Over the autumn term and into the beginning of this term I have been reading more than ever before at university. Now this may be partially through sheer panic that I have less than 3 months until I finish university for good, but it may also be because I am really enjoying what I’m learning! My dissertation, which I introduced in my last post, is now the main focus of my daily life and I spend most of my study time researching for books and articles related to international students and feelings of belonging in the UK. For this I use the Library Search function but if the University library do not provide the article I am looking for I search Google for a pdf file if it’s available. Usually if it doesn’t bring anything up I will choose something closely related to the article I was looking for or something else written by the same author. This is relatively easy to find on Library Search where you can filter resources by author, article type, date and so on.
For my second module I am studying Rural livelihoods in the Global South which is assessed through a 7,000 word learning diary. This requires me to do on average 6-8 readings a week + 2 core readings which must be summarised in a 2 page format and uploaded before the next seminar takes place. It sounds tough but it’s also been teaching me how to manage my time and means that there will be less to do around deadline time in May. I find the readings for this module on our VLE with recommendations for further readings in the online module handbook. I then focus on the themes of each week and try and find my own readings based on them. So, for example, last week we studied land reform in Zimbabwe I used Library Search to find articles and books related to this topic. I also searched directly on Google as the situation in Zimbabwe is extremely dynamic and land reform effects have changed since the articles were written. It’s important that this module’s topics are well researched and up to date as we have to write about every week of the course. It’s also vital to give a personal account of seminar themes and how my learning has changed over the course as we will be assessed based on our interaction and understanding. This is a new concept to me as I am so used to referencing other people’s ideas and work, perhaps that’s why I’m enjoying this term so much! It feels that at last I am able to interact with the course on a personal level, alongside my dissertation which is something that has grown and developed over the past year or so. It also makes reading for these projects so much more entertaining which is always a plus when you have a 40 page article on rural land investment to read!