Whoa. Whoa. What is going on? No beauty? No reviews? I know, my friend: it’s disorientating. And for those of you who guessed that the colon use indicates a new series – you are correct.
Wait, but Week 1 of what, exactly? Only the the ten and a half weeks I have remaining of my degree – although it’s nine and a half now, as I’m counting from last week. I wanted to call this series 10.5 Weeks, but there are quite a few similarly-named blogs already. But there are only ten and a half weeks left of my entire degree! I know. Scary. I finish on 2nd June (although I don’t have my graduation ceremony until the end of September, almost as an afterthought) and, as my official week-by-week revision plan began last week, I quite wanted to run a blog series in conjunction.
I noticed, when idly scrolling through this very site the other day, that I have very little content on here that’s just me talking about my life, and the things I get up to. Reviews and so on are wonderful, but tell you very little about who I am and what I do. Plus I won’t really be able to write very many until the summer, although I’ll try and get something done about the LA Girl colour correctors, as many of you requested a post over on Instagram. However, I didn’t want to let this blog fall into a dusty hiatus for two months, so I thought this would be a good idea. They’ll be relatively chatty posts with a few pictures from my week, just talking about what I’ve been up to, what I’ve been revising, how I’m feeling, so if that’s the kind of thing that you’re interested in, do subscribe to stay on board!
The week got off to an eventful start, as not only was it Navroz, it was also deadline day for almost all modern linguists. I spent this term (Hilary Term) working on something called a Special Subject (Paper XII, because we still use Roman numerals), and I had chosen Advanced German Translation. I had to hand in a translation of a 3000 word German text chosen by yours truly, a 2500 word commentary on said translation, and a 2500 word analysis of two English translations of Hesse’s Steppenwolf. I’d finished everything on Sunday night but had spotted a few annoying mistakes like a missing footnote and a few typos, so we got up and went to print a few new pages on Monday morning before handing in the big brown envelope, and headed to Bill’s for a celebratory brunch afterwards (as, apparently, did half the modern linguists in my year). I couldn’t quite shake the feeling of having forgotten something or having made some kind of heinous mistake, but I’m pretty proud of my work and I hope it’s marked highly – particularly as I made the risky move of completely changing my commentary the day before handing it in, which is really something only I would be so foolhardy as to do.
I decided to crack straight on with revision the following day, and I spent the week on my first revision topic, that of Empfindsamkeit, which was a style of writing during the German Enlightenment (Sentimentality). I read Die Leiden des jungen Werther and Die Geschichte des Fräuleins von Sternheim, by Goethe and Sophie von La Roche respectively. The first is about a young man who embodies the restless Romantic tortured artist ~aesthetic~ and falls into despair when he becomes caught in a love triangle, while the second is a morality tale of a young noblewoman who falls foul of courtly intrigues and worldly evils, but continues to spread virtue and charity wherever she goes. It was pretty enjoyable revisiting stuff from second year, as I’m a lot better at recognising interesting elements of the text that would be good essay material now.
Revision, however, did not quite distract me from constantly checking my email. I had received a conditional offer to read for an MSt in Modern Languages here at Oxford next year (essentially a taught Masters course) but, as any graduate applicant will know too well, it’s all about the funding. In Year 13, I could more or less relax after receiving my Oxford offer, but now I had to worry about how I would be able to afford the course in the first place, and so was jumpy at any email that could contain even a hint of good news. Wednesday evening was kind of sucky and I was in a bit of a bad mood. I returned home from a Zumba class that I’d been too tired to properly keep up with and had wanted to dive straight into a relaxing bath, but my boyfriend had somehow misplaced the bath plug. Two of supposedly the brightest students in the country and we’d managed to lose a bath plug. Out of habit, I checked my emails and a rather piercing scream immediately sent my boyfriend running. It was the best news I could have received – I had been awarded the Ertegun scholarship, a super-duper-fancy-schmanzy scholarship specially for Humanities students but with precious few places. I had interviewed for it the previous week, but it was a tough grilling and I had no idea whether it was enough. Graduate funding, especially for Masters courses, is notoriously difficult to come by, and receiving something that would fund both tuition and living costs, as well as provide a community of talented scholars and amazing facilities, was completely beyond anything I could have hoped for. The offer conditions I have to fulfil for both my course and the scholarship are quite high – I have to achieve a First Class in my degree – that there’s so much riding on my exams now. Trying not to stress about it too much and focus on my revision, but it’s certainly intimidating!
Thursday was pretty quiet apart from the double date we had with my boyfriend’s friend and his girlfriend from the States, which was enjoyable. On Friday, we decided to take advantage of the pretty weather and take a trip to Headington, which is about twenty minutes away from us on foot. We picked up some things at Waitrose and continued work in the cafe/deli next door. My boyfriend has a big scary deadline tomorrow so it’s been all go at our end! The cafe had tragically small cups and terrifyingly high prices, but played extremely good music, and to my boyfriend’s consternation I ended up having St Lucia’s “Dancing on Glass” on repeat the whole evening and the following day to boot. I had almost got the song out of my head when it came on just as I was writing this! It was enjoyable to get out of the house and take a trip somewhere not in the city centre: I love Oxford, but sometimes I can’t bear the sight of the city centre any longer, and need to see different streets and shops! Headington also has really cool charity shops, which I’d love to explore when exams are over.
The weekend was pretty quiet and uneventful, apart from the MCR Easter event we went to at Magdalen on Sunday evening: I was glad the rain had stopped by then, because it was particularly horrible on Saturday. I didn’t realise the boat race was on at the weekend, but I was glad I didn’t go to see it, because the rain was so strong that I would have regretted it! Anyway, I really enjoy MCR (Middle Common Room, for graduates and fourth-year undergraduates) events, as they’re really relaxed and open, and everyone talks to everyone. (Of course, everyone is also intimidatingly clever, and usually on some impressive scholarship for doing a million awesome things, but everyone is also so down-to-earth that you’d never know.) We did some Easter-themed arts and crafts with a little girl who was there, and ate a LOT of delicious food. Speaking of delicious food, we made a Mughal-style korma on Saturday evening, and it was just what we needed. I love making chicken curries, as we usually have all the ingredients bar the chicken and some fresh coriander.
All in all, a pretty action-packed first week of the ten and a half. I’m really hoping week two will be a lot quieter so I can get even more work done, although considering I have spent wayyy more time on blog things than I was planning to (what do you think of the new theme? Yes? No? Good? Rubbish? Let me know!), this may not quite be that easy…
As always, if you have any questions or comments, do leave them below and I will get back to them ASAP. If you’ve emailed me, I promise I will reply soon!
Until next week! xxx