What I Enjoy About Studying

September 10, 2013

My reading this week is Wayne Booth’s ‘Rhetoric of Fiction’. It’s a very interesting book and really helped me think through the question, ‘What do I enjoy about studying?’ The first chapter of Booth’s text discusses the difference between what he calls showing and telling, which is essentially a choice about how information is presented. It occurred to me that how information is presented in my program is one of the things I enjoy most about studying the BA English with Goldsmith’s College and the University of London International Programmes. As I mentioned before, this program and pedagogy is one of the key reasons for my academic success. It is also one of the things I enjoy most about studying.

Woman studyingHow information is presented is a powerfully influential thing. When searching for a degree program I found that many presented information and structured study in a way that seemed very limiting. For me there is inevitably an autodidactic quality to learning.  Our English and Comparative Literature program strikes just the right balance between what information is provided, how it is presented and my responsibility for engaging and effectively expressing what I have learned.

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What Do You Do If You Just Don’t Like A Text or Literary Period?

September 2, 2013

While reviewing our Examiners’ Reports and Study Guides, and settling down to work I could not help comparing my initial impressions of the courses I studied last year with the texts on my desk for 2014. How do we choose the courses we want to study? What happens if the material is significantly different from what we expect it to be? It is a bit worrying, because last year the course I most looked forward to, Augustans and Romantics, turned out to be the most difficult for me and the one where my exam results were the lowest.  Renaissance and Restoration, the course I thought would be the most challenging and uninteresting to read was the most stimulating.  It was also the course with my best exam results.  As my reading begins in earnest I find myself on the horns of a reading dilemma. I feel confident about my reading in three courses, but the fourth, Modern American Literature, just might be the most challenging to study.

What makes authors, genres, or literary periods challenging to study? What do you do if you just do not enjoy an author’s work or the entire literary period?

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Is studying for a degree in English Literature what I expected it to be?

August 23, 2013

Reflecting on the BA English

I might be feeling a little nostalgic because this term, if all goes according to plan, I will complete my BA English degree and with marks sufficient to enter further study! I’ve been thinking about what I thought studying English Literature would be like, and what I expected to learn. When I enrolled in the program I knew very little about English literature and soon found I knew absolutely nothing about English Studies.  For me, as you become immersed in a discipline what you don’t know usually becomes apparent fairly quickly.  It can feel a little uncomfortable and even a bit disorienting while trying to learn. There were days when I wondered how I was going to get on in a degree program where intellectual expression and academic attainment have such a high standard and I often felt inadequate for the task. Yet in the 2013 exams I earned first class marks, and find that the challenges of academic work are entirely a pleasure. I expected earning a degree to be a lot of work, and it is. I did not expect the work to be so much fun and to completely change my way of experiencing the world.

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Greetings to all students studying English Literature around the world

June 4, 2010

Ever wondered what life would be like if you did not have your texts, and novels and e-seminars to ponder?

Why do people study English Literature anyway?

I still have no idea why I chose to do English Literature via distance learning with University of London External System, with academic direction provided by Goldsmiths, but what I do know is that I am glad I did. Irrespective of the torture of essays and looming exams, I have made some wonderful friends and fellow Literature obsessives, who not only keep me sane and inspired, but they keep me going on my quest to win in Literature.

I will be sharing my experiences and the highs and lows of being a Literature student, as well as discussing the ‘fear & loathing’ of getting all those wonderful books read and digested, and hopefully understood.

May the force be with you – especially with what ever book or text you now possess – or maybe it is possessing you?

Watch this space – Rox will stay in the loop, always up and ready to peruse all comments…bye for now…


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