Tue, 16 Nov 2010 14:37:00 +0000
A guide to…Single Honours English Literature at Queens University Belfast
oing to university in Belfast is obviously a major advantage at the beginning of your university career as you’ll no doubt know many others studying at the same college. It’s still easy however, to feel intimidated in this new environment especially after the close knit familiarity of somewhere like the CBS. Remember to make an effort to get involved-in most cases you’ll be automatically registered in your course society, so try and attend some of their social events-you can even bring friends from other disciplines. In the first few weeks you’ll be overwhelmed by everything that’s going on-try and take in as much as possible and attend the fresher’s fair and most importantly remember to turn up to your opening lectures and registration events which really are invaluable for explaining what you’ll be up to for the rest of the year.
From my experience, those undertaking single honours arts programmes-including Law, Politics and English etc will have to take up to two extra modules from another discipline in year one-simply for time-tabling and course availability issues. For example; an undergraduate in Queens will have to complete three modules each semester, two of these will be compulsory and are essential requirements of your course while the third will be one you’ve chosen at the start of the year and may not necessarily be linked directly to your chosen field. At first I found it rather strange that I would be studying a completely new subject-I chose two politics modules by the way even though I hadn’t done it for either GCSE or A-Level, however, I found them to be extremely enjoyable and provided a change of scenery from quite heavy, core English modules. I also found that they helped bring my final score for the year up considerably and although I decided not to continue studying politics in Year 2, it was a refreshing experience.
The modular system of teaching at University takes a little getting used to but in reality isn’t much different from the idea of January and summer exams at A-Level. From September to Christmas time you undertake three different modules, or areas of study and another three from January to May. Each module is assigned a number of lectures-in most cases one or two per week and a tutorial which can be attended by up to 12 people in which the content of the lectures are studied in more detail. Exterior (serious!) exams take place in January and May, in some courses these may be coursework deadlines, however you will be expected to submit a marked piece around mid term, on which you’ll receive feedback and see how well you’re getting on.
The most challenging difference from A-Level to university level is the amount of independent study that is expected from you; don’t be too surprised to find the number of people in your lectures dropping dramatically after Halloween. In reality you may only have three hours direct teaching time in which you can converse with your tutor-so it’s essential that you’ve read all the materials and done some independent research. Lecturers are limited to the amount they can spend on a topic and you’ll find that things pass by very quickly.
This ‘Independent study thing’ doesn’t really sink in until around Halloween when you find yourself with a summative assessment and no idea how to complete it-with only a few scribbled notes from the three lectures that you managed to attend. Deadlines at university are much stricter than secondary school, in most art faculties at Queens you’ll be fined 5% per day if a piece is not submitted on time, after 5 days it probably won’t be accepted. It’s also important that your you do your best first time round come exam time as your marks are capped at 40% if you have to repeat. It’s also important to bear in mind that your attendance is monitored and goes towards your final mark along with your contribution to the class!
Money is a serious issue at university, no matter who you are you’ll find it difficult to budget when you’re surrounded by temptation-going out every night and ordering takeout instead of cooking-but you do have to be sensible, especially if you’re not entitled to government help. The first thing you need to consider is rent which will be the biggest proportion of your spending. Halls are quite expensive but then again deposits, utility bills and facilities all add to the cost of private accommodation which is slowly increasing year by year. For basic accommodation in the university area, expect to pay round £200-220 per month, of course there will be cheaper places available but at some cost-location, size, upkeep etc. Going for private accommodation in first year can be tricky, many landlords will expect substantial and sometimes scandalous deposits-the most one should expect to pay is a month and a half worth of rent, in most cases you’ll get this back but you do need to be careful and look after the property becauseyou will end up paying for anything damaged. Don’t panic too much about money and try to stay within your means-keep an eye out for all the student discounts on offer in the city centre on food and clothes and use these to your advantage instead of splashing out in premium places, it would also be a worthwhile venture to sign up with the Queens Jobshop when you first register at university, you’ll receive regular emails about job opportunities around campus such as helping with graduation events which are tailored towards students and don’t require any contracts or long term commitment.
Most people travel to university by bus-it can be expensive over the course of the year with prices increasing to £10.50 each way this year butparking in Belfast-particularly in private accommodation can be difficult and in some areas quite dangerous. It’s not uncommon to see wing mirrors hanging off and serious scratches after a particularly big night out. If travelling by car, it’s always more cost effective and helpful to carpool especially for students living in the same house/halls, and if travelling by bus, make sure you apply for your Translink student discount card. For students at Queens, travelling to the university shouldn’t be a problem as everywhere is within walking distance, but students applying to Jordanstown or Saint Mary’s campus’ should be prepared for an early morning start on the bus.
Tue, 16 Nov 2010 14:37:00 +0000
Copyright Omagh CBS |