So this is my first post for the University of Exeter! It’s my hope to connect with some students, who, perhaps like me are older than the average student age group, or for other reasons find it a little daunting integrating into Uni life. Over forty (but not over the hill) – suddenly life seems very short, but the crazy idea to go back into studying was the best idea I had heading towards fifty! Also, I think as you mellow into your mature years you realise your options are not something that you have masses of time to mull over, and you really value this chance. My life is quite full, aside from study I have volunteer work in film, plus part-time work and I try to keep up with promoting myself as a freelance photographer and filmmaker (why are we never great at promoting ourselves I wonder? I guess that’s why there are agencies…hmm).
Graduation BA Photography 2019 – a very proud moment
I don’t spend a lot of time on campus, as a part-timer, but I really love to be sociable when I’m there – I joined three societies in the first week, – The Mature Student Society, The Post-Graduate Society and Lightbox, and I attended the postgraduate welcome dinner, from which I have found a firm friend. As yet I haven’t made it to many socials, but I’m glad that I did on the ones I did go to. I like to go to the Ram for a Friday early evening beer and ‘decompress’ with my friend Ricky, before catching my train back to Totnes.
I love to mix with all age groups, and nationalities; age is not a barrier to me, although I think other people wonder when will I grow up??
I spent a lot of my life travelling, I lived in Spain and Argentina, never married or had children, so now is the ideal time for me to study without any ties – also it’s never too late! (I know, there is the cat, but that’s another story!)
The cheeky little ‘monkey’
I would love to hear from other students, mature or otherwise, who maybe live outside Exeter and for one reason or another don’t spend much time on campus. I think it’s essential to be able to offer support, to be a friendly face or even just to say ‘hi’ and have a five minute catch up. Seriously, days can go by without talking to anyone when studying from home – I do talk incessantly to my cat – she knows a lot of stuff about film now… !
I wrote a blog at my last Uni called ‘Musings of a Mature Student’ – maybe I’ll keep that title? So in short, my posts will be about my course (that’s why I’m here after all) – and how I juggle my studies with everyday life, but I will also share my experiences of my hobbies and interests which enrich my life, and by default also my studies. It’s going to be fun to write about the things I’m passionate about, and also to hear from like-minded souls or find new ideas!
So I hope my journey inspires other mature students out there, if I can do it, anyone can!
Topics To come:
What – I get to watch movies as part of my Master’s?
Why I eat Keto- it’s Good for the Brain as well as the Body
Tango Passion in the Heart of Devon
When I tell people which MA programme I’m studying I am always challenged on my reasons for wanting to study the ancient world. I get the same old “but it is so long ago” or “Latin is a dead language, what is the point?” from many of my mates and from people I meet along the path of life. So, let’s answer this question…
The classics and the ancient world have such a big influence on modern life yet so many people do not realise it. We are so wrapped up in our world of digital content and technology that we seem to forget our roots. We take for granted simple things such as a clean and constant water supply, toilets, sewage systems, baths. On a more political note, we are luckily part of a free speaking democratic state, something not all countries have. Our language itself did not just appear out of the blue. Many of the words we write, speak, and read have ancient origins from both Greece and Rome. I have played on these points for a reason, they ALL derive from the ancients. So much of what we have in our modern life would not be here if the Greeks or Romans had not thought of the idea first, we owe them a great deal. For that reason alone I feel a sense of responsibility to keep their memory alive and help tell their tales of old. My job, which I have set upon myself, is to understand the many aspects of the ancient world and deliver my findings in a way that will benefit the people I relay the information to.
This little blog post will not serve as a history lecture, don’t worry! I just want to make people aware of why we still continue to look to the past, and how important it is that more students take on this same responsibility. This stigma rises from early on as so few students have any sort of exposure to the classics at school. This needs to change! The classics is seen as an exclusive subject, only studied by those rich enough to afford a private education, and also is a world dominated by men. Both of these statements have been true to a certain extent but now are beginning to change. There are a number of excellent female Classicists contributing widely to the academic world that should not be overlooked, Mary Beard being one of them. More recently, there have been groups looking to expand the teaching of the ancient world into our state school system which would be a great way of getting the exposure it needs and helping discover a new generation of Classical Historians. So, with work, we can look to inspire new students into the profession and therefore salvaging the subject. The stigmas attached to it need to be dropped in order to help this, and the benefits and enjoyment someone can get out of the subject need to be promoted.
Okay, so you’ve studied the ancient world and now you want a job. Do you HAVE to be a teacher/academic/museum curator? No. Again, another stereo-type that needs busting. There have been numerous people who have studied the classics that have gone on to be employed in a number of different fields, and some have even ended up in the public limelight! Popular careers include Law, Politics, and jobs within the Private Sector. Look at our wonderful Prime Minister for example, a Classicist in school, but now the leader of a country. Okay maybe don’t aspire to be him, but it shows you can dream big. Take Tom Hiddleston as another example. He’s a hugely popular British actor who has played some big roles, Loki in The Avengers being a prominent one. He was a Classicist for much of his youth and through higher education, achieving a double first at University. Just because you study it does not mean you are confined to it in the workplace, there are options.
I think that is where I will leave this first blog post. As you can probably tell, I’m pretty passionate about my subject and want people to know more about it! If you do want to read further into some of the points I have made then I’ll provide some links below.
Classics For All – https://classicsforall.org.uk
Coming to university in the UK means having a plethora of new experiences. But for me, as an Indian who had been living in Abu Dhabi for several years before coming here, one of the most exciting things has been the lovely scenic views in Exeter, especially at the Streatham Campus, where I’m based. My first thought on seeing the Streatham campus was ‘It’s beautiful!”. It wasn’t just the lovely green spaces around campus. It is the whole atmosphere of vibrancy and liveliness that’s always present. While meeting loads of people, learning the ropes and grappling with homesickness was exhilarating, it felt liberating to get away from the bustle once in a while. It was in those instances that I discovered the true beauty of the Streatham Campus.
It can be difficult to differentiate between a postgraduate taught course (PGT) and an undergraduate degree. After all, both are taught! But a Masters degree is quite different from an undergraduate degree. I’m doing MSc in Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture, which is very different from my undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences.
So here are my top 10 differences between an undergraduate and a taught Masters… (more…)
I can’t believe I’ve been in Exeter for about 10 weeks already! Time sure does fly! It’s been a wonderful time filled with mostly highs and a few lows.
When I arrived I searched for a bucket in vain (at home we use buckets at lot for having baths, don’t ask me why it’s just what we do) and had to settle for a mopping bucket and take off the top. While I did find it a bit small it gets the job done.
First up I attended one of the Global café meetings and I was surprised to find that scones were not quite what I expected. Don’t get me wrong, they are quite tasty but in my head a scone felt and tasted like a hard, thick biscuit. I did quite enjoy them especially with jam and tea.
Then I met my Global Chum (Exeter does like Global stuff!) a lovely final year student called Jo. She had just come back from a year abroad (it’s a really cool thing most students can do in different countries) and was really busy but made time out to show me round Exeter and even took me to the lovely Quayside which had unbelievably gigantic seagulls.
Year after year I would defer my admission for my postgraduate degree. I always had a very good reason, it was either I was pregnant, had just got a new job, or just couldn’t afford the fees. So when I got my offer to study at Exeter I was determined it would be the last time I would apply for a postgraduate course. Either I would go through with it, or forget about furthering my studies and focus on other things. After all, I did have a lot to focus on, a great husband, amazing children and a decent job in a top government agency; what more could a girl ask for?
When I touched down in the UK for the first time after a life in Sub-Saharan Africa, I had so many expectations and insecurities on adapting to life in the country. Fortunately the world is not so different as we sometimes think. After a month in Surrey, I departed the bucolic setting to satisfy my yen for a city life in one of the greatest cities on earth, London! Skipping through some hard times and now one year later, things have worked out in many ways, significantly I have found an invaluable partner and some stability in the big city; but it seemed the right time to take the next step, which is when I applied to the University of Exeter.