post Black Death Europe, a child wearing its parents’ clothes

On Thursday morning I had an interview for the student mentoring thing, which I think went swimmingly. (Also, congratulations to Tom in order, who finally stopped being messed around by Hertfordshire and should now be a dead cert Stuff-Maker.) We passed our flat inspections (for some reason they didn’t even check my room – a good thing, there were a lot of spiders and biological warfare plants lying around). And on Friday (not Saturday – thank you, Tom R, and damn you exam board for that wretched clusterfuck of a timetable you gave me)… it was the Early Modern exam.

The signs were not initially in my favour.

Although the Early Modern course has a fantastic and comprehensive archive of revision material (there are more scans and sources uploaded to WebCT for one 20% block in Early Modern than the entire Late Modern and WAFS modules put together) and although it seemed to be the topic I liked and understood best of all, I was worried I hadn’t done anything like enough revision. Worse, after the catastrophe of the Late Modern exam and the mixed success of WAFS I was finding it somewhat hard to care, having completely lost confidence in my ability to exam and knowing I’ll clearly be doing retakes anyway. I was not in a terribly good temperament for exams. Oh, and remember The Unluckiest Finger, door-magnet of cars and chip shops alike? Guess what got the chop while slicing onions. That was a lot of blood. Fortunately Jess has a big box of plasters and is a wonderful person not to be put out by a flatmate leaking red all over the place.

And then, to put the tin lid on it, the invigilators were the same two who had been present for the Late Modern panic attack; moustache-man and asian-lady. So it was with serious trepidation I turned over the yellow question sheet at 2pm and read my fate.

I’d revised topics on urbanisation, food and Malthusian crises, demographic changes and population growth, Military Revolution, rebellion and General Crisis, each fairly specifically and without that much reference to others. There was one question on the paper about food and Malthusian crises in relation to demographic changes and population growth, and one about the Military Revolution’s influence on the General Crisis. The questions weren’t the ones I’d revised specifically for, but they were ones I could do confidently; I think it actually helped to be considering answers and angles in a different light rather than trying to remember my down-pat answers.

The essays I wrote weren’t perfect, but they were by far the best I’ve done in exams, and as well as being very happy with the overall structure, arguments and conclusions I planned, I managed my time much better and had myself ten minutes of final proofreading and broad grinning at the end. All in all? Objectively a success, relative to the others a triumph.

So, what’s next? SUMMER!


5 thoughts on “post Black Death Europe, a child wearing its parents’ clothes

  1. hobben says:

    Freedom nao?

  2. You must have been worried, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you make a spelling mistake before. I’m pleased to hear that your exam went well, though I’m puzzled as to what “Early Modern” is.

    • brosencrantz says:


      Heh, one of the biggest arguments in the topic is where its boundaries actually fall, but we’re told to take it as 1500-1800 (or 1450-1789… or…). Broadly it’s history covering: the Reformation, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Military Revolution, the rise of absolutism and a few other important things. Full title is “Reformation, Revolution and Rebellion: The Making of the Modern World”. It’s a disgustingly Eurocentric but still incredibly interesting course.

      • Ah, that explains it. Our “European” (i.e. not the native) history starts slightly before the end of that time period, so presumably there’s no equivalent paper over here.

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