Monday, 31 October 2011
Let's All Go Down The Strand*
* Today's title is from a Music Hall song and the picture above shows where The Strand and Fleet Street met, just opposite The Royal Courts of Justice.
I was without the internet for 5 days last week and felt like I had lost a limb. I had a major panic on Monday when I discovered that my router had given up the ghost because I needed to download the reading for my seminars. Thank goodness Surrey Libraries give you the opportunity to book an hour session on the internet for free. I was able to download all of the reading and then print off and study at home. This was the third technological incident we had in a couple of weeks (Sky box stopped working & my laptop is refusing to work properly were the others) so I hope it is the last for now.
It was very busy at King's last week. Extremely interesting lecture on 'The Trials of Oscar Wilde' and the West End on Tuesday afternoon. Then on Wednesday we had our first workshop to help with writing our dissertations. The MA dissertation for English should be approx. 15,000 words and we have from April to September to write it which at the moment seems ages (ask me again in mid-July!). I've written a MSc (master of science) dissertation before so was feeling relatively relaxed about this but that was more of an investigation/project (the benefits of mentoring). By the time we finished our two hour session I was feeling a lot more nervous about writing this one but, I hope, in a good way. After that I spent an hour in the cafe checking e-mails (I was able to use my i-Pad and the King's wifi) and then my Oscar Wilde seminar; very interesting.
On Thursday I started with my Modernity & the City seminar. Our tutor is amazing, he ranges so widely across subjects. This week we were talking about the poor in 19th C London and how the writers of reports and stories tried to persuade their readers that something needed to be done! One of the things that amuses me is we were reading Charles Booth's report about the London poor and there is a lot about families living in abject poverty in one room in buildings around Covent Garden. Anyone familiar with the London property market will know that flats round there now cost hundreds of thousands of pounds - a huge difference in 160 years. I wonder what would happen if those people could see the streets they used to live in now?
Back to the City then for lunch with a friend, who is looking absolutely beautiful in her pregnancy! Then dash back to King's for presenations about applying for a PhD and applying for funding. I really want to do a PhD and I could do it without funding BUT I think it would look much better to say that a funding body thought my research was worth supporting. The chances are tough - I think there is about a 1 in 4 chance of being accepted to a PhD at King's but the chance of a funded PhD drops to1 in 30. We got good advice however, including not starting an application to King's by saying 'I have always wanted to study at Oxford'!
I also met my personal tutor for the first time on Thursday afternoon & she was great. She gave me some ideas about books to read for my MA dissertation and was encouraging about the PhD subject. I was exhausted when I left her and set off down The Strand for Charing Cross station.
This week we are moving on to World War I and tanks (yes, it is an English Lit course) and Our Mutual Friend which is probably my favourite Charles Dickens novel ever. Oh yes, and my first essay is looming on the horizon. I love it tho'!!
Thanks for reading & I'll hopefully update more quickly next time.