As you guys hopefully know by now, I’ve just started the second year of my history degree. And when I say just started, I mean yesterday, that was when I had my first lectures and seminars. I’m determined to be more focused on my work this year, but having said that, I’m already thinking about my dissertation in the back of my mind.
Thinking about a 10,000 individual project while dealing with the 7 assignments that I have this summer doesn’t sound particularly fun, but I’m quite enjoying playing around with a couple of ideas about what I might like to write about. Nothing concrete, so I can’t tell you quite yet!
But while I was thinking about it, I realised just how much first year has and second year will prepare me for a task that at times seems an impossible one. I mean, 10,000 words? Sometimes I struggle to fill out at 2,000 word essay, depending on the topic.
Anyway, back to my original point. First year gives you such a broad knowledge base, you get to study the medieval period, the Renaissance and even aspects of the present day. You’re bound to be looking at something you’ve never encountered before, so you could find a new area of interest. And if you know where your interests lie, then it’s a chance to solidify them. Once you know what sort of history and what particular period or event you’d most like to focus on, it will be easier to pick a topic when you come to thinking about your dissertation.
There’s one particular module in second year that I think will be the most helpful when it comes to my dissertation. It’s a module called HS2001 Group Project. The assessment for this course includes a 10,000 word group project, similar to a dissertation. Although I’ll be working in a with 4 other students, it will still be really important because it will enhance my research and writing skills. Both of those skill sets are crucial for the dissertation as the communication of ideas needs to be concise and the analysis is based upon independent research.
The history course at Leicester never throws you in at the deep end, as you can see, it really prepares you for the entirety of your degree. Of course, a huge aspect of University is independent work and it’s important to develop that, but no one ever expects you to do everything on your own.