The above vloggerong (not a technical term) is a deep cut I dug out from first year which never saw the light of day, but which still checks out in terms of what I’m saying in it. And the content’s not dated! Pressure as a concept is timeless!
Well, folks, I’m back again. Good ol’ Tate, the wizened, the ancient. You’ve got a year-long backlog of content (Inside Word 2017) with which to get to know me, if you’re so inclined, so I won’t take up time with that here – instead, let’s talk what’s changed since then.
I spent last year in Dublin at Trinity College on a 360 International Exchange, and I blogged about the first half of it for their platform. It’s one of those experiences that I don’t think you can quite fully process until you’re well past it and looking back, and I’ve had that time now, and I really appreciate having gone. I was fortunate in that the university I ended up at perfectly catered to my degree and to my majors – it also helped me to transition from a European Studies major (doubled with English) to a Classical Studies & Ancient History one (doubled, once again, with English, because we luv 2 read). Dublin’s a great city for literary history, and I just spent the whole time I was there soaking up old and new history like a sponge.
But, oh! Yes! The majors have changed. And the degree, really. No more Law! (Apologies to those who might’ve surged back in for that juicy Part 2+ content.) Changes to the Part 1 requirements essentially meant my life path was either “go overseas” or “stay and do Law”, and the undisclosed – now disclosed – third option would’ve majorly thrown out my conjoint, and therefore my scholarships, so after some back and forth and academic emailing I decided I’d rather go to Dublin, and that I’d convince people I was smart in some other way than by waving an LLB in their faces. (Or I could just stop caring what other people think? It is of no consequence? We will all be dead soon enough?)
Fortunately, the scheduling of classes at Trinity was such that I could manageably take five papers a semester, and transfer a 75 point course-load back home to the University of Auckland – which, in less exhausting language, means I knocked out 150 points last year. That, plus two Summer School papers upon my return (which I’ll also write a blog about), means I have managed to cut a semester out of my degree! If all goes to plan, I’ll be starting my BA (Hons) in only a few short months. I tell ya, lads (or whichever camaraderie-engendering term you prefer), I’m thrilled. Loving that for me. I also got to go on a majorly brilliant Mediterranean holiday, and spent the rest of the summer in the UK, and worked on an archaeological dig, and got a bunch of prose and poems published (including a lil extended chapbook? #cheekypromo?), and finished a manuscript for a novel. So, like, productive times.
All of the above means I am walking into this semester, and this time back at university, with open arms. I’m noticing things I would have previously taken for granted, and things I enjoyed about Trinity that are actually true of UoA, too. The class sizes, for example. This could be by virtue of my departments shrinking – and it’s at this moment I mourn so many of the classes I looked forward to when I was a prospective student, which I never took as they weren’t on offer – but it’s nice to be able to see familiar faces and form some kind of cohort as ‘English Students’ and ‘Classical Studies & Ancient History Students’ (admittedly, the second one’s still quite a broad swathe). And even if there are classes I’ve missed out on, I still really enjoy the ones I’ve chosen to take. I had to deal with a lot of timetable clashes – and one of them didn’t quite get ironed out – but I’m very glad to be doing the learning I’m doing. It’s diverse yet coherent, and common points emerge which inform each class with the perspectives of the others. I’m glad of that.
I guess it all rolls back into the video at the start of this post: not forcing yourself to move a certain way, and taking opportunities to explore with the confidence it’ll all work out in the end. (Lily James’s rendition of “I Wonder” from 2018 smash hit Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again just started playing, which feels like someone orchestrated this moment.) That’s how I’m trying to approach this semester, and this year, and it’s also how I try to approach my life. Side note: I’m doing all kinds of extra stuff at the moment which is also enriching, as the uni experience is so much wider than academia! Auckland truly is a city of opportunity if you’re willing to look! So is everywhere, I guess. But hey. Gotta keep a focus.
Thus begins, perhaps haphazardly, another chapter with the Inside Word. If you’ve got any questions about anything I’ve discussed, or anything you’d like me to discuss further, or even just want to say hi, pop a comment in the box below and let’s get a convo going!