A misty morning near Claycroft, Warwick campus. (Photo mine).
I'm sure that had he lived in the 21st century Daniel Defoe, editor of The Review and a compulsive storyteller, would have blogged. Robinson Crusoe's equivalent to the current project is, of course, the journal which forms the foundation of the novel, which is not only constructed retrospectively by the older Crusoe of the narrative present but which takes great liberties in sweeping over long periods of time in a few sentences where the action involved was somewhat repetitive. Therefore, allow me to gloss my first term at Warwick and also excuse myself for not having added to this blog since October by appropriating Crusoe's journal:
"From the 21st of Octoberto the 17th of December. - All these days entirely spent in many several voyages to get all I could out of the library, which I brought home, every evening, upon my bicycle. Much rain also in these days, though with some intervals of fair weather; but, it seems, this was the rainy season" (adapted from Robinson Crusoe, p53).
That pretty much sums up a very busy but productive term in which I completed my first module, a draft chapter for my dissertation, began a PhD proposal, got involved in the student media, and made some fantastic friends. Oh, and I got wet cycling to and from campus, a lot.
Given my experience of being involved in a ridiculous number of extra-curricular things as an undergraduate and still doing well in my studies, the biggest shock to my system has been how postgraduate life has taken over and left me very little time for all that stuff. I've done minimal work for the student radio and paper, which I enjoyed but regretfully won't be able to continue. That said, I've done more things such as attending reading groups, guest lectures and dinners with academic staff and peers which I've never really done before; after initially blaming my lack of undergrad-like activity on some kind of post-graduation hangover, I've decided that my extra-curricular life is benefiting from becoming more 'academic' - a good thing, given that it's my chosen career path. It's certainly something I'm going to continue now I've come to terms with it, and next term I hope to be organising a trip to the Narrative 2013 conference in Manchester as well as being involved with the Warwick English Postgraduate Symposium.
The other week a good friend of mine graduated with her MA, and that coupled with New Year has shocked me into the realisation that this time next year I'll have graduated, or be about to, with my MA. 2013 is going to be an important and tough year, not least because of my course workload, but with the added pressure of PhD applications and searching for funding. Like many people in my position, I'm taking a year out between MA and PhD work, mostly because I don't yet have a solid enough idea of my proposal, but also because I think I need it. That does, however, mean I have to find something to occupy - and pay - me for the year in between. Ideally this will be some form of internship or research assistantship in an academic environment or related industries such as publishing, so the search is well and truly on for that.
2012 was the year I got my BA, won a scholarship and started my MA. 2013 will be the year I get my MA, find something I love to spend a year on, apply for a PhD, as well as fun stuff like organising a trip to America with a friend. I can't bloody wait, and to borrow the last few lines of Robinson Crusoe:
"all these things, with some very surprising incidents in some new adventures of my own [...] I my perhaps give a farther account of hereafter" (p235).