Whilst popular discourse is full of stereotypes about 'students' and student life, it can be quite difficult to imagine what you’d actually do all day long, seven days a week before you arrive on campus and experience it all for yourself. The profile below will give you a little bit of a sneak preview to help you in your decision-making.
I usually get up around 8.30am to get ready for my 10 o’clock seminar, which I prepared for the night before. Then later I will have a few lectures after lunch, but not before my course mates and I have met in a nearby café for a fry up and a chat, to ready us for the work day!
The seminar (for the module Understanding Social Change) lasts an hour and is a chance for us to discuss with our course mates what we think of a piece of text, usually from a journal or a book, which we have been assigned to read. It is a good chance to hear people’s ideas, share your own and also get to terms with bits you don’t understand! Although there is a lot of coursework, we have a lot of support from lecturers, and these seminars, so it feels manageable.
The café is only round the corner from the seminar building, and the Robinson Library. We stay an hour and then head over the library for an hour before lectures, to work on finishing our essays which are in for this week or do some reading. The library is a fantastic resource for finding information for almost every subject you can think of. It also has a computer cluster which is open till late, and this is where I do a lot of my work.
Lectures last about 3 hours because I have one one hour lecture for Understanding Social Change and another two hour lecture for a module on Emotions. I chose to study Sociology partly because of its employability prospects, as it provides you with a wide range of skills to go into many different fields including social services, journalism and teaching. This is better for me, as someone who is still unsure of what career path I want to take! I also chose this course as it combines two of my favourite subjects; Sociology, which looks at the way societies work, and Anthropology, the idea of examining different cultures. This course was ideal for me because it draws influences from all sorts of other disciplines such as psychology, philosophy and politics in its theories to create different ways of viewing the world we live in. We may be looking at racism and inequality one day, and the sociology of happiness the next! Anthropology also provides exciting opportunities for conducting fieldwork overseas.
After lectures I head back to my house where I live with my friends I met in halls last year. Living together out of halls is an amazing part of the University experience, as you learn independence and most importantly have fun! After coming home after a long day at university it is lovely to spend time with your mates. This is something that I will especially miss after graduation.
Some weeks I drag myself to the Body conditioning class at the Dance society which is held in the university Gym, it is a challenging, but rewarding workout and I leave feeling energized! Even without a gym membership you can access exercise or dance classes and they are great ways to keep fit and socialize.
I come back before we all decide to go out to The Gate, to go and watch a film at the cinema. The great thing about Newcastle is that there is always something to do around the city centre!
I get up later after a lie in, as it is my day off. Sociology is generally not a 9 to 5 course, as there is more time allocated for independent study, such as reading for lectures, doing work for seminars and doing assignments. This is a big change, as you are more responsible for planning your own learning. So I often use some of the free time during weekdays as an opportunity to catch up on any work, so that I have more time to socialise at the weekend!
At lunchtime I agree to meet a friend at the Students’ Union to grab a Starbucks coffee and a Panini from café. The food here is tasty and great value for money, due to it being student prices. The newly refurbished Union building is impressive, and it is also a great place to socialize and grab a drink, as well as find out about events that will be happening and opportunities for volunteering.
After lunch I will walk to the Robinson Library and go to the computer clusters. Logging into Blackboard, our virtual learning environment, shows me what work I am required to do that week. Plus I can access the online library catalogue for journals and books, which is very useful for assignments. I do a few hours more work on an essay, before I go back home and meet the girls to plan our evening, as Wednesday is always a great night to go out.
This seems to be the busiest night for the societies to go out, and it is always a good one! Mens bar at the Students’ Union is a great place to socialise. You will usually find that many of the people in there are in costumes as most of the societies have dress up themes each week. So it is a fairly standard occurrence to see people in togas, wigs and various other costumes. As members of the dance society we get an email of what the theme of the social is each week to give us time to get the outfits together. Tonight is a more simple theme of ‘Little black dress’ to give fancy dress a day off and we have a joint social with the boys Hockey society!
After the union the societies head to a few bars near The Gate which offer us some good deals and free entry wristbands. Then we end up in a club to dance the rest of the night away, and get a takeaway on the way home.
Luckily I have already prepared all my Uni work for tomorrow and don’t have any early lectures