All entries for Thursday 18 October 2012

October 18, 2012

Come on then Warwick, what have you got?

"I shall take it from its beginning, and continue it in its order."

- Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe.

Having just begun my postgraduate career with an English Literature MA here at Warwick, and having wanted to write a regularly-updated blog for a while now, I've decided to combine the two in this project, which attempts to document my time here. Admittedly, this is largely for my own purposes; I can't be alone in finding that writing about my experiences helps me to get a better perspective on them. Certainly I find this almost cathartic effect is nearly always present when I'm reading Defoe - Robinson Crusoe, after all, does take the form of a journal - which is why that particular author's voice frames this blog and inspires its title.

Throughout this blog, to ventriloquise Defoe once more, I'll be "telling [you] a story; and if this won't do, I'll tell [you] another." (This particular quote is a response to one of Defoe's (many) critics in The Review). How entertaining or interesting this will be, I can't say - but I hope I can give an insight into PG life which at least one person wants to read. Hell, perhaps a prospective MA student might see this and it'll inform their plans for applying.

I also hope I can use this blog to develop at least a trace of a political consciousness and expression; it's been on my mind for some time now that although I've spent half my time in the last few years reporting on issues affecting students (which I'll continue to do), the objectivity demanded by a newspaper's news pages has kept me from forming and expressing my own opinions. Perhaps trying to force oneself to think and believe things for the sake of it is somewhat futile, but on the other hand surely as a research council-funded postgraduate and aspiring academic working in the humanities I have a duty to think about the politics of my situation? Watch this space, he says...

***

My undergraduate degree, in English Literature, is from Lancaster University - where I had three fantastic years. I was an active member of my department, college (Lancaster is collegiate) and the student media, and it's from this background that I come to Warwick. In the short time I've been here I've set about building a similar experience (I can't ever be idle, and will always take on extra commitments even when I probably shouldn't). So I've just completed my first article for the Boar, to be published online soon, and have thrown myself into the News team of Radio Warwick. I've also put myself forward to represent my coursemates on the department's Student-Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC) this year - but I don't know what'll come of that yet.

Hopefully I can lead - and document here - a life at Warwick of which I can be as proud as I am of my time at Lancaster. To be honest, that's going to take some doing, and to me Warwick has a hell of a lot to live up to. Three weeks in, it's doing just fine.

For reasons largely egotistical, here are some examples of things I've been involved with as a student of which I'm especially proud.

  • I am currently the most prolific (in sheer number of articles published in print and online) contributor to Lancaster University Students' Union's newspaper, SCAN - of which I was the Assistant Editor in 2011/12. I worked predominately as a news reporter, and reported extensively on issues such as the University and Colleges Union (UCU)'s ongoing dispute with employers over pensions and an extremely contentious and now-scrapped collaboration between Lancaster and Liverpool Universities. My collected journalism for SCAN is available here.
  • For two years I played bass guitar for a popular student rock band, Innamorata. During a hectic and often stressful undergraduate career, the band was a great release and probably the most fun thing I did in all my time at Lancaster. We had loads of opportunities to play all over Lancaster, including reaching the final of a battle of the bands competition, recording a 'live-lounge'-style session for the student TV station, playing live on radio and even playing to hundreds of people on a huge stage at Campus Festival 2012.
  • In my final term at Lancaster I established Flash, an undergraduate journal for creative and critical writing by undergraduates in the Department of English and Creative Writing. This started as something of a pipe dream, but it developed over summer and is now in the hands of an extremely capable team of undergraduates with tonnes of exciting ideas. This is possibly the venture of which I'm most proud from my time at Lancaster. Oh, and check out my article on possibility and the apocalypse in Douglas Adams and Cormac McCarthy.

***

So there you are, that's the background I'm coming to Warwick from. Here's hoping this year is as exciting as the last three.

@jonniec409


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