The first term of university combines a peculiar combination of timescales. On the one hand, the time seems to have sailed by – by the end of first term you’ve made solid friendships, you know your way around Bristol and time accelerates at a pace faster than you’ve ever experienced. Yet, on the other, it feels as though we have been here forever. With a brain crammed full of new information more interesting than anything preciously studied, A-levels appear a distant memory left on the shore. Wave goodbye to the structured days of school life, and greet with open arms the beauty of structuring your own time. Naturally, some days are harder to keep motivated than others, but the satisfaction of completing self-motivated work surpasses any work achieved by teachers’ constant supervision.
On the whole, January exams didn’t go too horrendously (most students seemed pleasantly surprised by their marks). This might be due to the fact that a Humanities degree allows you to really focus on your own interests, meaning we actually want to do the work and will eagerly put in the time – even if it does eat into the Christmas holidays!
I am currently loving the second term courses; I am taking Introduction to Early-Modern Art and a more independent/seminar based course called ‘The Artist’ in which we are expected to write a 4,000 word ‘dissertation’ using our own research. Scary… But also exciting.
Beyond my academic studies, after exploring more of what Bristol has to offer, I decided it would be ridiculous to let opportunities go begging this year. I have recently begun volunteering at Arnolfini, an exciting contemporary art gallery situated by the picturesque Harbourside. I cannot stress enough the importance of trying as many new things as possible – even if you think it’s not your thing, you may just surprise yourself! Every other year the University also puts on the ‘Inside Arts’ festival in which students can get involved with volunteering as well as creating their own instillations. This year, for the festival, a friend and I helped at an ‘immersive cinema’ event, curated by an MPhil student at the University. It was so great getting to know more about her studies and how she presented her work to the public.