Attention all, attention all, we have now reached Semester 2, where this term will… terminate. All change, please, all change. Early Modern to Late Modern history transition not exactly seamless, going straight for the Industrial Revolution, Darwin and Freud. But it’s all pretty interesting so far.
Despite failing to have signed up for a Focused Study group I got a not-terrible one (Jacobite Rebellion; the motorways one wasn’t even on the list, probably due to palpable lack of interest), which in conjunction with my new Late Modern seminar group means I’ve pretty much lost my Fridays, and lack an alternative free day as I have something at 10 or 11 for the entire week. Oh well.
I don’t have any of my old tutors, which is a shame as I really liked them. I haven’t met Ms Henshaw (Jacobite Rebellion) yet, but my new Late Modern tutor is another young postgrad type, like Stuart. Yet where Stuart seemed to be on his own ground, entirely comfortable and confident and in control, and thus great at telling us to do productive things, the new fellow… doesn’t. So far; I hope this’ll turn around. Also, I don’t really know anyone in either of my groups except War Studies Robbie for the Jacobites and Steph from the flat opposite for Late Modern… yet.
For WAFS, the transition from Rob Thompson, big and boisterous in his revolutionary t-shirts and biker leathers, to professional-to-the-point-of-fussiness Gary Sheffield, war historian extraordinaire, has been something of a jarring one. Our two seminars with him have so far taken this form:
“The Fumble” – vict- uh, student du jour frantically tries to set up powerpoint with non-functional History department hardware, class twiddles thumbs.
“The Mumble” – student does the presentation they prepared for and lovingly based around their powerpoint, without the powerpoint.
“The Grumble” – Sheffield puts on what he describes as “his grumpy face” and tells student off for ten minutes on their presentation skills – unprofessional, lacked charisma etc – and content.
“The Humble” – class listens to Sheffield talk about history for remainder of the seminar, trying to forget the first three stages ever happened (many awkward silences as Sheffield, when engaging with the class, expectantly relies on historical trivia nobody seems to know.)
So far two in our class have gone through this and visibly not enjoyed it. I’m up next Tuesday; my presentation is on Maoist strategy in theory and practice. I don’t know a bloody thing about guerrilla warfare and the only copy of Mao’s book has been taken out by someone. This is going to hurt.
However! The essay on strategic airpower I wove out of own knowledge/whole cloth in the space of a couple of days and made up all the references because none of the books were any good, the essay I considered “this really is not good”, Thompson gave a 69 along with some seriously encouraging feedback. I feel mildly guilty, rather proud and also somewhat annoyed it’s not assessed.
Also, I have a JOB INTERVIEW! It’s for a part time admin job in Selly Oak with these people ( http://www.christianeducation.org.uk/ ). I don’t have much practical experience with admin (or interviews) so I’m rather managing my expectations, but it’d be a nice way to be employed and a useful source of experience and pocket money. That goes down on Thursday. Wish me luck!