In the library reading for this week’s essay: Culture & Anarchy in Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. Feeling tired today but I’m powering through so I can get ahead & have a bit more free time later this week! Girton library is also an amazing place to study, so beaut ~
18 Sept 16 — messy messy non-desk desk. 2 weeks and I’ll be back in Cambridge after a stupid number of months off for summer. !!! Currently reading I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou and couldn’t recommend it more; I’m underlining and annotating like a possessed Lit student.
Bookmas Series: 4th December 2016
A review by @the-perks-of-being-a-lotus
The Humans- Matt Haig
“It’s not the length of life that matters. It’s the depth. But while burrowing, keep the sun above you.”
This book is centred on an extraterrestrial inhabiting a mathematical genius known as Professor Andrew Martin of Cambridge University. Martin has just unlocked the mysteries of the universe that will guarantee a giant technological leap for mankind. The alien species known as Vonnadorians feel that this overwhelming breakthrough simply cannot be entrusted to such volatile and backwards creatures that inhabit Earth- humans. So the alien is put in his body to erase any chance of this epiphany from being released.
The book really analyses the way in which humans interact from a superior and pretentious perspective. The alien does not understand the reasoning behind emotions nor the necessity to comply to societal norms. From the start of this book to the end it will take you on a strong emotional experience as the alien learns what it means to be a human.
It is the perfect mixture of comedy and romance with an unexpected interjection of science fiction and existential questioning. It explains that sorrow and pain is simply a necessary part of human experience.
For that reason I would recommend this book it is well worth the time and it’ll certainly make you laugh but in saying that it is not a book for the light-hearted.
The boy across the cafe was staring at her intently. She felt his gaze drift from her boots to her ill-fitting jumper, and an involuntary chill rushed down her spine; she was positive it had nothing to do with the biting London breeze. She tried to ignore him, and instead, ended up re-reading the same passage three times.
“Hello,” the boy said from behind her, and in her surprise, she very nearly knocked her Earl Grey onto him. His smile seemed to grow, “I’m Sirius.”
“Hi,” she said back, and her cheeks flushed damnably.
“School work? Over the winter hols?” he asked, nodding towards the stack of books and papers she had splayed in front of her.
“Yeah, Oxford’s got me strapped,” she added, shuffling a few books around. He raised a brow.
“Ah, Oxford girl,” she blushed again, “Marlene Mckinnon, isn’t it?”
Her brows furrowed, “How’d you-“
“Sometimes you just know things, wouldn’t you agree? Smart girl like you would understand.”
“How’d you know my name?” she asked, a bit more demanding, a bit more afraid.
A low chuckle, “It’s on your bag.”
“Not to mention, I’ve seen your face in the papers. Dad’s in Parliament, isn’t he?”
“Yeah,” she admitted, “he is.”
“Heard he’s a Cambridge alum. How’d he take the Oxford decision?”
She gave him a smile, “Not too well. But he’s accepted it for what it is.”
“And that is?”
“That Oxford is simply better.”
“Ah. You sure?”
She wrinkled her brow, “Well, yes. It’s one of the premier schools in the country, the world even.”
“But so is Cambridge. In fact, if I recall, Cambridge has outranked Oxford multiple times.”
She narrowed her eyes, noting the Cambridge blue jumper that peeked out from under his coat. How had she missed it before?
“Cambridge boy, huh?”
He smirked, “Finally figured it out, I see. Knew you would, smart girl like you.”
I have been meaning to do this post for an awfully long time, and have had numerous messages asking me about how I revise, so it is about time I got down to it. I think the main reason why I haven’t done this post until now is because I myself have actually also been figuring out exactly how to revise. Last year, I feel that I didn’t really nail a set revision technique, and although I did fine with my prelims, I didn’t feel like I was prepared at all, and vowed to find a revision technique to make me feel satisfied this year.
I’ve found that using different methods for different papers is currently working for me, so I will try to give you an overview of what I am currently doing. I’m not saying that these methods are going to be 100% successful for myself or for anyone else, but if you are interested in what I am doing right now, then read on.
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I’m currently splitting 3 of my 4 papers into a revision technique with 3 stages: STAGE 1: collating quotes on post-it notes, collating notes from previous lectures, essays and supervisions; defining topics or ‘themes’ to gather them into. STAGE 2: creating a series of colourful mind-maps on these topics, using my quotes on post-it notes to stick on the paper in relevant places/move about the page. On the paper, I will arrange my notes and thoughts into logical trains of thought which flow into a mini ‘argument’ that includes these quotes. I will then do the same kind of mindmaps on past paper questions, creating mini essay plans that include my portable quotes. STAGE 3: PAST PAPER TIMED ESSAYS. There’s no real explanation needed here, only that I will probably first allow myself to look at my texts/notes during a timed essay, before then removing them from my sight/grasp at the final hurdle. I hope these stages make sense to people, and I will try to post pictures on here as I go. As you can see from the top image, I am currently only at Stage 1, but I will move to Stage 2 next week.
In my Medieval Paper, we have to complete translations, so, additional to the above method, I have written out the passages we need to work on for translation (see the image with my two copies of ‘Sir Gawain’). Here, I have found that translating gradually with the help of both the Middle English version & the translated version has helped. I haven’t looked at the translated version yet, and have instead written out the Middle English in black pen, before going over the text, referring to the Middle English glossary, picking out any words I found difficult individually before writing them in light green alongside the Middle English. I will next go over the translated version I own, and come to a conclusive translation in dark green at the bottom of each page.
For my fourth and final paper, Practical Criticism, I have found that the use of flashcards is probably the most helpful for all the critical terms that we need to know (see third image). After creating a set of flashcards and learning the terms, I will go through my past notes on different critical/theoretical schools of thought, creating more colourful mindmaps on each set topic. And then again, its PAST PAPER time.
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That’s it! I hope it makes sense. I am awful at knowing how to revise, possibly the worst person to ask if I’m honest, as nobody really tells you how to revise at university, which can mean that you waste time flailing around (that’s what I did last year). So now, I’ve just thought of various ways to change-up my revision technique and make it really dynamic. We’ll see if it works in the long-run, but it is working at the minute!
This term, there are also revision lectures, classes and supervisions on in the English department; I have attended these so far, and I have felt that they have really helped me to identify what I need to get done in my own revision time, so I will definitely carry on attending. Ultimately, so far this term, I have been keeping myself busy with revision, and I am really starting to feel like I am making progress. I’m actually quite enjoying it, so hopefully this feeling will last.
Serially awesome Cambridge economics professor Ha-Joon Chang has written the world’s smallest economics textbook.
It’s five key points, all of which are illustrated above; and most of which boil down to “economics is a discipline for the people, and to serve the people. It must be taken back from the political agents known as economists."