8 Things I’ll Miss About Reading Town

Now that I’ve started winding down from university, and namely living around universities, I’ve been thinking about what I’ll most miss about that atmosphere. Potentially the first in a series.

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A photo from the main Wantage building across the second quad to the second set of room where we stayed as first years.

  1. Walking to class…

From both my first-and-second-year and third year accommodation, it was a half an hour of walking to classes, morning and afternoon. Although both my accommodations were based outside of the campus, they were in the perfect places for a daily walk in. Through the sports fields in one direction and through the outside lakes/wooded areas the other side.

2. …Then walking across campus to other classes.

Many new students might be surprised by my fervour at the idea of having five minutes to cross from one end of campus (philosophy classrooms) to the other (psychology building), but an invigorating walk is great for the brain and mind. And then there’s the walking through the gardens and the lakeside walk and seeing all the student buildings that I wouldn’t normally go near. Reading University campus is a darling in the midst of the frumpier campus and city universities.

  1. Wantage Formals

Apart from the food and the Agrics* setting off fire alarms and making us lose our deposits, I loved the prestige of living at Wantage Hall. And with that came the formal meals. Once a term, we put on our finest, traipsed over to our dining hall (called the Harry Potter hall, to my chagrin, because it really doesn’t look that much like the Great Hall) with a bottle in hand, and had a three course meal and toasts and all that like. That is what university meant to me before I arrived.

*Agriculture Students. The downside of living in the hall most dedicated to the Agriculture side of Reading.

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Wantage Hall front entrance

  1. “Oh, hey Sam, you playing Binding of Isaac?”

Sam was the first person I met when I moved into Wantage, coincidentally enough living in the room opposite mine; and in that first year we became great friends, thanks to a shared habit of propping our doors open when we’re both ‘at home’. He was also the first person to inspire my interest in video games and, essentially, Let’s Plays before Let’s Plays existed due to his habit of playing video games and my habit of curiously watching what was going on as I edited.

The creepy-tastic room-random-generated game The Binding of Isaac in particular was a game that fascinates me.

  1. RUSDS

I didn’t realise how much I loved Reading University Swing Dance Society until I became a member of the committee, the Treasurer for two years, and, at one point, the pillar of keeping the society running when my fellow committee members one-by-one dropped out (!). I guess it was because being a committee member meant that I had to be there at classes consistently, and thus I got more involved with the actual learning and teaching.

  1. Some gorgeous buildings.

And some totally tacky ones. Looking at you, URS building, now being utilised as the library as the actual library undergoes renovations.

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But, in general, Reading’s campus buildings are glossy and gorgeous and traditional brick structures and cohorts of the same.

  1. Uni Grill

Now closed, of all things! Well, this is something we expected – as one ought to expect from all of those kebab and friend chicken that are only kept open by the alcohol-infused brains, rather than stomachs, of students. But there was something about Uni Grill that made it more special than the other Reading chicken shops. Maybe because it was a mere walk from our accommodation.

8. An accessible town.

I could walk to the centre of Reading from where I loved, walk to the shops and have an evening out, and get back in at a reasonable time because I didn’t have to wait for specific buses or, namely, not going 10s of miles back home.

 

Until next time, readers…

🙂

In Which I am a Graduate

It’s been one of those long journeys that passes in the blink of an eye, but yesterday I stood in front of a hall of people and shook hands with The Chancellor of Reading before accepting a scroll of paper from him, otherwise known as a degree certificate. Yesterday, I officially graduated from the University of Reading with a Bachelor’s degree of Psychology and Philosophy. It’s a weird feeling—I guess, now it’s really hit me that I’m not going back to Reading for another year, that I’ve finished my work on my undergraduate, and everything I had from that degree is ultimately in the past, reset to zero.

That’s not to say that I haven’t had a good time. There have been many aspects of being a British university student, and one of a joint honours in arguably controversial subjects, that I have not had the time or gall to ever blog about. There have been many ups and downs, of course—but that goes without saying when one spends three years of one’s life in a single place with the same sorts of people.

Eventually, though, I know I have to move. For secondary school, it hit me after five or six years. The feeling is kind of distant from the self, but more as if a knowledge of what needs to be done. I have done a lot of what I needed to at Reading, and experienced so many, but it’s not a town in which I want to spend the rest of my life. Nothing personal, just opinion from having lived around the gossamer spires of Oxford most of my life.

What a feeling it is to be moving on to academia new. Indeed, I would be lying to say that that has been the best thing about graduating when in fact it is such a gratifying feeling to be justly rewarded for three years’ hard work. However, it is good to know that I have something more after graduation.

So, there it is. I am a graduate now. I officially have a degree. (This is where I scream “hire me!” at you. Just kidding!) And the obligatory graduation photo? Oh, go on then. 🙂

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Looking professional in my gown and mortarboard!

Have a blessed weekend.

 

Photo of the Week: Song of the Shield

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(Yes, it’s upsidedown. It’s artistic. :P)

It’s Reading University’s 90th year and we are having some internal celebrations, which is lovely to be part of. Our Chamber Choir has been asked to sing this traditional song found in the archives at the court meeting on the main day of celebration this term. So, we’ve been rehearsing it, and generally chuckling over it.

7 Quick Takes – 6 Types of Assessment

Since it’s been a hectic couple of weeks for me in my third year of uni (at the fabulous University of Reading in the UK), what with this being my dissertation* term and having deadlines Friday, Monday, and Thursday, I thought I’d take the opportunity of the Quick Takes list to describe a bit about the types of assessments I’ve had to do, particularly over this year**.

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7 Quick Takes is hosted at This Ain’t the Lyceum.

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The straight-up essay

This is the assessment I get the most – it covers both Psychology and Philosophy modules, and I suppose, is a good way to tell if someone has done the required reading. There is a difference between Psychology and Philosophy essays – namely, the amount of research reading one does for the essay. Because Psychology encourages the scientific use of background studies, we are required to at least provide one original source.

~2~

The presentation

Leading a seminar and teaching one topic of the module is a type of assessment. Some may think that this is one of the hardest types of assessment to do, but, actually, I’m a big fan of presentations – I seem to have a knack for them, at least. They’re less stressful than essays, and take less time, though still involve the same level of research and interpretation of facts. I enjoy educating others, so this style of assessment helps me do just that.

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The alternative assignment

This is a tricky one to describe, as it depends on the seminar leader or lecturer themselves as to what we end up doing. Most are of working on developing independent research ideas. For instance, the most recent alternative assignment I did required me to raise a project proposal/report – just like that of my dissertation, though with less stress! – on one of the many topics we went through during the term.

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The lab practicals

Psychology all the way! Practicals can range from white-lab-coat conical flask awesomeness (!) to puzzling over statistics for hours on computerised systems. (This has happened to me.) University is a prime for the ‘real world’ – apparently, in some eyes – and practicals help students to expand from the theoretical side of what they’re learning to the working side side.

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The Online Quizzes

These are marked, too, often as a first- and second-year assessment level to encourage background reading for modules that cannot be fully explained in lectures. They consolidate knowledge and prime for exams.

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The non-marked

Often, these are essay plans or little one-page to test for writing skills. Practise, so to speak. So, technically, I’m cheating with this being a type of assessment, but these types of work, called by some ‘formative’, are as crucial to build skills and knowledge towards other assessments. Not as often given out, but as necessary as any other assessment.

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I pray for those with work to or who feel overwhelmed, particularly students. May God’s light guide them to knowledge.

*Of which there is only four weeks left.

**This also counts as a type of assessment, but is ongoing and far more complicated and layered than a simple paragraph will do justice.