Thursday, January 30, 2014

Academic Love

This is going to be a post that I might rethink later on in the term when the work is starting to get to me, so I'm going to post it now. 

The past two weeks, while crazy, have been amazing! I am a person who doesn't particularly like writing essays, making this whole SCIO program a challenge for me since we write one or two essays a week. However, I have realized that I love researching. Yes, at times it isn't very fun, but other times it is. When I am in a rush and only looking for what I need, researching is stressful, but when I have time and I can relax a little, I love it.

Tonight, I was reading The Cambridge Companion to Frances Burney as part of my research on Evelina (a great novel). The chapter on Burney's family was very interesting to me and I was glad I read it. Even though it may not directly relate to my essay on her novel, it does help me know a little more about her personal life and how it affected the novels she wrote.

My previous three essays on John Keats, Andrew Marvell, and William Blake have also taught me more about the individual poets and the time they lived in. While I never used to think that reading nonfiction was very entertaining, my hope is to read more of it when I return home after the program. I love learning about the author's lives and the reasoning behind their works. 

I know that later on in the term I will look back and think, "Why would I have ever seen this as fun?" I'm hoping then that I can look back and regain some of the joy I feel at this moment. I am truly going to miss academic work after graduation in May. As a memento, here's some pictures of my studying so far this term.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A List of Firsts

Even though it's only half way through the week, this week has already been filled with a lot of things going on for me and a lot of firsts happening for my term.

First lecture = done.
First essay = done.
First tutorial = done.
First meal cooked = done.
First trip set = done.

So far, I have attended two lectures (I attempted another, but it was cancelled). I've gone to Shakespeare on the Edge and the Materiality of Texts. They were both really good, and an awesome thing about them, we clapped at the end. I want to do that for every class!

My first essay was for my primary tutorial, English Literature 1740-1832. For this essay, I was writing on John Keats' six odes and their use of the senses. As I am a procrastinator, this was my desk the night before it was due. 

As a side note, I did get to use some pretty cool old books!

My first tutorial was good. My tutor started it by asking if I wanted coffee. It's going to be a great term! We discussed Keats for about an hour and discussed the rest of the term.

I also cooked my first meal for my food group this week. I made a four cheese pasta with ham and peas in it, and added rolls and grapes as the side dishes. Luckily, I have a bunch left over, so I get to eat it all week! Here's the final dish:

Here's my friend Rachel posing with the table after she set it and I provided the food... (Not sure why she's making that face...I really hope she reads this). :)

I finally figured out my schedule for the semester, so I got to fill out my planner, which is something that I love doing.

Part of the term that I get is mid-term break. And, a great opportunity, I get to go to Wales for the break!!! I'm very excited and I just found out about it, so it's still very exciting to me. I originally didn't make it on the list of those who could go, but someone dropped out, so now I can go! I'm also going to try and plan some weekend trips, hopefully one of which will be to Paris if I get lucky. 

My week has already been full of firsts and it's not even over yet! I hope you enjoy hearing about my term and I hope I'm doing a good job keeping you all informed. I appreciate you taking the time reading my blog!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Orientation Week

I'm sorry now for the amount of words in this post compared to pictures. This past week was orientation week for me, so a lot of information was thrown at all of us. We learned all about the libraries (yay!), food groups, cycling, etc. We also had our first two (kind of) English Seminars (they were mainly informational sessions). Along with all the information, we received our first essay assignments, two of which I have due this week. The rest of my week was spent exploring Oxford, shopping, and sitting around being lazy. :) (I know you're proud Mom!)

One important thing that we figured out this week was food groups. In Wycliffe Hall, we have two food groups (7 people each). My food group started out with eight, but sadly, one of the girls had to go home due to an injury. My group now consists of six girls and our Junior Dean. I don't know if he feels outnumbered by the number of females. The way the food group works is that every Sunday-Thursday, one of us cooks for everyone, rather than just cooking for ourselves. This helps both with cost and also gives us time to socialize. I'm up for cooking in two days, so I'm trying to figure out what to make. So far, we've had a Swedish dish, taco soup, spaghetti with chicken, and french bread pizza. All the food has been amazing so far!

I'm sorry that it's such a short post, but I'm blanking on what to write about. Hopefully I'll write again later this week about my first essays that I have due. But, for now, I have to actually go and work on them!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Oxford Architecture

Went on a tour of Oxford today with SCIO. Here's the beautiful sights I get to see everyday:

A typical post office box.

One of the Colleges... I can't remember which...

A museum right around the corner from my Hall.

An example of Victorian housing that looked Gothic.

The Eagle and Child where the Inklings hung out.

Typical telephone booth shot. I'll get one later with me in it.

A hotel where some movies were filmed.

The martyrs memorial. 

St. Mary Magdalen's church.

Standing on the spot where the martyrs were burned.

A slanted house on the main street.

One of the oldest parts of Oxford, a tower.

Christ Church College.

The Radcliffe Camera, where I'll get to study!

The University Church of St. Mary the Virgin (where I went on Sunday).

The Bridge of Sighs (based off on in Vienna).

Where Oxford degree ceremonies are held.

Sorry for the tons of pictures, I just want to share all the amazing architecture and beauty of Oxford with everyone! I hope you enjoy it! While the day today was nice, it downpoured tonight and I got soaked. The rain has finally come! And just when I was thinking that I could get away with a non-British experience of sunshine daily!