A Day In The Life Of An English Language Student

When people ask what course I’m studying, my reply often receives a few ‘ooohs’ and ‘ahh’s. I can’t quite figure out if this means they are surprised or impressed with my English Language degree, so I like to presume the latter. Whilst most suppose I spend days on end studying Shakespeare’s sonnets and working my way through a never ending reading list, this really couldn’t be further from the truth. So what does being an English Language student entail, I hear you cry? Well here’s a quick synopsis with the boring bits omitted.

Take last Monday:

10.00: My alarm sounds and (if I haven’t already been awoken by one of my 6 other housemates door slamming) I jump from my bed. I’m not in uni for 2 hours yet so I have time to leisurely enjoy the pound shop’s finest porridge and battle for my turn to use the bathroom.

11.45: I set off on the walk to campus, leaving just enough time to get a decent seat in the lecture theatre- not too close to the front but not behind anyone too tall either. By third year I’ve learnt who’s who on my course also: who will talk throughout, who will eat a smelly sandwich in the break and who will lend me a pen should mine run out. I choose my seat accordingly.

12.05: My lecturer takes to the lectern and awkwardly calls for the chattering to die down. Today we will be learning about ‘Language and Social Disadvantage’. A paper register is handed around and the PowerPoint waits.

12.50pm: I put my pen down beside my notebook, my wrist beginning to ache from the need to write notes rapidly so as not to miss anything important. My tutor pronounces we can either break for 10 minutes and resume afterwards or continue for another hour and finish slightly earlier. Tough decision. Hands raise and it is decided we’ll continue, not my preferred option as my tummy rumbles below.

13.40: As the slideshow reaches the ‘Seminar tasks’ page it’s evident that the lecture will end shortly. I sigh with relief as my hunger takes over and my concentration suffers. I note down the seminar tasks- reading from the core text with a few questions to answer too- and dash to the canteen downstairs.

13.45: My next seminar commences in 15 minutes and so I just have enough time to scoff some breakfast biscuits and an apple before rushing off.  Living on a budget and eating on the university campus is virtually impossible so I try to take a packed lunch with me whenever I can.

14.00: The seminar group is half the size of the lecture, but it doesn’t make it any easier to find a seat as the room is substantially smaller too. I sit beside my friends so we can partake in group work on ‘Cognitive approaches to language acquisition’ together.

14.30: During group work we are asked to swap around the room. This is awkward not only because of the tiny room but there’s always those who haven’t completed the necessary work and so are of no use whatsoever in the seminar.

15.30: Our tutor calls time on the individual work and begins her own discussion of the topic, recapping and clarifying what we should have picked up from the session. She offers extra reading materials and sets further tasks for the following week before we are dismissed.

16.10: I arrive home and immediately find refuge on the couch. It’s a wonder I made it through 6 hours of school 5 days a week for so long considering I’m done in after 4 hours at uni and have only 2 hours to complete for the remainder of the week.

17.30: I finally get around to cooking up a feast for my dinner, a chicken stir-fry (as usual) to fill the hole left by the measly breakfast biscuits lunch.

18.30: I feel like a new person having eaten and am more than ready to fight for the remote- the girls want Hollyoaks, the boys want anything but. Alas Hollyoaks it is! A debate ensues regarding whether to go out tonight. A resounding ‘no’ is the response due to the Baltic conditions up north.

19.45: Armed with a cup of Yorkshire tea (a little taste of home) I retreat to my desk to make a start on the seminar work set for the following day, knowing full well I won’t wake up early to do it in the morning so now is my best bet. Although 4 hours isn’t a lot of contact time, the lecturers sure know how to make up for this with out of hours study tasks. Whilst there I check if I have any creative writing challenges waiting in my emails from GKBC Academy, a handy way to gain experience and take my mind off studying.

23.00: I fall asleep shortly after turning off the E-learning portal. My washing up will have to wait until the morning. Nobody else will have touched it.

Tomorrow is a new day!

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Laura Beecroft is an English Language student and part time waitress. If you can’t find her at either, it’s likely she’ll be blogging for GKBC.