Friday, 11 July 2014

♥ How To: Cope with your Reading List!

This time last year I'd just gotten confirmation of my place at Falmouth University and I had a rather large Reading List to not only purchase, but attempt to get through before term started. Did I manage this? Well, I purchased almost everything - some of the semester two books could wait a little while - but I never actually read a single book. All year. I skimmed through most and read enough to be able to hold an argument in a seminar and I somehow held enough knowledge of the books I wrote essays on to get 2:1's all round in my second semester... But leaving these readings until the week before the seminar pops up, or (worst case scenario)*, until you need to write an essay is never a good idea.

I've recently been given the reading lists for my second year on my Creative Writing degree and though it only includes four core modules worth of reading at the moment there's a whopping 31 texts for me to get through before summer is up. And I'm still waiting for my other two modules lists to come through! We are definitely looking at over forty books or texts and if that's not a daunting summer long task, I honestly don't know what is.

So, before ending up in a pickle and using your Reading Week** to catch up on all that work you've failed to do, make sure you at least start some of your reading.

Start early
Purchase your books as soon as you know what it is you're going to need. It could be pricey if you get them in all one go, so buy them in a couple of sections. Second semester books can wait until Christmas time!

Charity shops are your friends!
If you're doing an English degree there's a chance you'll have a few classics you'll need to get your hands on. Charity shops are popping up all over the place and sell books super cheap. Trawl through them whenever you see one and you may just find that Shakespeare for £2!

Amazon - 1p books? Yes please!
Second hand book sellers on Amazon sell loads of books for one penny (and a £2.80 postage charge) which is really good. A lot of the time they've never been tampered with so it's definitely worth going through Amazon before heading to Waterstones!

If you do pick up academic books up of Amazon, they may be annotated by previous owners (I've bought a few which have been and it's been a godsend). A few of the more complex books you may need to make notes in - then you're prepared with questions when you hit a certain topic.

Second Years
Get involved in the online community most universities set up for students. At Falmouth we have countless course pages and the second years were selling the books they'd purchased for first year to us freshers for £1 a book in them. Don't be afraid to post in group pages asking about the opportunity to take some of their old books off their hands.

Don't rely on the library
If you end up borrowing all your books from the library and forget to renew them or take them back in time you're going to be left with a rather large fine - one which would cost more than the books would have. It's really not worth borrowing them if you know there's a chance you'll forget to return them! For some of the more expensive academic books, it might be your only option but make sure to return or renew. You can do this online, too, so it's not much of a hassle.

If reading this has worried you, please, don't panic! My reading list is insane because I do an English based degree. Many other degrees don't have as extensive reading lists but there is a chance you'll still have to buy a few academic books which can get pretty costly so do shop around!

*Do not let yourself get into a worst case scenario. If you're still to read the novel you're writing about two weeks before deadline you'll have put yourself under unnecessary pressure and your work will suffer!

**Reading Week is actually a thing, but in my first year we had to show up to more than we would in a usual week at university! So you may end up pretty busy and unable to tackle a hefty workload. Also, it's a week off!!! You wanna enjoy it - not be stuck in doing work!

I hope if you've received a reading list you're looking forward to reading some of the stuff included! Good Luck!

Em x


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