In September I took a pretty big step by enrolling on a Creative Writing and English Literature degree at Kingston University. I’ve now got to the end of my first semester there and I feel it’s a good time to just look back on the last three months and reflect and review my time there so far.
I was nervous as hell on first arriving, starting University proper being a scary change (I’d previously completed a year of higher education study with the distance-based Open University) both academically, I was pretty unsure of my own abilities and had a nagging self-doubt that permeated the initial weeks and socially; being quite introverted, big social gatherings scare me and make me very nervous.
In terms of the academic side of my studies so far, I feel that it’s definitely been a good move. I’m enjoying soaking in the knowledge from lectures and seminars thus far; my degree is comprised essentially of two “halves”, the Creative Writing side which I am really enjoying on a practical level as I feel I’m already learning both how to re-evaluate my own writing, and that of others, and learning new skills that are definitely what I want from the degree; whereas with the English Literature half I am exposed to more critical analysis of both genre texts and literary theory. However, I feel that due to both the material I am studying in English Literature (especially some pretty dry theories and essays; though I understand the application of them to a set text to an extent) and the scheduling of some of the classes (our main lectures that cover different literary theories and essays each week are scheduled at 4PM on Friday afternoons; the backside of the week where everyone’s attention has already left the building) I would rather focus on Creative Writing in my second and third years. As the semester progressed, I did face a bit of self-doubt and worry if any of the material or teaching really was sinking in; however, my first Creative Writing assessment scored pretty well and that has certainly gone a long way to re-energising my confidence and I want to absolutely harness that in January.
Socially, it was hard – walking into a daunting environment and knowing not a soul was truly scary. However, I’ve certainly made some efforts to get to know classmates, particularly those I share both Creative Writing and English Literature classes with, and there is a certain sense of camaraderie that is really nice. My Creative Writing seminar group has been notably great (I’d certainly call them all friends, they’re all nice, and diverse, people) and I feel at ease with them. Everyone was very welcoming and, approaching with an open mind, it’s made University certainly a lot less scary!
Accordingly I’ve set myself a few goals for my second semester to “clear out” the naughty and lazy habits that crept in a little, as my assessments prove I’m a capable student. I wouldn’t have been offered the place if I wasn’t, after all! There’s a lot of work due in the second semester so I want to make sure I’m mentally ready for it! So no more “forgetting” to write up class notes, and I’ll be dedicating a stricter schedule for coursework and feedback (one of the reasons I love my Creative Writing group is the feedback – definitely acquired a “taste” for that analysis!). I’ve crossed an important first hurdle and I aim to fully capitalise on it!
I want to write more about my general goals for 2016 soon, so stay tuned!