Dale – Fun history stuff

#DerbyStudent, Dale T, Derby Uni, Uncategorized

It suddenly dawned on me today that I haven’t actually told you about the real stuff we learn about in History. Seeing as this is basically my job, let me introduce you to the course!

You start in first year (naturally), with a few induction days. These get you introduced to the history course, and the rest of your course mates and lecturers. You will most likely go to Kedleston Hall (a VERY nice country house located near the city) for the day where you’ll look around and generally mingle with all these new people. You’ll also go on tours around the city, and maybe even stop in at a few pubs along the way…

Throughout the year the courses you’ll do cover British history from the mid-1400s to mid-1900s (across two separate modules), and the same again but in wider Europe. You also look at Russia mid-1800s to early 1900s, and finally a more general history skills module. In addition to this there is always the chance to go on trips to places like London and the nearby Peak District, just to further your experience with history at Derby.

Second and third years are much of the same, but obviously with different modules and available activities. Modules in second year include a look at the First World War, Ethnic and Cultural Minorities in Europe, Gender roles through the ages, Europe between wars, and how medicine has changed in the past 500 years. The Public History module is about delivering your very own history conference (more information on that soon!), and of course the research project is a smaller version of the third year dissertation.

Speaking of which, the so-called monster that is the dissertation comes in the final year. The straight up 10,000 word project is surrounded with more modules ranging from looking at country houses, the rise and fall of Yugoslavia, China through the ages, and a look at diplomacy and international relations around the world.

As you can see the History course in general offers so much variety that it’s difficult to find something you won’t enjoy whilst you’re here. There’s a lot to do, but I promise you’ll enjoy it.


Dale – The ‘slog’

#DerbyStudent, Dale T, Derby Uni

One thing I’ve come to realise quite recently is how things work here. And that it’s quite the opposite from how I first saw things. In my first few weeks at uni I was constantly being bombarded (in a good way) by new things to do, see, and experience. This gave me the impression that everything here was quick and changing all the time. My plans were being updated and altered almost every day, and it was so hard to keep track of things. In all honesty it was quite overwhelming.

But as time went on you get used to it. You start to know people’s timetables (including your own), and just generally how things work at university. Then you start to know it even better. Then it becomes boring.

Nearing the end of first year uni suddenly became intensely boring. My schedule was, week after week, something along the lines of: work, sleep, see friends, procrastinate, work, sleep… and so on. No-one knows why this happens to us, but it was certainly a generally accepted feeling amongst me and my friends. This is the ‘slog’ of uni. The ‘lure’ of doing new things every day had worn off, and people settle down into normal routines, all the while building up deadlines.

Then suddenly it all went! I felt like I picked myself up, dusted off and just started doing things again. I was enjoying everything I did again as part of my uni life (which as you can see, https://derbyunilhss.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/dale-day-to-day-of-a-historian/, is very busy), and I wasn’t bored again!

The whole experience was very weird… After coming here with the expectation of every day to be full on and challenging in some way, it was weird to be feeling bored quite a lot. If this happens to you, there are a couple of things you need to remember:

  1. Stay active. Some days you might feel like just staying in and relaxing, and that’s fine. But too many of these days are dangerous. Not only do you become less productive when you do start working, but you miss out on a huge range of things going on in uni!
  2. Be excited about the things you do. If you go into something with the mind-set that you are going to put into it everything you can, and get out of it just as much, then you will definitely be making the most out of it all!
  3. Be enduring. This is starting to sound like some weird motivational poster so this will be the last point, but you’ve got to remember that everything you do here is changing you in some way. Some things will affect you for the better, and some things will do the opposite. It’s up to you to find these good impacts and stick with them for as long as you can.

I realise this is not the happiest of posts, about how wonderful uni life is, but it is the truth; some days you will question why you came here in the first place. But like I said above, it’s all for the better, so get out there and be active!

Dale – My Radio Story

#chooseDerby, #DerbyStudent, Dale T

One of the main activities I got involved in during my first year at uni was the radio (which you may have found out from my previous posts, https://derbyunilhss.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/dale-day-to-day-of-a-historian/). But what I never fully explained was my story of the experiences I’ve had through the student radio.

Even before I had come to Derby I had heard that about the number of different things I could get involved in. A few of my friends had joined their student radios and had great experiences through that, and so I knew that I wanted this as well.

In the end it was a friend off my history course who had previous experience on the radio that got me involved. I turned up to the first members meeting not knowing what to expect, and quite afraid of all these people suddenly wanting me to join up as soon as possible!

I went along with it, and before I knew it we were live on air! My friend basically took us through the first show, with me nervously speaking into the mic every now and then, trying not to come across as too shy. We did everything you’d expect from a student radio station. We played as many songs as we wanted, talked about anything we thought people would enjoy listening to, and in our downtime thought up cheesy jokes (my friends’ unfortunate speciality).

The excitement from our first show was high! Pretty much after that I tried to get involved in any way I could: I was part of the marketing team which meant thinking up how to get our name out there through events and stands in the atrium. However this just wasn’t enough for me so I joined the news team as well! This came after Christmas, but I immediately knew it was where I belonged in the radio. I quickly got trained up on how to write and record our very own news. After that I would go into the studio for a couple of hours every Tuesday morning to create my very own news reel.

Throughout the year we held different events, each more exciting than the last. We would regularly attend the open days, and as a member of the news team I would be interviewing any form of celebrity that came to the university (including designer Sir Paul Smith!). However there are two particular highlights of my first year in the radio that stand out to me.

The first was the 24hour broadcast the radio hosted. I volunteered myself as a member that would complete the full 24 hours (in aid of Raise and Give week), and in doing so apparently volunteered myself to shave my head once we reached a certain amount of raised money. As you can guess from the picture above, that amount was reached.

The second highlight was election results night. Every year the SU hosts their own election, obviously resulting in a night of results. The radio were asked to cover this event, with a live broadcast from the academy bar, with myself and a small team being down on the floor with a portable mic grabbing interviews from anyone we could! It was a long night, people were enjoying themselves all around us (on a side note, this was also the night that Derby won the varsity competition against Northampton), whereas we were frantically running around grabbing brief interviews with the electors.

In my opinion it was these two events which lead to me being awarded with ‘Most dedicated member’ at the end of year radio awards, along with me and my co-presenter being awarded with ‘Most improved presenters’. What a first year!

Now I’m the Head of News for our new brand, Phantom Media, and the rest, as they say, is history!

Dale – Essay fun!

#chooseDerby, #DerbyStudent, Dale T

Though it isn’t even half way through the term, I can feel the deadlines closing in! This term while technically easier as I have less teaching hours, is a very hectic one, and that is the same across all courses in spring I can imagine!

After Easter we deliver our Public history Conference (more information about this soon), and our Research Project is due in. This is one I am particularly excited about; though a lot of work has to be done for it, as there naturally would be for a 4000 word essay, it is the first time we are given complete full reign over what area of history you want to research. It’s a large task in the beginning, narrowing down your subject, but once you find your personal interest it is a very exciting project to undertake! Personally I am looking at how the 1947 Indian Partition affected the nation, and the end of the British Empire.

Aside from those two modules there is the compulsory ‘European Imperialism and Decolonization, 1757-1960’ module, handily having very close ties with my research project, and the two optional modules ‘The Making of Modern Medicine’, and ‘Europe Between Wars, 1918-1939’. The first term offered the ‘Research Project’ teaching module, the ‘Society, Culture and Politics in the First World War’ module, and the three optional modules ’Goodbye Lenin’, ‘Gender and Sex 1685-1870’ and ‘European Cultural Identities and Ethnic Minorities’.

As you can see, there’s a lot of work. You only choose two of the optional modules, but the grand total of words you are required to write in second year is… 16,000!!

Even for me that is a scary amount of writing. But it all comes in moderation, so try not to worry… Too much!

Dale – What actually goes on here?!

#chooseDerby, #DerbyStudent, Dale T, Derby Uni

I’ve talked a lot about what is on offer at the university in my old posts. I like doing this, it shows what you can actually do as a uni student, what makes it different from home basically. But I realised today that I haven’t talked about the general things that just make it our uni.

This week is a good example actually, there has been a surprising amount of events in the Atrium, the central hub in university everything that isn’t a lecture or a sport goes on. I can’t remember the exact days all this stuff was on, but here’s a general list:

Every Tuesday and Thursday different food stalls set up for the day. My personal (and I’m pretty sure every student’s favourite) is Cyril’s Cupcakes. They sell some of the best and most varied brownies, cakes, sweet loafs and buns around, for as little as £1! Next to them is the pastry stall, having an equally wide range of savoury foods to help you get through the day. Just across from him is the crepe guy, whose name unfortunately escapes me, but you can guess what he sells. Tasty tasty!

Earlier this week the Careers service hosted a volunteering fair. Perfect for anyone looking for something cheap and good willed to do over summer, a number of different charitable organisations set up stalls to offer anything from building playgrounds in Africa, to exploring Caribbean jungles, to campaigning for Human Rights in Central Asia. Something I found particularly helpful was the Careers service offering a quick CV check on the same day.

At the top of the Atrium near the library, a local bike repair shop came in for the day to offer free checks on your bike, and other cheap additions. You could simply wheel your bike in through the double doors, drop it off there whilst you go for a lecture and pick it up when you’re done! Cheap and easy, and just another benefit of the Atrium!

As I’m sure many of you have (hopefully) heard, May 7th is the national election. Therefore to promote our form of democracy, the Students Union have been running a campaign to get as many students to register for the vote. By the end of the week the SU hope to have signed up over 500 students! Tables set up around the atrium on various days have helped to spread this word, where you can fill in the brief online registration form,

A recent complaint from the Student Parents Officer was that it is hard for student parents to multitask having children and completing a university degree as there is nowhere for the student to leave their child during study. In response to this the SU organised a day event in the centre of the Atrium so that the students could leave their children. There were bouncy castles, soft play equipment and even performances from our very own Derby Ravens Cheerleading squad to keep the kids entertained.

Something you will often see posted around uni are flyers featuring information on student Psychology studies going on at the university. T Block is the official Psychology area, with various different experiment rooms for the students to complete their studies in. Their tests need students to take part, so what better way to convince them of this than to have rewards! Chances of winning gift vouchers for shops, a simple cash bonus or even a selection of sweets is always enough to entice a few students into taking part. You will see these flyers posted around the campuses.

Though not often as fun as the other activities, guest lecturers often visit the uni to give one time lectures and seminars on certain subjects. Most of them might not be of any interest to you, but a few of them will spark your interest, and they are always free to attend.

For me it is this kind of thing that really makes uni a different style of life to home, there really can be anything you can think of on offer here!

Dale – Scared of going to uni? No worries.

#DerbyStudent, Dale T, Derby Uni

It’s natural. You’re moving away from home, from safety and, certainly for the majority of people, from everything you’ve been comfortable with for most of your life. But this is the ‘next chapter’ as they say, your big step into the big world!

When you get to uni the first few weeks will be absolutely mental. Not in the sense that the glorious 2 weeks of Freshers happens (but I’m not saying it doesn’t), but in the sense that you will be doing so many things that are new to you, and meeting so many people you will start to forget names! But the wonderful thing is that everyone is going through the same thing. You will inevitably be pushed into doing fresh activities, coupled with it being in a place you may have never even been to before, but the thing to remember is that it’s all fun! University is designed to push and challenge you, designed to let you reach your full potential, so there is nothing here that will purposefully scare you away!

Even when the initial buzz of starting your uni life is over, you can willingly look forward to the rest of your time here! Even though I am just over half way through my time at university (now THAT is a scary thought), I can personally say that uni has been the best time of my life, and the opportunities available here are unmatched. And that comes from someone who took a year out to travel the world!

So in short; yes, be scared of starting uni. It’s only natural, and everyone else will be feeling the same as you. But more importantly, look forward to all the prospects now open to you at the University of Derby!

Dale – Things to do in University: Get involved

#DerbyStudent, Dale T, Derby Uni

The past two of my posts have been centred around what is on offer through the Students Union; Societies and Sports. The final part of this is the democratic side of the SU.

While it may sound extremely boring, the simple truth about our Students Union is that it is governed by students, for students. This means that any query, complaint, recommendation and prospect you feel is covered or should be covered by the University as a whole can be taken up with the Students Union to help you. They are there for you.

The democratic side of the SU means that if you want to change something about the student experience at university, then you have the chance to! This can include representing a society or sports team on their committee, presenting and supporting your own policies in Union Council meetings, becoming programme representatives or even attending the National Union of Students various conferences.

During your time at uni you also have the option to represent a larger number of students than just yourself. Elections are held for different positions throughout the year: Course Representatives, Liberation Officers, Campus Representatives, Part-Time Officers and Officer Trustees are just some of the larger examples, with the Officer Trustees being the 5 head roles in the SU. With 32 positions available in the yearly elections, if there is something you want to change, the option to do so is definitely there. To find out more head over to the UDSU website, http://www.udsu.co.uk/democracy/officers/

The main aim of the Students Union is to improve the experience of university. If you want this to happen, not just for yourself but for any future students, then the best way is to simply get involved!

Dale – Things to do in University: Sports

#chooseDerby, Dale T, Derby Uni

In my last post I mentioned the two sides of things to at university, one of them being options provided by the Students Union. Well the sports provided is another major part of our SU, but this time coming under the wing of the Athletic Union (AU) and Team Derby combined.

Similar to a society, sports teams are run by a central committee that you have a chance to join and take part in the running and organising of the club. They also offer full training and membership opportunities meaning that if you have been involved in a sport or activity for a long time, or are completely knew to it, you will fit right in!

The teams are a great way to meet new people and work with them towards a common goal; winning! Competitions are held throughout the year and organised by your teams. This can come in the form of the BUCS (British University and Colleges Sport) competition, an all year round points based table (of which Derby currently sits at 59, with a push to reach the top 50 currently going on), or Varsity, the intense rivalry against our local opponents at the University of Northampton. Each year the venue changes, one year at Derby Uni, the next at Northampton, resulting in a very competitive and exciting week supporting our teams! We can proudly say that last year was our year, with the final points coming in from a dramatic tennis match!

With over 40 teams on offer at Team Derby there is a lot to choose from. Sports fairs are held at various times throughout the year so even if you don’t manage to join in September there is always the chance to join later, don’t be afraid of missing out!

The advice stands almost the same as the advice from my society post: Try new things and have fun with it, as it all makes up for an amazing university experience.

Dale – Things to do in University: Societies

Dale T

For me there are two sides to opportunities offered to you at uni; things accessed through the university itself such as your course, the library, all the help and advice services, and even studying abroad. The second is things accessed through the Students Union. The SU is a fantastic place where you as a student get to directly change things in the university experience, and get involved in a whole bunch of activities, some you might never have heard of! I won’t go into the details of how it all works as there are plenty of websites for that (http://www.udsu.co.uk/) so instead, here’s a handy explanation of the Society side of the SU:

Societies are like sports teams in the sense that you gather with a bunch of people with similar interests to you, but without the actual sport side of it (who needs that anyway!) Our 60+ societies available offer a huge range of different activities, none of them similar in any way! This means that chances are if you have an interest and want to pursue it further, there will be something for you through the SU. Our societies are separated into 6 main categories: Academic, Active and Performance, Buxton and Chesterfield, Charity and Campaigns, Interest, and Religious and Cultural.

Particularly popular societies include Airsoft, Cakes and Cocktails, DJ and Mix, Theatre and even the Social Society, a place just for doing different activities and meeting a load of new people! A lot of courses offered at the uni even have their very own society, which usually involves setting up extra opportunities to further your studying. I would personally recommend the History Society, who in the past have organised trips to historic sites across the countries, and a lot of pub quizzes! If you can’t find one just right for you, then even setting up your own society is remarkably easy! All you need is the commitment of a few other people interested in helping you set up the society, then you can begin marketing and searching for more members of your society!

Societies are very flexible in the sense that you get out as much as you put in: there is no obligation to attending each and every event your society hosts, but at the same time you will always have the opportunity further into your time at uni to become a committee member of the group!

One of the most important features of the Societies is that it’s all completely up to you. You can choose how often you commit to the group and you can have a say what goes on in the society. So have fun with it, when you get to Derby see what is on offer and push yourself to try out all these new things! For me personally, the societies make up a huge part of my university experience.

Dale – Day to day of a Historian

#DerbyStudent, Dale T, Derby Uni

When people hear the word historian, many imagine someone spending all of their time in a library buried in books and journals, with little time for other things. This is certainly not the case with me, so to show you what goes on for a second year historian, here is a walkthrough of a typical day for me:

9:00am – Despite a lack of sleep an early start is needed (before you argue; yes, 9am is early!). Breakfast is a huge bowl of cereal, followed by quickly checking emails.

10:00am – By this point I have made it in to uni. Despite my house being a solid half hour walk away from the Kedleston Road site, the free shuttle bus service from the Britannia Mill campus makes the walk a lot shorter, and warmer. I bumble into the library, taking a study booth in the silent top floor section.

11:30am – The hour and a half of reading has been very productive. My reading has been centred on our chosen Public History topic, Law and Democracy. For this I chose a few journals from the online catalogue and narrowed down our group’s ideas to form a proper question we can propose to our lecturers.

12:00pm – A quick half hour meeting with the student radio committee was equally productive. As a member of the committee we have to decide how to run the station on a day to day basis, involving scheduling the broadcasts, attending events across the university campuses and general organisation. This meeting was focused on discussing our marketing campaign over Refreshers.

12:30pm – After a quick lunch at the university with some friends, I head off to the Rowing Club for training.

3:30pm – Training was tough; 3 hours of intense exercise only broken up by a couple of 10 minute breathers outside. Even though I hurt all over, especially my legs, the walk back from the club is a nice time to cool off.

4:30pm – An unintended half hour nap forced me to rush my tea, chicken and rice, that my housemate very kindly made in our new slow cooker. Despite this, naps are now an almost central part of my life! Time to walk back to uni, though this time I miss the bus.

5:00pm – Back in university after a cold walk in, and I’m in the Academic Centre Reception on the 5th floor of E Block. Part of my job as a Subject Ambassador involves a call centre-type situation, ringing prospective students and informing them about our upcoming applicant days. 3 hours at a desk can be tiresome, but we’re kept happy by free pizza and sandwiches all night, and the other subject ambassadors are a lot of fun.

8:30pm – Back home after a very long day and finally a bit of time to relax. I chat with my housemates, eat any food I can get my hands on, and see a couple of friends who come round.

10:00pm – The work never stops however! A couple of hours more of reading and planning keeps me up to date with any work I have got to do for the history course.

1:00am – Finally time for sleep! A good 7 hours resets me for the next day, with much of the same stuff going on!