CoffeeAndPolitics: The Journey to Achieving a 1st Class Degree - Year 2 (2020/21)

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CoffeeAndPolitics
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About Me
Hi everyone! I'm CoffeeAndPolitics aka JT (my initials), I'm 20 and I'm from South East London. I'm currently studying BA Social and Political Sciences at the University of York.
Academic Record
Year 1
: Due to Covid-19, all of my outstanding assessments were cancelled and subsequently, I didn't get an overall grade for Year 1 but was allowed to automatically progress to Year 2. Based on the assignments I did complete, I think I'm currently averaging mid to high 2.1.

A-level: B in Economics (Edexcel A), C in History (OCR) and B in Sociology (AQA).

GCSEs: 7/A in English Literature (AQA), 6/B in English Language (AQA) and 5/C in Mathematics (Edexcel)
BB in Core and Additional Science (AQA), A in Cantonese Chinese (Edexcel), B in Computing (OCR), B in French (AQA) and B in History (OCR).

What Are You Studying This Year?

Back in late February, I chose my modules which are all 30 credit modules and had arranged a meeting with my Head of Department as I was struggling to choose modules which complement each other. I eventually settled on the following:

SPY00012I Social Research Methods (Core Module)
POL00008I Politics in the United Kingdom
*
SPY00002I The Policy Process
SPY00016I Victimisation & Social Harm


* I wish I could take 'POL00032I The European Union: Politics & Policies' but this wasn't offered as an optional module that I could take for my course.

All of my modules are assessed via coursework over the year except for my politics module which is assessed by 40% coursework and 60% exam (it's open exam this year due to Covid-19).

Goals And Aims For This Year
Definitely NOT to leave my assignments to the last minute as I did for my politics summative essay of which I was lucky to get a 2.2 in. Also, I should take full advantage of the academic support I'm receiving and I would like to end the year with a minimum of a 2.1 - I'd be happy with that.

Tag List?
I won't be doing a tag list for my blog this year.

Blog Posts
Spoiler:
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To be updated in due course.
Last edited by CoffeeAndPolitics; 7 months ago
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Wednesday 23rd September 2020

It's currently Week 0 of Autumn term and I'll be joining my two other housemates in York and moving in for the very first time on Friday. I'm actually feeling a bit nervous moving back up to York because of the current Covid-19 situation but I think I'll be alright. Atm, I still need to pack the suitcases and buy a new frying pan because someone from my old uni accommodation stole my frying pan. :mad:

Anyways, things are rather hectic atm. As a committee member for two societies (Lib Dem Society and Social and Political Sciences Society), I've been working collaboratively with other committee members to painstakingly plan events for the term, let alone for Freshers! In short, planning events hasn't been easy and with the latest Covid-19 restrictions, we're limited in what we can do and have to be creative but we have organised something. Additionally, I'm also peer mentoring 3 Freshers from The Access Project and another 8 Freshers for the Sociology Department at uni this term as I really enjoy volunteering and want to support Freshers with their transition to uni life and ensure that they settle in well. So far, I've sent out emails introducing myself and began organising peer mentoring sessions. Furthermore, as a Department Rep, I've been relaying departmental information about teaching and learning arrangements to my fellow students and filmed a short video for my Head of Department to include in his PowerPoint presentation for the department's virtual induction.

This term will feel rather strange in terms of teaching and learning arrangements because the vast majority of it is online-based and I only have regular in person seminars for 'SPY00012I Social Research Methods' and 'POL00008I Politics in the United Kingdom' but the latter is in person one week and online the following week. It's definitely not ideal but I'm grateful that I still have some contact hours!

Things I need to sort out soon:
  1. Contact my GP to update my details + book a virtual appointment to see a doctor regarding my exam anxiety.
    -> I was supposed to get this sorted last year but I didn't get round to doing so. I'm hoping to obtain a doctor's note for my exam anxiety so I can proceed to sort out an SSP (student support plan) with my uni.
  2. Call up a couple of driving instructors in York regarding driving lessons.
    -> TL;DR I started auto driving lessons back in July and was in a position to book a driving test for September but there weren't any available as there's high demand due to Covid-19. Currently, I've got a driving test booked for November in York and I need to find a new driving instructor asap. I need to practice around the test centre in York and work on my weaknesses which are massive roundabouts (I'm getting better at those) and nailing my parking manoeuvres - I can do the manoeuvres and correct them if I make a mistake.
  3. Paying off bills for my new uni accommodation.
    -> :zomg: Erm yeah... My tenancy started in July which isn't ideal and I've already paid rent several times for nothing (not much I can do about it) and now I need to sort out the utility bills with my housemates. That will be fun...
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Saturday 26th September 2020

Yesterday, I moved back up to York and into my new student house for the first time as I was unable to do so when the tenancy started in early July as my Dad was working then. TL;DR the journey up to York from London was a literal nightmare - it took us 6 hours! See spoiler for more details.
Spoiler:
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My Dad was an idiot and decided to go via the M1, M18, A1(M) and A64 (York Ring Circle) instead of going via the M11 (towards Cambridge/Huntingdon), A1/A1(M) and A64 (York Ring Circle) which is a lot quicker. Tbf to my Dad, there was just a lot of motorists on the road and roadworks on some stretch of the M1 and the A1/A1(M).

Anyways, I've managed to sort out my room (it's the biggest in our student house - for context, I had a small room in my first year) but I need to get a corkboard which I'll hang on the wall (there are some pre-existing nails on the wall so it should be stable if I hang it with some string) and pin some pictures to make my room feel a bit more homely.

Later this morning, I'll be doing my first peer mentoring session as an Access Project Alumni Peer Mentor where I'll be supporting 3 freshers with their transition to uni life and ensuring that they settle in well. I'm feeling a mix of excitement and nerves but I'll be fine. Then, I need to pop into Aldi and into town to get a few things. I might meet up with a friend as well and ofc socially distanced but it depends if we're both free.

In terms of the week ahead (Week 1), I finally have access to the module pages on the VLE except for 'SPY00002I The Policy Process' so I'll check again later today and drop an email to the module convenor if I still don't have access to it. All the lectures and activities are up so I can do that in my own time.

Things I need to sort out soon:

  1. Contact my GP to update my details + book a virtual appointment to see a doctor regarding my exam anxiety.
    -> I was supposed to get this sorted last year but I didn't get round to doing so. I'm hoping to obtain a doctor's note for my exam anxiety so I can proceed to sort out an SSP (student support plan) with my uni.
  2. Call up a couple of driving instructors in York regarding driving lessons.
    -> TL;DR I started auto driving lessons back in July and was in a position to book a driving test for September but there weren't any available as there's high demand due to Covid-19. Currently, I've got a driving test booked for November in York and I need to find a new driving instructor asap. I need to practice around the test centre in York and work on my weaknesses which are massive roundabouts (I'm getting better at those) and nailing my parking manoeuvres - I can do the manoeuvres and correct them if I make a mistake.
    ->> I'll sort this out later today if not definitely tomorrow.
  3. Paying off bills for my new uni accommodation.
    -> :zomg: Erm yeah... My tenancy started in July which isn't ideal and I've already paid rent several times for nothing (not much I can do about it) and now I need to sort out the utility bills with my housemates. That will be fun...
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Lemur14
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Best of luck with the year
Can confirm, sorting utility bills is annoying :lol: Thankfully my lovely housemate organised it after we checked out the best deals, and most of our bills are included in rent already so it wasn't too bad, other than trying to persuade the old company to stop supplying us :facepalm:
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(Original post by Lemur14)
Best of luck with the year
Can confirm, sorting utility bills is annoying :lol: Thankfully my lovely housemate organised it after we checked out the best deals, and most of our bills are included in rent already so it wasn't too bad, other than trying to persuade the old company to stop supplying us :facepalm:
Thanks, best of luck to you as well!

Sorting utility bills is definitely annoying but at least paying my share of the rent for my student house is straight forward. One of my housemates (AH) basically said one of us should put our name on the account for the different utility bills so my name is on our account with Yorkshire Water, AH with Green Network Energy (Gas+Electric) and RE with Virgin Media. We actually switched suppliers for Gas and Electricity (Dual Fuel Tariff) from NPower to Green Network Energy which was a fantastic idea because their dual fuel tariff is a lot cheaper (I'm not sure if the previous tenants had a fixed or variable tariff though) and 100% of the electricity they supply comes from renewable sources so we're doing our bit for the planet.
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(Original post by CoffeeAndPolitics)
Thanks, best of luck to you as well!

Sorting utility bills is definitely annoying but at least paying my share of the rent for my student house is straight forward. One of my housemates (AH) basically said one of us should put our name on the account for the different utility bills so my name is on our account with Yorkshire Water, AH with Green Network Energy (Gas+Electric) and RE with Virgin Media. We actually switched suppliers for Gas and Electricity (Dual Fuel Tariff) from NPower to Green Network Energy which was a fantastic idea because their dual fuel tariff is a lot cheaper (I'm not sure if the previous tenants had a fixed or variable tariff though) and 100% of the electricity they supply comes from renewable sources so we're doing our bit for the planet.
Thank you! Yeah rent is a lot easier since it's on a direct debit (at least it is for me). Thankfully we only had to sort gas and electricity which we went for for dual tariff so wasn't too much to set up, once whoever the people before us were on had been persuaded to stop supplying us :facepalm:
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(Original post by Lemur14)
Thank you! Yeah rent is a lot easier since it's on a direct debit (at least it is for me). Thankfully we only had to sort gas and electricity which we went for for dual tariff so wasn't too much to set up, once whoever the people before us were on had been persuaded to stop supplying us :facepalm:
Nice. Rent is still a bit of a faff for me as I just do a bank transfer to the landlord. Dual fixed tariff for gas and electricity is definitely a really good idea because it tends to work out cheaper that way. We still need to get the bills sorted which is giving me a bit of anxiety but I do have close friends (they're graduates) who can signpost me and offer me advice as and when I need it so not a big issue.
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(Original post by CoffeeAndPolitics)
Nice. Rent is still a bit of a faff for me as I just do a bank transfer to the landlord. Dual fixed tariff for gas and electricity is definitely a really good idea because it tends to work out cheaper that way. We still need to get the bills sorted which is giving me a bit of anxiety but I do have close friends (they're graduates) who can signpost me and offer me advice as and when I need it so not a big issue.
Ahh that's a little annoying, I guess that's the advantage of being with a letting agency! It does Good luck with sorting that :hugs: It shouldn't be too difficult, just do your research to make sure you're on the cheapest for each and it'll be fine :yep:
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Saturday 3rd October 2020

It's been a just over a week now since I've moved up to York and needless to say, things just feel vastly different but I'm settling in really well in my student house.

In terms of teaching and learning this week, I found it to be quite a breeze (I won't be saying that for much longer - trust me) as it was mostly introductory content for each of my modules (politics always starts teaching in Week 2 of any term). My weekly tutorial for 'SPY00012I Social Research Methods' late yesterday afternoon was weird and interesting at the same time. What was definitely weird for me was seeing campus so eerily quiet and being placed into much smaller groups for the limited in-person teaching (room capacity depends on what room we've been allocated - everything being at least 1 metre apart). Despite this, I actually enjoyed my tutorial and my first in-person teaching of this term as we have a really nice academic leading our tutorial group. We spent some time getting to know each other and check how we're all doing before discussing about the online tasks we had to complete and go over things we didn't understand and/or found interesting. Then we spent the reminder of the session trying to differentiate between qualitative and quantitative data (I already knew what the differences are but some didn't as they didn't study A-level sociology and/or psychology) with the context of Covid-19 thrown in. Ngl it was really easy for me to slightly swerve off-topic but we looked at things such as the stats/figures for Covid-19 infections on a daily basis and why it's difficult to get a true picture of what's going on as well as the implications Covid has on society, e.g. we talked in great depth about how us youths were being scapegoated and labelled as 'folk devils' for flouting the rules when it's actually only a minority. With that, we talked about individuals' perception towards risk and why some people 'bend the rules' (this phrase reminds me of my fomer economics teacher in Year 12) which was fascinating, e.g. some people may be comfortable eating out but not visiting vulnerable family members to provide support.

Anyways for the rest of the week, I didn't get up to much considerably but I did meet up with a couple of friends (obviously socially distanced) as we haven't seen each other in-person since March and that was great. I went to the local pub near the uni with one friend and thankfully it was very quiet otherwise I wouldn't have bothered (goes back to my point on risk perception lmao). I also popped into town to get myself a throw because it's very cold up north and some cream for my finger because I got bitten by some pesky spiders presumably. On that note, there were quite a few spiders around when I moved in and I had to sort that out.

Today, I'm stuck indoors for the day as I'm helping out with Virtual Freshers Fair for two societies: the Lib Dem Society and the Social and Political Sciences (SPS) Society and if it weren't for that, I would've met up with another close friend of mine.

Things I need to sort out soon:

  1. Contact my GP to update my details + book a virtual appointment to see a doctor regarding my exam anxiety.
    -> I was supposed to get this sorted last year but I didn't get round to doing so. I'm hoping to obtain a doctor's note for my exam anxiety so I can proceed to sort out an SSP (student support plan) with my uni.->> I'll sort this out on Monday.
  2. Call up a couple of driving instructors in York regarding driving lessons.
    -> TL;DR I started auto driving lessons back in July and was in a position to book a driving test for September but there weren't any available as there's high demand due to Covid-19. Currently, I've got a driving test booked for November in York and I need to find a new driving instructor asap. I need to practice around the test centre in York and work on my weaknesses which are massive roundabouts (I'm getting better at those) and nailing my parking manoeuvres - I can do the manoeuvres and correct them if I make a mistake.
    ->> Not having much luck all week but will keep on trying.
  3. Paying off bills for my new uni accommodation.
    -> :zomg: Erm yeah... My tenancy started in July which isn't ideal and I've already paid rent several times for nothing (not much I can do about it) and now I need to sort out the utility bills with my housemates. That will be fun... ->> I need to speak to my housemates about this asap - one is already struggling with his finances and have successfully contacted our landlord for flexibility with paying rent. I did a rough calculation of the bills and stuff and even with the bursary I get from the uni, it's very tight. Fortunately, I still have some money left over from the Summer Term so I should be ok.
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Sunday 11th October 2020

I can't believe it's the end of Autumn Week 2 in terms of undergraduate teaching at my uni - it felt like I was in Week 5 of term where it typically gets quite intense, stressful and tiring. Having said that, I've managed to get through a difficult week.

On Monday, I spent most of the day helping out the Lib Dem society at the in person Freshers Fair and had to cover a committee member's slot for manning the stall (1 person is only allowed to man the stall at any one time!) last minute because they were self-isolating. I ended up swapping over 3 times in total IIRC and I somehow bumped into MajorFader when I swapped over for the last time - I couldn't tell it was him because of the face covering/mask. The in-person Freshers Fair wasn't particularly busy because the student union controled the numbers by asking people to pruchase a free ticket but we did get 13 people on the mailing list which decent and a couple who scanned our QR code. The QR code will send them to a page to purchase a membership if they're really keen and it has details of our social media handles where we post details of social events.

On Tuesday, I didn't get up to much except working my way through the insane amount of content for my modules. I also had a bi-weekly ALT (Academic Leadership Team) meeting with other Department Reps, Faculty Reps and the Academic Officer in which we all catch up on what's going on and raise any concerns/issues we have which should be passed on to senior staff at the uni. After that, I joined a webinar hosted by the Lib Dem society which was focused on answering the question 'Does your vote really matter?' and Vince Cable, Caroline Voaden and Darren Hughes from the Electoral Reform Society were our panellists. Ngl, I missed quite a bit from the webinar as I had to cook dinner but from what I managed to listen to, it was a really intruiging conversation.

On Wednesday, I had a short virtual meeting with my new supervisor via Zoom just to check in with him to see how I'm doing and coping with things - I did mention that I felt slightly overwhelmed with the insane amount of content for my modules that week and how I need to set up a SSP (Student Support Plan) for my exam anxiety. I also met up with a close friend, MB later in the afternoon to browse around the different sports club/society stalls at the in-person Freshers Fair and we both signed up for taster sessions - MB signed up for a boxing taster session and I signed up for a taster session with the cycling club (I didn't realise I got booked on for both days of the weekend lol). We also had a few pints at a college bar which was quiet inside. :cool:

Nothing much happened on Thursday or Friday but I had a virtual seminar on Zoom for POL00008I Politics in the United Kingdom which was an organisational seminar so my seminar tutor just covered what to expect from the module for the hour. I also had my weekly tutorial for SPY00012I Social Research Methods which was awkward because I didn't manage to get round to doing the 'fun' activities (I guess you could call them that?) as I literally felt swamped with the insane amount of content for my modules this week. That meant, I didn't have much to contribute to our conversation so felt like I didn't get an awful lot of out the tutorial but thankfully my tutorial leader understood my situation.

This weekend, I've been involved in taster sessions with the cycling club around the cycle circut on the other campus (Sports Village on Campus East) and I quite enjoyed it tbh. I didn't have my own road bike so had to borrow one from the club and the bike I used today was slightly big for me even with the seat saddle on the lowest position - it was a bit uncomfortable tbh but I managed nonetheless. Atm, I'm feeling quite iffy whether to get actively involved with the cycling club because I have other commitments and they're also planning to take us out on the roads a bit which I feel uncomfortable about as I'm quite an inexperienced cyclist.

Anyways, the upcoming week seems to be less intense but I do have daily virtual training as Department Rep and I know I won't be able to make all of them due to other commitments.
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laurawatt
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Sounds good! :danceboy:
Hope you have a fab week coming up
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(Original post by laurawatt)
Sounds good! :danceboy:
Hope you have a fab week coming up
Thanks, Laura. I'll be attending a few virtual events in the upcoming week which will be great - one's a really interesting webinar about what's happening in China, specifically their treatment of the Ughuir population and we're also doing a virtual drinks night (obviously you don't have to drink if you don't want to). I'm really hoping that things aren't looking too bad tomorrow when the government announces new Covid-19 measures because Covid-19 cases per 100,000 in the population has been rising quickly in the Yorkshire and Humber region as well as the North East and North West compared with the south. To be honest, I don't know what to expect because tighter local/regional Covid-19 measures doesn't seem to be working. Hope you have a good week too!
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(Original post by CoffeeAndPolitics)
Thanks, Laura. I'll be attending a few virtual events in the upcoming week which will be great - one's a really interesting webinar about what's happening in China, specifically their treatment of the Ughuir population and we're also doing a virtual drinks night (obviously you don't have to drink if you don't want to). I'm really hoping that things aren't looking too bad tomorrow when the government announces new Covid-19 measures because Covid-19 cases per 100,000 in the population has been rising quickly in the Yorkshire and Humber region as well as the North East and North West compared with the south. To be honest, I don't know what to expect because tighter local/regional Covid-19 measures doesn't seem to be working. Hope you have a good week too!
Ooh sounds good! (not the treatment of Uyghur Muslims, but the webinar and drink events )
Yeah, things aren't looking too good for the Yorkshire/Humber/Midlands areas at the mo, I think they'll be implementing the 3-tiered system tomorrow? (or that's what i've heard anyway) for the rules in different regions depending on the cases per 100,000
I think there's meant to be an announcement about gcse/a-level exams too which will be very welcome considering the uncertainty!
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Honestly it’s crazy how we I managed to turn around in that moment. 😭😭

But congrats on being on that committee though! Really hope you get a first this year, genuinely!
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(Original post by laurawatt)
Ooh sounds good! (not the treatment of Uyghur Muslims, but the webinar and drink events )
Yeah, things aren't looking too good for the Yorkshire/Humber/Midlands areas at the mo, I think they'll be implementing the 3-tiered system tomorrow? (or that's what i've heard anyway) for the rules in different regions depending on the cases per 100,000
I think there's meant to be an announcement about gcse/a-level exams too which will be very welcome considering the uncertainty!
Indeed! Things aren't looking really good for the Yorkshire and Humber region, certain parts of the Midlands nor for the North East and North West. From what I've heard so far, Liverpool will be facing some of the toughest restrictions as they have 600 cases per 100,000. Hopefully, there's an annoucement from the DfE regarding next year's exams because my sibling is due to sit his A-Level exams next summer and certainty about that is much needed.
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(Original post by MajorFader)
Honestly it’s crazy how we I managed to turn around in that moment. 😭😭

But congrats on being on that committee though! Really hope you get a first this year, genuinely!
Hahaha. I was rather bored because there wasn't a lot of people around and most people just walked past the Lib Dem society stall. I kept looking at the entrance to the in-person Freshers Fair and then I clocked that there was someone who looked like you (turns out it was actually you) but wasn't 100% certain because of the face covering/mask. :laugh:

Thanks, I assume you're referring to me being on the SPS Society committee. Before first year officially ended (it technically ended in March lol), I was asked by a third year student at the time (she's now doing a MA in Social Policy in London?) if I wanted to be co-opted as Treasurer and effectively replace her and I said yes. Ngl, the society is a bit shaky atm because we still have quite a few things to sort out, i.e. moving to a new mailing system and finalising social events for this term. For the Lib Dem society, we have a co-option soon to temporarily fill in vacant roles until our EGM in early November and I intend to run for Press and Publicity or just stay in my current role as BAME and Campaigns Officer. For the latter role, I haven't done anything since around January/February although technically I can volunteer to help the local party to deliver routine leaflets in our held wards but I don't feel comfortable doing it atm. Also, I'm near certain York will face tighter restrictions as cases per 100,000 in the population has been rising exponentially and I think it's around or just under 200 cases 100,000 in the population which is worrying. I doubt there will be a regional lockdown but if there is, I'll probably yeet out of York asap - that is much easier said than done btw if it comes to that (I really hope not).

Edit: Thanks bro! I really hope I get a first this year (would still be happy with a high 2:1) and likewise for yourself.
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Monday 19th October 2020

It's the start of Autumn Week 4 in terms of undergraduate teaching and York has sinced moved into Tier 2 - High for local Covid-19 restrictions which isn't great news but I'm still keeping well.

Not an awful lot has happened last week apart from the limited face to face teaching I had and by the end of the week, I had a mini breakdown as I just felt overwhelmed with the academic workload and couldn't do any work. Things are also rather hectic at the moment as a Department Rep as I'm dealing with numerous complaints about the provisions of online teaching for one of my feeder departments (I'm taught between different departments) and I found out this afternoon that this very issue extends to third year students as well. Great!

Last weekend, I took some time to reset and literally took a break because I felt physically and mentally exhausted and it was literally Netflix and chill lmao. At least I feel much better now and I'm now on top of everything once more - I did some work yesterday to ease my workload for the week ahead. On that very point, I should start preparing my formative assignment for Politics in the UK (POL00008I) which I need to submit via email in 3 weeks time (Autumn Week 7) and make use of the Writing Centre once I've wrote about 1,000 words of the essay - it's a 1,500 word essay actually - to ensure I'm referencing properly and can write properly lol.

Today, I finished making lecture notes for the third part of the lecture for my politics module and had an Exec Committee meeting with the SPS Society via Zoom - we just discussed our plans for the term and had a casual chat. Later in the afternoon, we cleaned out the fridge because of a minor accident - something leaked through the fridge and it started to smell pretty bad. As we were doing that, I opened the kitchen window and it was fair to say myself and my two housemates were literally ******** ourselves and on edge when a cat managed to get in to the house. Unfortunately, the cat did make it to my room and I had to hoover the carpet afterwards. One of my housemates said that the cat in question might be the cat that everyone is reportedly seeing around the neighbourhood who sneaks into people's houses for food. We just let the cat out of the house via the front door afterwards and it looks alright - hopefully, it's just wondering around the neighbourhood and makes it back to its owner(s). If things can't get worse this afternoon, we made an unpleasant discovery in the attic of our student house, the roof/walls seem to be structually unsound as we have bits of dried cement/what seems to look like pieces of rock falling through the floor and there's a similar problem in the cupboard underneath the stairs. TL;DR it was a horrific discovery and I'm shocked my landlord hasn't bothered resolving the issues - our rent + bills per week don't come in exactly cheap but it's not too bad. In truth though, my housemates and I have the legal right to sue our landlord if something bad does happen because the tenacy agreement explicitly states that if the house we're renting is uninhabitable, they need to provide us with alternative accommodation if possible/essentially compensate us. So yeah, that's already got me thinking a little about where I'm living next year and given it's early days, I'm undecided. But there's a good possibility that if I decide to live with my current housemates again, it won't be in our current house even though it's in a really lovely part of York and relatively close to the uni.
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Monday 26th October 2020

Since I last updated exactly a week ago (it literally feels like a while ago to me), a lot has actually happened which is just really hard to take in and I've been feeling rather rough today (I have a cold) but I feel a lot better than I did most of today. Tbh, I should be off to bed right now but somehow I'm writing this update instead...

As I said in previous updates now, I'm still finding the blended teaching and learning approach rather difficult to adjust to and things are about to get much worse by tenfold (probably an exaggeration or maybe not...) because my uni will be moving to DfE Tier 2 for teaching and learning provisions from next week which is highly likely going to mean an increase in online teaching and learning provisions. We're in a transition week this week and nothing much has changed except all the in-person teaching scheduled in my timetable which has been moved online. Rather frustratingly, there's still a lack of online seminars for The Policy Process (SPY00002I) and Victimisation and Social Harm (SPY00016I) and I'm struggling with the latter module in particular because I have really neglected the module and feel like I haven't fully understood the content covered so far - the workload in general is just unhealthy and we don't have a guide really telling us what's the 'absolute minimum' we need to do. This sounds bad even when I say it out loud because, with the current situation, lecturers have created a plethora of online activities but we can't do everything as we're strapped for time and it's literally impossible to do everything - it's not even necessary most of the time tbh. So yeah, that sucks!

In general, I'm just under a lot of stress atm which isn't helped by the fact I've been appointed Department Rep for this academic year during a ****ing pandemic. I enjoy being an academic rep but the current situation has definitely taken its toll on me and I hate how much free time I'm spending dealing with what seems to be endless concerns and issues about the online teaching and learning provisions my uni is currently offering. Fortunately, things will get better once Course Reps are elected and in role in 2 weeks so on the academic representation side of things, I can delegate tasks and responsibilities between my Course Reps. Atm, I really need to be careful with my general well-being tbh and I definitely need to set strict 'work hours' for my role as Department Rep because otherwise, it will get over the top very easily.

To end on a more positive note, despite everything I'm going through (and I'm sure everyone else is going through something similar), I did have some time to literally unwind and relax and did just that - been watching a lot of Brooklyn Nine Nine and some stuff on YouTube. Also, it was nice to talk to a couple of my coursemates virtually to talk about course-related stuff and just have a casual chat about things in general.

[Checks time and it's almost midnight... ooops... *hits button to upload blog update* ]
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CoffeeAndPolitics
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#19
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#19
Wednesday 4th November 2020

It's been over a week since my last update and on Saturday evening, it was announced that England will be going into yet another national lockdown (lockdown 2:electric boogaloo) from 00:01 tomorrow which obviously isn't good news. I'm going to be staying in York with my housemates and I did quite two rounds of grocery shopping, including the one today and my shelves for the fridge and freezer are now packed to the brim - I don't want to be constantly popping out to do grocery shopping although the scenes in Morrisons was much calmer than last Friday, maybe it was just people's payday and/or Halloween, who knows...

Anyways, uni life is still rather hectic and stressful and I've been persistent in urging the university to improve the quality of its online learning provisions and raised other concerns such as the mental health and well-being of students during these profoundly challenging times - the workload for starters is literally ludicrous, everyone I know is falling behind, regardless of what faculty they fall under: Arts & Humanities; Social Sciences and Sciences. Despite this, I'm trying my best to prioritise everything that I need to do (there's quite a lot) but as an absolute minimum, I'm prioritising lecture notes and the readings and I'm doing well for this week. I do have a formative essay for politics which I need to write and may need to do a few all-nighters depending on the situation but I don't think it will get to that point - it's just a 1,500 word essay due next week Friday at 16:00.

On the bright side of things, I've taken the opportunity to meet up with some close friends over the weekend and on Monday which has helped with my mental health (it's been rather wayward) - just nice to have a proper catch up albeit socially distanced. I'll be keeping in regular contact with friends and family so I should be fine. Also, I can meet up with one other person outdoors from tomorrow but I need to read into the guidance regarding outdoor exercise as I don't intend to break the rules and frankly, we need to pull together as a nation in England to get Covid cases down. In York, we are seeing encouraging signs as on a weekly basis, cases per 100k are falling gradually from the peak of around the 280-ish mark per 100k or whatever it was because the latest verified data published by the council says it's currently 190-ish per 100k. But we can't be complacent ever.

For the rest of this week, I don't have a lot planned in terms of virtual social events but I'm doing Netflix Party with a few of my friends on Friday night and I might do an impromptu Among Us games night. With the impending lockdown from 00:01 tomorrow, I'm definitely going to ensure I get enough fresh air and exercise because that's really important for everyone.
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Lemur14
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Hope you had a good social on Friday and :goodluck: with this essay! Hopefully shouldn't need all nighters for that many words, maybe just a couple of late nights

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