James, 3rd Year, History
After staying in bed for as long as possible –that’s usually until either 8am or 6am, depending on whether I’m rowing that morning– I head off to the faculty for a lecture. These cover the broader aspects of the papers we take, covering the key themes and events, and are given by leaders in the field. After a lecture on the changing diplomatic relations between Britain and France at the start of the twentieth century, and a class on Henry II and the Angevin Empire in the twelfth century, I head back to college for lunch.
After making myself lunch and catching up with my neighbour, I settle in to do some reading for my weekly essay. This is the standard form of work in History. Each week you meet your supervisor, either alone or in groups of two or three. For an hour, you discuss the ins and outs of the essay for that week, going over some of the points you didn’t understand, and also stretching your understanding of the topic a little. At the end, you get a new essay to complete for the next week, along with a list of somewhere between six and twelve books to have a look at in order to build your answer.
Daily work usually involves continuing to work through the reading list for that week, building an idea first of what the different important themes and factors are for the week’s essay, and then finding your own argument to answer the question. This week I’m trying to examine why after the French Revolution, the new French republic ended up at war with Britain.
At 6pm, it’s time for dinner in hall. This is a good chance to catch up with friends and make plans for the evening, all the while eating in a beautiful sixteenth century dining hall, with excellent food cooked for you.
After dinner, I head back to my room to do a little more reading, before heading to the bar for a game of pool and a drink. At 10:40pm, I meet up with my co-hosts, and we head over to the CamFM Studio to present our weekly radio show. We play songs along a different theme each week. Tonight the theme is music from video games. At about quarter past midnight, I get back to college and listen to a podcast for a little while in bed before going to sleep.