History at Uni - Can anyone give a brief outline of what it's like? Watch

JonjoHH
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Hi all,

I've applied to study History at Uni for next year, but I am still unsure on whether I actually want to take the course. Whilst I love the subject, I have a huge fear of public speaking (it actually goes much further than that, as I suffer from social anxiety and rarely communicate with people - not through dislike, but mostly fear/embarrassment) and I understand presentations are an integral feature of the course, which, as you can imagine, is a nightmare for me.

I've received offers from five universities and I'm running out of time to decide. I find it sad that something as trivial as public speaking could prevent me from going to University, but at the same time, just thinking of going there and having to do it makes me feel incredibly uneasy. It's frustrating, as I don't really know what else to do.

Anyway, the main point of creating this topic, was to gain current/previous History students' outlook on the course. Obviously it varies across Universities, but I expect most follow similar procedures.


  • What would an average week involve for a History student?
  • How regular are Presentations? And what do they actually entail?
  • What are lectures/seminars like?
  • How many people would be in each class?
  • And is History at university enjoyable?
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the mezzil
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1) Essay writing, reflection writing and pre lecture/ seminar readings as well as the lectures/ seminars itself.
2) I never had a presentation, I got assessed by weekly reading critiques, essays and exams
3)Lectures are big halls with lots of people in. The main key features of the topic for that week is discussed in a broad detail, and you then go away and read a range of sources and write about it. Seminars is where you learn in depth a particular part of that weeks lecture (usually the main point) and discuss various arguments/ interpretations with your classmates.
4) Lectures = 100s, seminars = 10 - 15
5) If you like history apply, if you don't like history don't apply. It is that simple. There is no real answer for this question, it is what you make of it.

Sometimes you just need to find your courage and overcome your fears. I found a "fudge it" attitude helps with anything that is related to public speaking. It is an life changing experience, it would be a shame to miss out on it because you didn't have the guts to go through with it. I know I sound harsh, but sometimes you just have to grin and take it.
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eelnais
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What would an average week involve for a History student?
For me, going to lectures and seminars, doing my reading for the week and socialising. History is good for socialising as there isn't a lot of contact hours.
How regular are Presentations? And what do they actually entail?
What presentations? The closest thing I've ever had to that is a group project, once, where we stood up and acted something out. So once in a year?
What are lectures/seminars like?
Lectures are more chill, you just sit there and take notes while the lecturer talks. Seminars are more interactive, you discuss your reading and the issues/themes from the lecture topic.
How many people would be in each class?
Hundreds in lectures, 10-15 in seminars.
And is History at university enjoyable?
Huuuuugely. I adore it.
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Zarek
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3 lectures a week. Lots of reading. Very boring. Just surmising, mind..
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sherlock_lover_1
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Hey!
I am studying History and in my second year! I think studying history is highly difficult but very rewarding!
If you are passionate for the subject it's highly enjoyable.
There is a lot of reading!! I won't lie but the reading can be interesting especially after first year when it becomes more personalized to your interests...
Seminars can be quite daunting! but there are procedures in place if you are struggling with any of these things!
Lecture can be long! and a lot of information!

But benefits!!
It's a valuable degree with a lot of transferable skills!
the past is so much more interesting than the present - it has to be said!
Reading is fun when it's about an area you want to read!
Tutors try to make it interesting for you - they are humans, they are aware it's a lot of information and a lot of lecture slides is boring! Hey! I got to watch horrible histories in one of my lectures haha!
Everyone should know what happening prior to their existence as it will shape the future!


"
  • What would an average week involve for a History student?
  • How regular are Presentations? And what do they actually entail?
  • What are lectures/seminars like?
  • How many people would be in each class?
  • And is History at university enjoyable?"

At my university, in order:

Average weeks - I am scheduled for about 10 hours! My tutor says it's best to treat your degree like a job if you can. Obviously life tends to get in the way so this is difficult but if you work 9-5 on university work including lectures and so forth it's the right balance between studying and having a life haha!
Lectures are enjoyable! They can be boring! No lying! but as I said Tutors are humans they want you to be passionate for their subject so they will attempt to jazz it up a little!
Presentations are not that often tbh! I had 1 in first year, 0 in second year woo!
I have anxiety too! so I HATE HATE HATE presentations! but it isn't as daunting as you think! it's kinda fun in a really weird way and everyone hates it lol. You stand up, deliever a speech on whatever they usually ask you to be interactive with your audience i.e perhaps a quiz, slideshow, handouts - it's too guage interest and ensure your audience isn't falling alsleep haha!
Seminars are pretty sure, I think max is like 15-20
Lecture is everyone who takes the topic or your year, can be daunting but just sit at the back! the lecturer never speaks to you anyway they literally just talk for an hour! haha

and yeah! I love it! best decision I ever made! don't be put off! if you aren't enjoying it there are always options!
Good luck!!
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nwalden
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(Original post by eelnais)
What would an average week involve for a History student?
For me, going to lectures and seminars, doing my reading for the week and socialising. History is good for socialising as there isn't a lot of contact hours.
How regular are Presentations? And what do they actually entail?
What presentations? The closest thing I've ever had to that is a group project, once, where we stood up and acted something out. So once in a year?
What are lectures/seminars like?
Lectures are more chill, you just sit there and take notes while the lecturer talks. Seminars are more interactive, you discuss your reading and the issues/themes from the lecture topic.
How many people would be in each class?
Hundreds in lectures, 10-15 in seminars.
And is History at university enjoyable?
Huuuuugely. I adore it.
Which university do you go to?
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returnmigrant
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The History Dept at the Uni of Cambridge has a 'virtual classroom' with lots of info about 'how to study History' - primary sources, suggested reading etc etc. Lots of helpful stuff if you intend to study History at Uni.
http://www.hist.cam.ac.uk/prospectiv...tual-classroom

Also, a really useful book to buy and read over the summer. It introduces you to some of the main ideas you'll get to study and makes it all look a lot less scary - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Studying-His.../dp/1403987343
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EloiseStar
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(Original post by JonjoHH)
Hi all,


  • What would an average week involve for a History student?
  • How regular are Presentations? And what do they actually entail?
  • What are lectures/seminars like?
  • How many people would be in each class?
  • And is History at university enjoyable?
1) I don't really have an 'average week'. Towards the end of the semester when I have quite a lot of deadlines (in comparison to mid-term) I normally spend my evenings reading/essay writing and the days attending lectures.
2) I've only done one presentation so far. I was given a specialist topic within a module. I had to do all the reading on it (we were given a brief outline of some areas to consider) and then we have to teach it to a group (avg. 10 people). Normally some interactive element between the group will bump your grade too.
3) Lectures are when you are bombarded with information, dates, ideas (then you go back and research it in depth). Seminars you discuss the topics of the lectures.
4) First years are about 75 per module, but as you become more specialised, the groups are smaller. 10 or so for seminars.
5) YES!
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