gone, and thinking about my final year.

Although I’m scared by third year and the prospect of finishing university, I am also really excited about it! Final year of history allows you to specialise a lot more than previous years, which means you can really focus on areas you enjoy. This year I’ll be doing a year long special subject on Henry VIII. The Tudor period is my favourite historical era, and yet I’ve never actually studied the entire reign of Henry VIII, so I’m really looking forward to this module. The module that I’ve chosen to do alongside this in the first term is the French Revolution. This is more of a risk because I’ve only ever studied the French Revolution as part of other topics and it’s SO COMPLICATED. Having said that, I find it really interesting and it was such an incredibly important event in history, so hopefully it will be a great topic to study.

This year I’ll also be doing a dissertation, which again is both scary and exciting in equal measures! Sticking with the Tudor theme, I’ll be writing about female monarchy in the Tudor period. This is a topic that I really love and I’ll be focussing on Mary I and Elizabeth I and the nature of early female monarchical power in a largely male-dominated culture. Although this is a subject I find really fascinating, the amount of research and work that goes into a dissertation is pretty daunting. It’s also very independent research so I need to be careful with my time this year to make sure I keep on top on this work.

Third year promises to be just as busy as second year has been which is also incredibly daunting! My contact hours during the week are down due to less modules, but there’ll be more independent work and I’m still involved with non-academic stuff like being on committee for the CU. As of now, I’m still unsure what I’ll go on to do after university, so I want to make the most of this year in Norwich in case I end up moving away. University has given me a lot of opportunities and I’ve had so much fun in Norwich, but there’s still areas I want to visit and places I want to go before I finish uni. Hopefully it will be a great year!

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Whitlingham Country Park

One of the things Norfolk is most well-known for is the Broads, a series of rivers and lakes across the county. If you’ve read my post on the UEA Lake, you’ll know I’m a big fan of any green open space, especially if it includes a river or lake. Recently, my housemates and I went to Whitlingham Country Park, an area to the East of Norwich, and spent a lovely afternoon wandering around the broad there. It’s the perfect spot for an afternoon away from uni or the city, particularly if it’s a nice day!

 

To get to the broad, we took the bus to the railway station and then walked for about 30-40 minutes. We’d packed a picnic, so once we got there we chose a spot to sit down and have some lunch overlooking the broad. The broad itself is pretty big, but you can walk all the way around it and end up back at the visitors centre for a well deserved cup of tea or cold drink.

It’s so nice to be close to open countryside in Norwich, as just 15 minutes walk from the station and we were in Norfolk countryside. I love having such beautiful areas on my doorstep at uni. If you’re looking for more day trip ideas, why not check out my posts on Blickling Hall or the beaches at Cromer and Great Yarmouth!

Cafes in Norwich (Part Two)

In May, I wrote about some of my favourite cafes and tea shops in Norwich – you can find that post here. But there’s plenty more to recommend, so welcome to part two!

1.The Tea House

The Tea House is one of my absolute favourites and was one of the first tea shops I visited in Norwich. It’s very small and quiet, but it does a great selection of tea and is run by a really lovely lady. My favourite thing to order here is tea and and a scone, because their scones are so good! The Tea House is hidden away on Elm Hill, one of the prettiest streets in Norwich, so it’s a great place to visit if you’re showing people around Norwich for the day. Pop over to the website to find out more.

2. Bicycle Shop

If you’re looking for something less quaint and more hipster, the Bicycle Shop is the place to be. The Bicycle Shop is very quirky and has a great selection of food and drink, from lunches to tea and cake. I’ve heard their breakfast/brunch dishes are some of the best in Norwich. Why not check out their website for more info!

3. Storm in a Tea Cup

Storm in a Tea Cup is another one of my favourites and, like the Tea House, is also on Elm Hill (I’m sensing a pattern). The service here is always so friendly, making it a lovely place to visit. It does breakfasts and lunches and an excellent variety of teas and freshly made cakes. They also usually do a soup of the day which is always great, but my go-to order is one of their homemade sausage rolls followed by a (very large) slice of cake. You can find opening times and more information on their website.

4. Eaton Park Cafe

Eaton Park Cafe can be found in, you guessed it, Eaton Park. Eaton Park is a lovely area so the cafe makes for a nice spot for a snack or some lunch if you’re spending an afternoon in the park. The cafe itself is run by the same people as the Bicycle Shop, so the menu and decor is reasonably similar, but the cafe is more family friendly and feels brighter and more open than the Bicycle Shop. Find the cafe by the bandstand in the park and visit this website for more information.

Second Year Reflections

Second year is all done and now I’m left desperately trying not to think about the fact that I only have one more year of uni left. The whole of second year has gone so quickly, which is pretty terrifying, and I think third year will go past just as quickly. Last year I did a post summing up how I felt about my first year studying history (have a read here) and back in January I wrote about how I felt the first term of second year had gone (you can find that here). I thought it was only right to finish the year with a look back on my last term and second year as a whole, so here we go…

Second year was intense. Me oh my. A lot of people warned that second year would be a lot tougher than first year and looking back now I can say that they were right. The issue for me was not the content of the work itself – I actually really enjoyed my modules this year – but rather the amount of work and the increasingly limited time I had to complete it. Being more settled with uni life this year meant I ended up with a lot more to fill my time with. I was wanting to spend more time with my housemates, and seeing friends took up more time because we are all scattered across the city in different houses. I was always involved in the Christian Union, especially in preparations for Story Norwich, and then becoming Vice-President just before Easter. Being on committee in an active society takes up a lot of time, and it was a real struggle to balance my time. My weeks would always be full of stuff to do, and for a while I think I was just committed to too much! Every single essay I had this year was cutting it very fine to the deadline. I also managed to get ill just before exams this year, which meant the last couple of weeks of term were a mad rush to cram in as much revision as possible. By the time the end of term came around, I was very happy to be finishing with uni.

But being so busy was not always a bad thing! It’s so great to be involved with so many different things, and I don’t regret any of the stuff I spent my time on. Being busy has taught me a lot about my time management and priorities and I’m going into third year knowing I need to be careful about balancing my time. At the end of the day, university has brought me so many incredible opportunities that I can’t find elsewhere, and I’m happy to be busy if it means I’m making the most of my time here.

In regards to my course, I have really loved my modules this term. I did Propaganda, Wars of the Roses, and Conspiracy and Crisis in the Early Modern World. All of these were so interesting and I felt like I was constantly learning new things, which was really satisfying. Doing essays and exams is never fun, but it is a lot easier if you really enjoy the stuff you’re learning about, so I found this term a lot nicer than some of my previous terms. My marks have also been consistently better than they were in first year, which is encouraging because it means I must be doing something right! It was also a relief to be achieving good marks despite often feeling a bit behind on work this year, and made me feel happier about the amount of non-academic stuff I was getting involved in.

This year I also really enjoyed living off campus in a house. Being able to live with two of my best friends has been incredible and it’s been so much fun. I love being in a house because it feels so much more homely than living in halls and it’s easier to personalise. I’m staying on in the same house with the same people next year and I’m excited for another year of living with them!

Overall, second year has been great. Mad, intense, often stressful, but great. It’s gone so quickly that before I know it I’ll be back writing about the end of third year which is a VERY SCARY THOUGHT. But I’m excited for what third year will bring so I’ll just try not to think about the end of uni right now.

 

Easter round up

Woah, life has been super busy recently, so I thought it was worth doing a post briefly talking about some of the stuff I’ve been up to in the last few weeks…

Back in March I managed to fit in two friends from home coming to visit. It was really lovely to see them, and was a great excuse to wander around all the best bits of Norwich, and eat a lot of cake and drink a lot of tea in various tea shops. It’s not always easy to find time to see friends from home so it was great to spend time with both of them!

I became Vice-President of the Christian Union in February, and a lot of my time since then has been taken up by meetings and planning, but it’s really exciting to be involved with helping to run a student society. At the end of March we did our Easter outreach, handing out free hot cross buns and Easter eggs in the hive. This was so fun to be involved in, and hopefully you liked it if you were around campus on the last day of term!

I didn’t go home straight away for Easter, but I did pop home to surprise my Mum for Mother’s Day. I’m lucky to only live about an hour away from Norwich on the train, so I could visit for a day and then head back. Despite living quite close, this term I haven’t had time to make it home to visit at all, so it was great to finally go home, especially for Mother’s Day.

I then spent about a week back in Norwich, trying to get some work done before heading home for Easter. This meant a lot of library time, but it also meant breaks by the lake or Earlham Park with my housemate Tara, which was really nice, and the weather was beautiful.

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Isn’t she cute

That week we also returned to visit Blickling Hall, a National Trust stately home in Norfolk. Our friend Becky volunteers there and we got to spend a day with her, enjoying the beautiful gardens and exploring the house with Becky as our own private tour guide! Blickling Hall has to be one of my favourite places and I loved getting to visit again. We also fitted in a brief trip to Cromer to see the sea before heading home.

When I finally left Norwich, I brought my friend Sarah home with me to stay for a few days. Sarah is a study abroad student over for the year from Canada , and although my hometown isn’t quite as exciting as Canada, it was so much fun to have her to stay. We visited Southwold for the day and won our fortune on the penny machines (when I say fortune, I mean several keyrings and a weird toy mole). Southwold is my favourite seaside town, but it’s quite difficult to reach by public transport from Norwich, so being able to drive there (shoutout to my parents) was a great opportunity to go. We also went to Sutton Hoo, a local National Trust site where an Anglo-Saxon ship burial had been discovered. To be completely honest, as a historical site it’s pretty underwhelming (basically a field with some mounds) but the weather made it a nice place to spend the day and it’s always a strong site for a picnic.

The Easter holidays themselves have gone super quickly (possibly because I’m not actually at home for that long!). I’ve managed to fit in catching up with friends, and seeing some family who visited for Easter, which has been lovely. Summer term looks like it will be just as busy as last term, and we’re now on the countdown to exams which I’m managing to ignore fairly successfully so far. But for now I’m back in Norwich for just under a week before term begins next Monday…hopefully trying to fit in some work – wish me luck.

Halls vs House

Last year I was living in student halls on campus for my first year of university. If you want to find out more about what my accommodation was like, check out this post. This year, I’ve moved off campus and into a student house in Norwich, which has been a very different experience! Having lived off campus for a while now, I thought it would be good to do a little comparison of the different experiences you get living on and off campus.

Friends – One of the biggest differences I noticed when moving off campus was the change of having my friends so much more spread out. In first year, so many of my friends were also living on campus, meaning no one was further than 10 mins away from me. Now, my friends are spread across Norwich, making it a lot harder to pop round and see people. I’ve found you have to be a lot more intentional in organising to meet up with friends, but a lot of my friends live in groups together so it’s nice to hang out in a house and not worry about getting in the way of their other housemates.

Living environment – Living in student halls means you get a small room to yourself which can be a bit of an adjustment when most of us are used to having a whole house to roam around. I personally really enjoyed having a space that I could make my own but it’s also easy for your room to feel a bit claustrophobic if you’re spending too much time in your flat. There’s also limitations on how far you can personalise such a small space and I think overall for living environment I prefer living off campus in a house. This year we’ve been able to really make our student house feel like a home, and it’s so nice to come home to fairy lights and bunting rather than leftover takeaway boxes.

Housemates – First year is always a bit strange because you are thrown together with complete strangers to live with for a year. This isn’t a bad thing – it’s a pretty unique opportunity to make friends with people you might never have spent time with otherwise – but it is nice to be able to live with people of your choice in year two. I’m living in a small house this year, with just three of us. It’s been so lovely to live with two of my closest friends and I’m really enjoying having a smaller house (in comparison to the flat of 12 I was in last year!)

Location -I loved living on campus because everything you needed was just a short walk away, which was SO handy. This year I live a 30 min walk away from campus, which makes a big difference in terms of getting into uni each day. Living off campus means you have to plan ahead to make sure you take everything you need for the day, and you have to wake up earlier to get to morning lectures. I live on a bus route which is super helpful, but I do miss everything being so close. Having said that, it’s nice to live closer to town, and it means I’ve got to know Norwich better, rather than being stuck in the ‘student bubble’ of campus. But overall I would say make the most of being on campus, because you’ll miss the convenience when it’s gone!

Living off campus is very different to living in halls, but they’re both really enjoyable opportunities. Overall, I think I prefer living in a house, but I definitely enjoyed staying in my university room last year, and I do miss having everything so close. There’s also a huge range of student housing in Norwich, from houses next door to campus to houses close to the city centre. We’ve signed to stay on in our house next year because it’s worked so well for us, but be aware that there’s always the chance to move house again in your third year!

Story Norwich

Last semester was super busy for me, and one of the reasons it was so hectic was because I’m involved in planning a week of events in February 2017 called Story Norwich, which I’m really excited about! Being at uni brings so many amazing opportunities, and the project has been one of the most challenging but rewarding things I’ve been involved in so far. I hope Story Norwich will be something loads of students can get involved in and enjoy…

Story Norwich is a week of events hosted by UEA Christian Union, from the 5th – 10th February. There’ll be events every day on campus – free food and drink, live music, lunchtime and evening talks from guest speakers and a chance to hear from members of the Christian Union.

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We all have a story, and we’d love for you to join us as we explore how our stories are shaped and what they mean. Come along to our events to hear stories of lives that have been changed by God, investigate the gospel story and uncover your own story. All events are free, and you don’t need to sign up.

We’re kicking off the week with free live music in the LCR from the band Lion of Judah on Sunday 5th February at 7.30pm. Then at 1pm each day we’ll be serving a free lunch and covering some ‘big question’ topics such as ‘is the Bible reliable?’ and ‘why does God allow suffering?’. Our evening events start at 7.30pm, with homemade cakes and hot drinks and we’ll hear stories of identity, acceptance, and purpose. To find out more about all our events, you can check out the full week timetable here and our Facebook event here.

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In the lead up to Story Norwich, we’ve been releasing stories from members of the CU on social media. There are some really amazing stories of how CU members have encountered God in their lives, and it’s also a great way to get to know the CU a bit better! Head over to our Facebook page to read some of the stories so far, and more can be found on our website. You can stay up to date with Story Norwich and our events by liking our Facebook page or you can also find us on Instagram and Twitter!

It’s gonna be an incredible week. All the events are totally free of charge so we’d love for you to come along to any or all events! If you want to know more about Christianity or the CU it’s a great chance to hear about what we believe and ask any questions you have. Even if you’re not sure, drop in for a hot drink and a chat – all are welcome!

See you there!

2017

So I know the 12th January is a bit late to do a classic new year reflection post, but hey, let’s go with it…I thought I would do a little update on how the end of 2016 went and what I have coming up in 2017:

First term of second year went SO fast. I know in a couple of posts from my first year I talked about how quickly the year went, but nothing could have prepared me for quite how quickly year two is going. I think being involved in a lot more things and having more work means the weeks just disappear!

In my ‘Second Year‘ post, I talked about being a bit apprehensive about last terms modules. My expectations turned out to be pretty spot on – I found Anglo-Saxons and Modern Germany quite tricky but I loved Tudor and Stuart Britain. Anglo-Saxon England was the module I most struggled with – I’ve never studied it before, and it quickly became apparent that it wasn’t an area of history that I particularly liked. Although it was a nice contrast studying something so new to me, it definitely won’t be a period of history I chose to study again, and all I can do is cross my fingers and hope for decent essay marks! On the other hand, studying Tudor and Stuart Britain more than made up for this. The Tudor period is probably my favourite period of history and the teaching was really good. I genuinely looked forward to seminars which is pretty unusual for me! For my summative essay, instead of picking from the list of questions I made up my own essay question – ‘what were the limitations of female monarchy in the Tudor period?’. This was really nice because it meant I could write about a topic that really interested me and take it into quite specific detail. Getting to study stuff like this reminds me why I love history!

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Still managing a few lake walks in second year

So, looking forward to 2017, I’m excited about next term – but simultaneously kinda terrified by the amount of stuff that’s going to happen in one term! Last year the spring semester was really busy, and I don’t think this year will be any different. New term means new modules, and I’m a lot more hopeful about these modules than I was about last terms. I’m also more involved in society stuff than I was last year – in February the Christian Union has a big event, Story Norwich, coming up (more about this in a future post) and this will all take up a lot of my time. Spring semester also seems to bring a lot of peoples birthdays (including mine), and as the weather gets better, so does the opportunity for day trips. The end of this semester means exams, and that means lots of revision because second year marks count! As well as that, I would really like to try and get some kind of summer job/internship. A lot of applications for summer internships close in January/February time so I’m sure I’ll enjoy a month or so of frantically trying to find places to apply to.

Phew, that’s a lotta stuff.

2017 feels like quite an uncertain year for me but hopefully another year packed with oppurtunities. The end of my second year feels quite far away now, but I’m sure it won’t be long until I’m writing my next round up of the year!

 

A Day in the Life

University is full of exciting opportunities and experiences – in the last year I’ve been to Berlin, been on the radio, listened to Rowan Williams speak, experienced the joy of ‘Pets as Therapy’ , explored Norwich, visited Great Yarmouth and Cromer to name just a few things.

But unfortunately, day-to-day life as a student does involve more typical things like attending lectures and seminars and working in the library. To give you a flavour of what an average day of university work is like, myself and some of the other student bloggers from UEA have each written a short piece about our average days for The Student Room. You can check out what we’ve written here.

If you want to read more from the other student bloggers, you can find their blogs through the UEA website.

UEA Choir Christmas Carol Concert

My deadlines were officially over on Monday, and that meant it was time to start getting into the Christmas spirit – and what better way to do so than a carol concert? On Wednesday evening, my housemate Susanna and I attended the UEA Choir Christmas carol concert at the Roman Catholic Cathedral. I’d never been inside the Roman Catholic Cathedral before, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s such a beautiful building and makes for a stunning venue for a carol service.

The concert itself included performances by UEA Choir and UEA Chamber Choir and they were SO GOOD. As someone who isn’t blessed with the gift of tuneful singing, hearing choirs perform never ceases to amaze me. The choirs included students, staff and members of the local community – so it was nice to see a few of my university friends perform.

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The programme was a mix of choir performances and some classic Christmas carols for audience participation. The Director of UEA Choir, Tom Primrose, gave some interesting background on a few of the songs between pieces. My particular favourite was finding out that about the carol ‘Quelle est cetter odeur agreable?’, which roughly translates as ‘what’s that nice smell?’! How Christmassy.

It was a really lovely evening – it doesn’t get much better than singing Christmas Carols in a Cathedral with a choir. It’s an annual concert, so definitely keep an eye out for it next year! My tip would be arrive early because seats fill up quick and the cathedral was packed full. Also, if you want to avoid waiting for refreshments in the interval some people cleverly brought along a flask and mince pies of their own which saved them a queue.

Thanks to UEA Music Centre for inviting me, I had a great time! If you might be interested in being a part of a choir, or if you want to find out more about music opportunities at UEA, check out the Music Centre page on the website. Also a big shout out to my housemate Susanna for bringing along her camera to take some wonderful pictures for me!