Sarah’s Week in the Life: English Literature

Sarah Blanchard, studying English Literature, writes about her Week 11

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Photograph by Joanne Skelton

My name is Sarah and I am currently studying English Literature, for which I basically read a ton of books. I am living off campus in a house with three other housemates and I am from Bowland College. I play the guitar in my free time when the reading and studying gets too much.

Monday, 15 January

Today was a really good day. I always wake up at 6am so that I can do yoga, which I started to get interested in during August last year. After yoga, I made my smoothie which usually contains a lot of fruit.

Monday is definitely one of the easier days of the week for me, as I only have one lecture. Even though it is at 9am, I always manage to get there, after a coffee or two. The lecture is for my module on Renaissance to Restoration which is about plays, poetry and novels written from 1580 to 1688.

After my lecture I usually go back home depending on how much work I have to do for the week. Once back, I sit and check social media and emails before lunch. For lunch I made homemade tomato soup, one of my favourite meals, which my mother taught me to make.

Miriam and I decided to go shopping today which was extremely fun. We went to Primark and spent far too much money and then went for coffee at Vincenzo’s, one of our favourite coffee houses in Lancaster. Once back home we sat and watched Friends as it is finally on Netflix which we are extremely happy about. Miriam is now addicted to it.

While we watched Netflix, I did some studying for my seminars tomorrow. For dinner I made a homemade pasta sauce with chicken, avocado and feta cheese. Surprisingly, it turned out well. Afterwards, my housemates and I watched Netflix and then we all went to bed. Today I think I finally learned not to spend so much of my time studying and to make sure I still have some time to myself to relax.

Tuesday, 16 January

Today was a relatively busy day for me. I woke up at 6am and did yoga again (it is my New Year’s resolution) and make a quick smoothie. Then I got ready, made a coffee and left for the bus at 8am.

Before my first 9am seminar, I sat in the library and read my book which is currently American Psycho. My seminar, which is on Renaissance to Restoration, was fairly interesting: we’d had a tutor-change for this seminar so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Luckily, the new tutor was great.

I had an hour free, next, so my friend Rhiannon and I decided to go to the library and do some studying before the next lecture. During this free period, we had a huge debate about how to pronounce the word “fete”, and we still aren’t exactly sure! The next lecture was on Romanticism and after a frantic dash with the lecturer to the correct room we settled down to a lecture on John Keats, a Romantic poet.

Next, we had another hour free and we went back to the library for more studying: the debate on pronouncing “fete” was abandoned. Instead, a group of friends and I decided to compare how boring we found a novel and how many pages we had read for one of our modules. I was the one who had made the most progress, surprisingly enough.

The next lecture was for my Victorian module. It was very engaging, giving a lot of historical context on the novel we are studying this week. Next, was a two-hour break and so my friend and I decided to have lunch, before studying in the Chaplaincy. This didn’t go to plan as after about 20 minutes, Miriam said: “Let’s go get coffee”. So we went to Costa and I bought one of the new coconut vanilla lattes. Delicious! After an hour, our friend Rhiannon joined us in Costa and we gossiped: it was like something out of a reality TV show.

At 4pm we had a lecture on the Theory and Practice of Criticism which was rather interesting: about Sovereignty and the various theories surrounding that topic (it was a lot to take in at 4pm). Then, at 5pm, I had my last seminar of the day for my Victorian Module and we discussed the novel Villette.

Finally, at 6pm we finished and I went to find my friend so that we could go home. Once home, after waiting ages for the buses to come, I made a Jalfrezi curry with pasta because I hate cooking rice. Afterwards, we all relaxed in the living room and watched Ace Ventura: Nature Calls with Jim Carrey. It was very funny.

Wednesday, 17 January

This is one of my favourite days, usually, but this Wednesday didn’t start brilliantly. I usually have a nice lie in to catch up on my sleep. Miriam had other ideas. She’d accidentally missed a competition with her society, through no fault of her own as her alarm didn’t go off. But at 7.30am she decided to come up to my room, wake me up and tell me about it. I was not pleased!

But as I was up, I made my smoothie of oats, banana, almond milk and strawberries and then I decided to go to the market to get some fresh fruit and vegetables. I only spent £4 and got a lot for my money. I then decided to make some more homemade tomato soup and sit in the living room to read some poetry for my Romanticism seminars.

For dinner I made chicken and sweet potato chips. Later in the evening, my friend Sean and I met up at The Water Witch for drinks and a catch-up as we hadn’t seen each other since last term. We had a lot of fun and talked for hours.

Miriam joined us for the last hour or so, as she had also been out for some drinks with people from her society. As we walked back from the pub it started snowing and it was lovely to watch it falling.

Thursday, 18 January

Today I woke up at 7am, went through my usual routine, and then continued to read my book American Psycho, which is brilliant. We had a lecture at 12pm on the Theory and Practice of Criticism, which applied the theory of sovereignty to example films and books and really helped me to understand the theory much more easily.

Then I had a three-hour break, so I went back home and did some cross-stitch. I am currently working on a Celtic knot and a dream-catcher, and they are developing nicely so far. I had some lunch – the tomato soup I’d made on Wednesday – and then came back to campus for my two-hour seminars on Romanticism.

One seminar was on a poet called Percy Shelley and the other was on John Keats. These seminars were really interesting: I learned that these two poets and other Romantic poets felt they were superior to other people and that Shelley believed he could change the world with his poetry.

Once these seminars were over, I came home and watched the TV with one of my housemates. After a few hours we decided to go to bed because we were very tired.

Friday, 19 January

Today was a really fun day. I first had a 9am lecture on Shelley for my Romanticism lecture, about two of his poems and the historical context behind them. Afterwards, I came home and a few hours later Miriam and I decided to walk up to Williamson Park where we took photos and went into the small zoo where there are stunning butterflies and the sweetest looking meerkats.

Then we went for coffee at Vincenzo’s and I had a latte, before walking back home. After a few hours of sitting in front of the TV and studying, we decided to go to The Water Witch for a pint and to meet some friends. We then came back and made a midnight snack of tomato pasta with chicken. Bed was in order after all this because we were shattered. Doing the washing-up was not an option.

Saturday, 20 January

Today was a quiet day. I did my usual routine (smoothie and yoga), then I had a walk into town to do some food-shopping. Once this was done I came back home and decided to do some more cross-stitch (my Celtic Knot is nearly finished) and watched a new series on Netflix called Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. This is a very weird series about changing souls over to different bodies, among other strange occurrences.

I then Skyped my fiancé and we spoke for a couple of hours about various topics and how the week had gone so far. Later, I made some dinner: honey and garlic salmon with parsnips and sweet potatoes. We then watched a small amount of TV downstairs, but then I decided to go upstairs to my room and watch some YouTube.

At the moment, I have been watching a channel called JackFrags who plays PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds: a game I miss playing as I wasn’t allowed to bring my Xbox to university. I fell asleep with the TV on which wasn’t very good, but never mind.

Sunday, 21 January

The rain woke me up today. Luckily, though, it was 10am so I wasn’t too annoyed. I decided to stay in bed for a bit to catch up on some social media and watch more YouTube, before getting ready for the day.

My friend Miriam and I decided to have a mooch in town, and ended up in New Look where I bought a new coat as the one I had was over three-years old and I was tired of sewing up the pockets. I also bought a few new jumpers in the sale and I found a “Naughty and Nice” set of cups which I thought apt for the two of us.

We then had a coffee at Vincenzo’s (I’m seeing a recurring theme here) which was lovely and then we came back home. I then put on chicken for a roast, and watched some Netflix with my housemates. Miriam and I then did our nails, and applied face-masks, as we felt like having a bit of a pamper before the start of another week at university.