I have started going to academic talks. I suppose it is never too late to take up skydiving and learn Chinese but these days History is all encompassing. Every second year student must take the ‘rethinking history’ unit, which challenges the mind with complexities which put the basic sentiments expressed in one’s personal statement to shame. Last week my confrontation with post-modern theories on whether the past is real or not naturally lead to nostalgia of simpler times. I looked back on A level past papers which ask the reader ‘which source is most useful to the historian’, only to wish my teachers had imparted the wisdom that they are all as facile and inane as each other. Such illogical and impetuous thoughts are undoubtedly a product of spending my work hours in the computer centre, where day turns to night in the blink of an eye; 65 desktops but no windows. I am actually really enjoying the spectrum and totality of rethinking history and would highly recommend E.H Carr’s ‘What is History’ to any applicant, apply it to your A Levels, extremely useful.
The unit encouraged me to consider the impact of other disciplines on how we study the past, and I attended a brilliant talk from Professor Ronald Hutton hosted by the Anthropology and Archaeology society on Britain’s pagan past. Ronald’s interweaving of anecdotes in a lecture is delightful, and his tale of discovering a book on ‘Lindow Man’ in a Cotham charity shop, leading him to grapple with the British Museum over unproven narratives and Historical plurality was exhilarating. The professor won the day, and one of the Museum’s most popular exhibits now unashamedly proclaims that we don’t have a clue how Ancient Bog Man died. The presence of leading academics is extremely heartening and encourages great intellectual exploration and discussion. That said, stumbling upon the fact that your lecturer has authored a complete chapter pertaining to the essay question you chose two weeks ago is simultaneously motivational and terrifying.
Rethinking not only the past but the future, my career aspirations are as erratic as my 15 year old self’s Call of Duty dictated sleep schedule. A talk from the from the former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe of Nato, Richard Sherrif, inspired me to get involved in the government to help stop the impeding Armageddon. However, on the way home I realised vegetation will be recolonising the globe before I even make it through the application process if the General is right. Later this week I am going to Bristol basecamp’s networking drinks. Basecamp is a University lead initiative which encourages student enterprise, so maybe I’ll be able to afford an Anderson shelter by World War III. Finally a colleague in the SU office said I was “good at puns” when I misspelt ‘you’ll’ as ‘yule’ on a Christmas announcement post, maybe the saying ‘there is no wrong answer’ should be adjusted to ‘even wrong answers are right’. Interesting. this could be relevant to work and the future. I’ll stick it in the next essay and let you know how it goes.