Week in the Life: English Literature and History

Miriam, studying English Literature and History, takes us through her Week 4

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Photograph by Joanne Skelton

Hello, my name is Miriam Ann Rhodes-Leader and I am a second-year English Literature and History student at Lancaster University. I live off campus in a beautiful house with three friends and I am part of Bowland College. I am a passionate horse rider and own my own horse called Frankie.

Monday, 30 October

After a hectic weekend of visiting family, I got up at 11am on Monday after a lot of persistence. I’m not one for eating breakfast – not very healthy, I know – but since it was lunchtime, I had a tomato, spinach and feta salad. I had a History lecture from 2pm until 5pm so I travelled to the University on the bus. Despite its length, the lecture was very interesting as we learnt about John F. Kennedy’s views and strategies surrounding the Vietnam war and ultimately his mistakes. I was struggling to concentrate during the lecture due to recovering from illness, but I learnt that Kennedy was highly critical of the French’s involvement in Vietnam which I hadn’t known before. However, after Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963, historians have a limited knowledge as to what Kennedy had planned for the United States’ involvement with Vietnam in the long term. Exhausted, I got home, ate dinner and got to bed relatively early at 10pm.

Tuesday, 31 October

On Tuesday, I was up at 9am and scoffed some cheese on toast for breakfast before heading to the University for an 11am lecture about social history. After that, I met up with Sarah – my housemate and fellow Literature student – for a coffee before a Victorian literature lecture at 1pm, where we met our friend, Rhiannon. This lecture was about H. G. Wells’ novel The Island of Doctor Moreau and the development of the science fiction genre. This lecture really brightened my mood as it was a welcome change from the last work, Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. I then spent two hours in the library working on an essay before heading to a literature theory lecture with Sarah and Rhiannon at 4pm. I then headed home and ate dinner: pasta carbonara for me. Since it was Halloween night, Sarah and I headed out to town and after a “quiet evening” turned out to be anything but, we got to bed at around 2am.

Wednesday, 1 November

On Wednesday, I had a Victorian literature seminar at 10am. We analysed some passages from H. G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau and spoke about different critical views and theories that could be used to interpret the book. After that, I joined my friends in the Lancaster University Equestrian Club (LUEC) to have our weekly lesson at Eccleston Equestrian Centre for our team lesson. We are fast approaching our first competition on the 13th December so getting in as much training as possible is essential. I got home at around 4.30pm, ate a delicious chicken curry with rice and had a quiet evening preparing work for next week.

Thursday, 2 November

On Thursday, my theory lecture was cancelled so I spent the morning working and headed to the University for my Vietnam War seminar. We spoke about the information we had learnt during Monday’s lecture and in groups critically discussed the readings that we had been given. It was a good discussion as I find hearing everyone’s viewpoints useful as it makes me see some historical events and documents differently. I then went to the gym to do my weight training and got home at around 6.30pm to eat spinach and mushroom pasta. I got to bed at around 10.30pm as I was watched The Big Bang Theory with my housemates.

Friday, 3 November

On Friday, I only had one History lecture at 5pm so my friend Sarah and I went for Pizza Hut for the lunchtime buffet as there was a student discount: £5 for an all-you-can-eat buffet! Unfortunately, we did have to put up with the company of screaming toddlers and babies, but for pizza I was willing to sacrifice my sanity! I then went to my lecture and learnt about oral histories. I feel that the lecture could have been a little more inspiring on a Friday evening as I could see people drifting off throughout the lecture. Nevertheless, I survived and went home for drinks with Sarah. We came home after a pint at our local pub, The Water Witch, and had potato and leek soup in the evening. I got to bed at around 12.30am after listening to music and working.

Saturday, 4 November

On Saturday, myself, Sarah and a group of friends attended a publishing course that was being held at the University. It was an interesting course, but it went on for an hour and a half longer than it was meant to and almost made us late for the firework display at Williamson Park. However, the fireworks were stunning and well worth the aggravation of almost being late.

Sunday, 5 November

On Sunday, I went out to do a little bit of Christmas shopping with Sarah and witnessed two young boys setting off a firework outside Costa. The noise from it was immense and resulted in the police coming to the scene. Not exactly what we were planning on a quiet Sunday afternoon. Despite this, Sarah and I still had a laugh and enjoyed our lazy Sunday thoroughly. We got home from town at 4.30pm and I spent the evening editing this article before submission.