History: the Low Down

All Soul's College, view from the Radcliffe Camera

So as you may already know, or not, I'm studying history at St Benet's Hall.

#Oxfess is full of contradictory opinions on what the hardest subject at Oxford is and I'm certainly not suggesting that it's history but I'm finding it's up there!

On average I have three tutorials a week for my British paper (I picked Brit 5 1685-1848) and then I have a historiography paper which looks essentially at how historians have viewed history over time. We study four historians in total and so I've had a lecture on each one which is on average a lecture every other week.

I then have a tutorial for my British paper each week for an hour and then a historiography tutorial with all of the historians in my year (five of us) for two hours. I have an average of 1.5 contact hour a week and 1.5 essays a week to complete- if you manage your time effectively!

That doesn't sound too bad but I've found that the volume of reading I need to do for each essay is quite substantial and I often find time running away with me and there have been a few late night essay writing session which I really don't recommend.  

Just a selection of books for an essay on British art from 1685-1848

It's taken me almost all of first term to get into my stride but I know find that the best ways to avoid crises are:

  • Start your essay as soon as you get it, it won't go away if you simply ignore it!
  • Plan how long you're going to spend on reading, planning and writing
  • You will start to read and write faster so persevere!
  • If you're confused, seek clarification as soon as possible
  • Stop when your'e tired
  • Sometimes you need down time, accept that and try not to feel guilty
Everyone is finding things difficult to balance and it's okay, just because someone isn't obviously struggling doesn't mean they're not. Be kind to yourself and them, and keep going


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