It can be difficult to understand the vigorous daily routine of a History student unless you are one yourself. Other students may falsely judge you as having an ‘easy’ degree just for having less contact hours, but how does your average day compare to mine?
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It’s a time I see once a week, and each time it comes rudely bursting into my life over the screeching of the alarm clock. Three more times it will have to ring before I decide my 9 o’clock seminar isn’t going to let me off for the second week in a row. Too late to grab a shower, it’s bread for breakfast. The toaster’s broken and at this time in the morning the grill is a formidable opponent.
Out of the house and down the road to join the like-minded souls who drag themselves up the path to campus. With odd shoes, dirty clothes and bed hair it’s like Shaun of the Dead on a smaller budget – and less blood. [JH1]
As the seminar starts and you look around the room blankly, not wanting to be the first person to speak up in case you are incapable of talking yet, it’s reassuring to see everyone else feeling the same.
Apart from that one guy, of course, pristinely dressed in his best suit and shiniest shoes, with his briefcase open on the table and half the library piled around him. Ridiculed by everyone else for being able to function at the start of a normal working day, he still carries out a vital public service – carrying the seminar for the first half an hour or so.
Despite my reservations and anguish over the early start, the seminar actually flies by. Luckily I’m not paying for a degree I fail to enjoy. Next stop is the closest bar for a much-needed coffee. It’s surprising how one simple hot beverage can take up so much of a budget. It really shouldn’t.
Energised with campus rocket fuel I brace myself for the library, a large stone building built not only to house books but also to keep in the screams of the fallen, men and women who have next day deadlines. Or Law students. Hotter than a doctor’s office, the library is an uncomfortable place to be at the best of times, so getting the books I need becomes a race against the clock. Grab them, check them out and head home.
One in the afternoon and my working day is essentially over. Really I should sit straight down to the reading I have to do, but housemates put an end to that. Crossing the threshold of the living room and making it upstairs without stopping to watch telly or sit to talk and do nothing is, well, impossible.
Living with friends is a burden and a curse. Moving in with them after first year requires an exchange. Productivity goes out of the window and is replaced with simple enjoyment. However, having them around in the hardest weeks of term is a lifesaver. Whether it’s simple light relief or an unrequested cup of coffee, it stops madness settling in for winter.
The best thing about being a History student is that if there are no immediate deadlines, there is plenty of spare time and filling it wisely makes university the best three years of your life. With nothing on, I spend my time playing rugby, sampling the finest beers the city has to offer, and/or finishing up an article for GKBC.
About Author: Jack Tilbury is studying History in Kent. In his final year he still hasn’t perfected the balance between work and play. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy…