Sunday, March 30, 2014

Rounding It Up!

My time in Oxford is coming to a close. It's sad.

As I come to the end of term, my schedule changes. After mid-term break, my program's classes have changed. We went from our individual tutorials to a group environment. We have classes in the morning watching Simon Schama's History of Britain. We learn about Britain's history, have a coffee break, hear a lecture about Britain's history, and then get a free lunch. 

We also do field trips for these classes. So far, we have gone to these places:


Old Sarum

Salisbury Cathedral

Hampton Court Palace.

We also have two more field trips scheduled, but I don't know where we are going (off the top of my head). 

Other than the British Landscape class, I also am attending an English Seminar once a week, where we are looking at accounts of Christian Autobiography. For this seminar, each individual also has an essay due at the end of term. I am doing mine on the reworkings of Little Red Riding Hood and how society has affected these.

I have two essays left in 17 days, and then I am done!

Weather in Oxford

Weather in Oxford. It's unpredictable. Most of the time it is raining, but we also get random sunny days.

At the beginning of term, I would describe the weather thus: Rain, Wet, and Wind. It was always either rainy or windy. If, by rare chance, it was sunny, everything would still be wet (puddles). I had gotten used to the rain and wind. My hair never looked normal.

However, now that spring has arrived, the weather is being a little less wet. The sun has come out a few days, even giving us warm weather! The past three days have been excellent, except for a random thunderstorm on Friday. 

The weather in Oxford is unpredictable. Well, mostly it rains, but then they'll be a perfect day. 

It's interesting being here. I look out in the morning and decide if it's a window open kind of day. Although this rarely happens, the times that it does are amazing! 

(And all I can say is: At least I never had to deal with the four feet of snow back home!)

University Parks

The University Parks in Oxford are gorgeous! I walk through them every time I go to the English Faculty Library, as it is a much better walk than walking along the road. Here's just a few of the pictures I've taken! I hope my pictures do justice to the beauty.

I'm going to be sad leaving these sights soon, but at least I had the chance to experience it!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Term = Success!

Oxford's term is finally over. 8 weeks of speed-reading, hundreds of secondary sources, and 12 essays later, I can say that term was a success. While I was suffering through it, it seemed grueling and almost like torture at times, but looking back, I see the joy in it. 

For my primary tutorial, English Literature 1740-1832, I read 2 poets and 6 novelists. Each week, I read the primary source, found secondary sources, read those, and then proceeded to write a 2000 word essay on the text. Here's my list of things I studied:

Week 1 - John Keats Poetry (mainly his odes)
Week 2 - William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience and The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Week 3 - Frances Burney's Evelina
Week 4 - Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto
Week 5 - Oliver Goldsmith's The Vicar of Wakefield
Week 6 - Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility
Week 7 - Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
Week 8 - Ann Radcliffe's The Romance of the Forest

Each week, my tutor asked me what I thought of the reading. And each week, I always responded with, "I loved it! I never thought I'd enjoy some of these books that much!" I never thought I would like Gothic novels, thinking that they would terrify me, but in the end, I decided that I love them and am looking forward to reading more when I have the time (haha, whenever that is). 

For my primary tutorial, I wrote a total of 57 pages, or 17, 322 words. It was a long haul, but now that it's over, I'm glad I did it!

My secondary tutorial, English Literature 1642-1740, was a little less enjoyable, but fun nonetheless. I studied four authors:

Week 1 - Andrew Marvell's poetry
Week 2 - Aphra Behn's writing and the Earl of Rochester's poetry
Week 3 - Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and Moll Flanders
Week 4 - John Milton's Paradise Lost

Each of these essays was to be 2500 words, which I was often short on, but still. This time period was not as fascinating to me, but I did learn a lot about the history of England during my tutorials! My tutor was very helpful in explaining the English Civil War, which affected many of the authors I studied. 

For my secondary tutorial, I wrote a total of 29 pages and 8,917 words.

For both my tutorials together, I wrote 86 pages, equaling 26, 239 words. I wrote a lot this term!

Along with my two tutorials, I also attended 32 lectures.

4 lectures = Shakespeare at the Edge
3 lectures = The Materiality of Texts
4 lectures = Aphra Behn in Context
4 lectures = High & Low Culture
6 lectures = Medieval Drama
6 lectures = Medieval Romance
1 lecture = Bibliography in Bits
4 lectures = How did we used to read?

Most of these lectures were fun, others were slightly boring, but they were all interesting and informative.

Now that term is over, most students left. My whole program is still here, and we have a class with our program. I have three essays left to write, so it's time to carry on!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Do What You Love, Love What You Do

Okay, so technically this has nothing to do with my time in England, but it can be adapted. This is a post I wrote for my college's Honors' Blog last October. Looking back at it, I realized that the message is still important to me and that I am doing something that I love here at Oxford! Also, for any Trinity students (or professors), come listen to my presentation on my Honors' Work at OPUS!

“Honors’ Work in the Major.”

When I first heard these words, I thought, “What am I going to do my project on?” My mind was blank.
After thinking on it for a while, precisely all spring semester long, I finally chose a topic- Pride and Prejudice. For my project, I will be writing a paper on the adaptations of the novel, looking into how the culture at the time of development creates the relationship between Elizabeth and Darcy.

Starting off on my research this semester, I realized this: If you ever have the opportunity to choose your topic idea, make sure it is something that you love. Not just like, or can tolerate, but love. No one wants to work on a project that becomes boring to them after a month or two of research. This is my advice to you: choose wisely.

In my experience, I put off starting my research for a while. I was “too busy” or “had all the time in the world.” However, I realized this was not true. I was quickly falling behind; I needed to crack the whip. I met with my adviser, setting a strict schedule for me to catch up on my research. Now, as I am set in the schedule, I’ve realized that I didn’t need a schedule in the first place. I just needed to start.

Because I am researching a topic I love (Pride and Prejudice is my favorite novel/movie in the whole world!), the research goes quickly. Time disappears, the pages fly by, I want to go on forever. I don’t feel the need for a schedule anymore; I want to work ahead, researching more and more. The topic fascinates me and my work feels more like pleasure reading rather than homework. Due to the fact that I love my topic, it is no longer work to me.

As you go throughout your courses, Honors’ Work or gen-ed, remember this: Choose a topic you love. If it is a topic you enjoy, procrastination will be useless, only putting off what brings you delight. I, sadly, learned this the hard way. However, it has taught me a lesson: I will never again choose a topic that is “just tolerable” to me. I will delight in my work, making it as enjoyable as I can through choosing a subject I love.

Continue on. Don’t procrastinate. Make the most of college. Keep up the hard work. Most importantly, do what you love. In college, in work, in life.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Bathing in the Beauty of Bath

I'm finally posting this, even though it happened a while ago!

A few weeks ago, I headed to the city of Bath for a day trip with my friends Alexandra and Richie. 

This is them! (Posing with the typical English phone booth-turned ATM, of course!)

Our day began with a visit to the Roman Baths. We also walked through the Pump Room, but did not get a chance to have tea there.

Here's a layout of how the Baths would have looked to the Romans.

My first photo outside of the windows. This is the Great Bath, the one that most people typically see on photos.

And when you turn around, you get a glimpse of Bath Abbey!

Here's a picture of a soldier with the Abbey in the background. 

Once you get past the Great Bath, you get to go into a Museum type of thing, where they have artifacts from Roman times. These were coins that had been thrown into the Baths as an offering.

People would even throw in things such as this, to offer to the gods.

I actually remembered to get a picture of myself in front of the Great Bath. I'm sorry about my hair- it was windy that day!

The Great Bath at the same level.

Me posing with the Roman Soldier that was wandering around. I didn't know what to do, so I just copied him. When I asked if I could get a picture with him, he said, "Sure! I love portraits." He's good at keeping in character.

Just an awesome reflection on the Bath waters.

This was one of the indoor pools. I believe this one was filled with cold water.

We even got to taste the waters! And it was disgusting!

Next, we went to Bath Abbey. We only had a few minutes in there, as a service was starting soon. But we got as many pictures as we could!

The inside of the Abbey.

They had a mirror sitting there, so that you could look at the ceiling without craning your neck. It was helpful!

After lunch, we stopped at the Jane Austen Centre. The perfect place for someone in love with her novels!

A creepy-looking Jane greeted us as we walked in.

After a museum with information about Jane's life, especially in Bath, they had a dress up area. It was awesome! Here's Alexandra and I posing with a Regency gentleman.

And here's Richie acting out the part of a Regency gentleman. It took a lot of convincing to get him to do this!

If any of you have seen the film Persuasion, this is the actual dress worn in the film.

We got a picture with the doorman on our way out.

Our next stop was the Fashion Museum.

The current special display was the Georgian time period. Here's a couple dresses from then.

And this is a modern Georgian dress. The other modern outfits were way stranger.

Next they had a dress up area, but I didn't get any pictures. Here's a few of my favorite dresses from the rest of the Museum.

I believe they said these dresses were designed for Princess Diana. But I could be wrong.

The mannequins must all have sore backs from the angle they are leaning.

This is the "Dress of the Year." I don't know how it is even considered a dress!

We stopped outside the Royal Cresent to take a few pictures after the Fashion Museum. Sadly, we didn't get a chance to go inside.

We stopped in a bookstore along our walk. It was huge! I sneakily snapped a few shots inside.

We also stopped inside a random art Gallery. The lady's work was amazing!

Finally, we stopped at Pulteney Bridge. For those of you who have seen Les Miserables, this is the bridge where they filmed Javert's suicide (same water, the bridge was CGI'd in).

The sunset was one of the best I've ever seen. This is Bath Abbey again in the foreground.

We stopped at Sally Lunn's to pick up a bun for Alexandra.

Finally, we ended our day by eating at Giraffe. It was delicious! The whole day was really fun and I got to see a lot of beautiful sights (and dress up!). I hope you enjoyed reading and got a glimpse of the beauty I get to see while in England!