JT_888: The Journey to Achieving a 1st Class Degree - Year 3 (2021/22)

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About Me
Hi everyone! I'm JT_888 aka JT (my initials) and I study BA Social and Political Sciences at the University of York.

Academic Record
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Year 2: 61.25% Overall (Grade 2.1)
  • Social Research Methods (SPY00012I): 68%
  • Politics in the UK (POL00008I): 61%
  • The Policy Process (SPY00012I): 66%
  • Victimisation and Social Harm (SPY00016I): 50%

Year 1: N/A - Automatic Progression to Year 2
  • Outstanding assessments cancelled due to Covid-19 pandemic.

A-levels: 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).

Third Year Modules
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In April 2021, I chose my option modules for Year 3 which are all 20 credits - the SPS Dissertation module is worth 40 credits.

Autumn Term:
  • The Racial State (SOC00039H)
  • Development Paradigms (POL00064H)

Spring Term:
  • Regionalism in World Politics (POL00051H)
  • Political Economy of New Europe (POL00033H)

Goals & Aims
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The end goal/aim is still very much to graduate with a 1st class degree even though this is a slightly ambitious stretch based on my Year 2 results and the weighting for my degree being changed from 2:3 (40%:60%) to 1:3 (25%:75%).

In short, I'm pretty much guaranteed to graduate with a 2.1 if I get 60% or higher under the new weighting and I would need 73% or higher to graduate with a 1st class. Essentially, this end goal/aim of mine isn't impossible to achieve which is encouraging, provided that I work smarter, not harder!

If for whatever reason, I don't graduate with a 1st class, I would still be very proud of achieving a 2.1 given my experiences with academia since GCSE and A-level.

Next Steps
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After I graduate with a BA in Social and Political Sciences, I definitely want to do a MA in the field of Public Policy before entering the world of work.

At present, I would prefer to stay on at the University of York to study MA Public Administration and Public Policy as I really love studying and living in the City of York. Alternatively, I would seriously consider going to the University of Nottingham to study MA Public Policy as I like their course structure and my cousin/a friend is currently/will be studying there.

I'm not sure what other institutions I would consider, but probably Sheffield, Birmingham, and Leeds?!

Tags
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Chemusen Lemur14 sadforsadboys CoolCavy CheeseIsVeg

I'm not 100% sure on who to tag lmao. I won't be doing a tag list for this blog once again, but if anyone wants me to tag them so they can follow this blog, please let me know.
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Formatting for Blog

Please ignore this post. This is just a copy of the BBCode that I use to format the post for this blog because TSR can be really funny with formatting.

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Good luck for third year! :danceboy:
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(Original post by sadforsadboys)
Good luck for third year! :danceboy:
Thank you! Good luck with your studies!
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(Original post by JT_888)
Thank you! Good luck with your studies!
Thank you!
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Blog Update #1: Tuesday 10th August 2021

What have I been up to since the end of the academic year?
1. Summer Job
For those of you who followed me on my previous blog, I have since secured a Summer job working as a Front of House Team Member at a restaurant which has been going relatively well - I've never worked in hospitality/retail sector before even for a part-time/seasonal job and I've already been learning a lot.

4 weeks into the job, I've already have a good understanding of how the till system works and have some experience of working on tills taking cash and card payments, and I've also been helping out with other operational staff when told by my manager and/or senior colleague.

Unfortunately as of yesterday evening, I've been forced to self-isolate for 10 days (I don't know why my workplace told me 7 days - government guidance isn't exactly helpful at times) because I've been in close contact with 2 of my colleagues who have tested positive for Covid-19. As of present, I don't have any Covid symptoms, I'm fit and well, and I've tested negative for Covid-19 - I did a lateral flow test as I don't have any symptoms.

2. Bright Network On-Demand Internship Experience UK
I suppose there is a good side in being forced to self-isolate for 10 days because I now have ample time to complete outstanding work for my internship with Bright Network which I'm doing asychronously. I just got 2 videos on sector specialist skills to work through and then I need to watch a video explaining the work sample, and complete and submit this by Friday at 11:00.

Having worked my way through the videos on core skills and sector specific skills so far, I'm really impressed with how Bright Network has organised this internship (there was a live version of it and this asychronous version) because what I've learnt so far will definitely be useful further along the line.

3. Netflix
I've been bingewatching a few things on Netflix namely Stranger Things, Pokemon Sun & Moon Ultra Legends, and Pokemon Journeys in my spare time since I have nothing better to do. I'm almost done with Stranger Things Season 3 except for 2 episodes and I cannot wait for Season 4 which is coming out in 2022 - it's just a fantastic series overall and I like how... (warning spoilers)
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... the character of Will Byers has more screentime in Season 2 whereby he is possessed by the Mind Flayer until he is freed from it.

In terms of what I'll probably watch next (I've got a bunch of stuff saved onto my list), I'm probably going to work my way through Umbrella Academy and Sweet Tooth. If anyone has any recommendations, do let me know!

SPS Dissertation Ideas
As I mentioned in my previous blog, I've submitted 2 ideas for my SPS Dissertation: 1) An investigation into the Decline of Liberal Britain and 2) An Investigation into British Electoral Behaviour Since 2015 and I think I'll definitely run with the former idea, albeit I'll be making amendments to the exact topic area, etc. over time.


To cut to the chase, I've really struggled to decide what topic I should focus my dissertation one, but I think the former would make a really good dissertation topic compared to the latter which already has a lot of work produced by academics. The former topic idea is highly topical atm in the media not just in the UK, but globally as many wealthy nation-states are contemplating/discussing the 'controversial' idea of vaccine passports to access certain venues such as restaurants, nightclubs, etc. However, I don't know how to approach this just yet.

I did purchase a copy of William Davies' This is Not Normal: The Collapse of Liberal Britain which I haven't started reading and I really should start doing so - just making notes on the side - as it should hopefully give me a better idea of where to go with this loose dissertation topic idea.

It's also worth noting that I've not been asked to do much on the SPS Dissertation preparation this summer, except doing a bit of reading and trying to firm my ideas. I don't yet know who will be my dissertation supervisor and I feel mixed about that - this will play into the hands of my fellow coursemates who haven't quite decided what topic to do for this dissertation. I suppose this is sensible on the department's side of things because it will totally backfire to quickly allocate dissertation supervisors before the start of Autumn Term when there's a high risk of students wishing to change their dissertation topic altogether. Anyways, I guess I could always drop an email to academic staff in Politics who I think could be my dissertation supervisor and ask them about what they think about my idea so far, etc. But I don't know if it's really worth doing that - there's no rush for now!

QOTD: What are you doing during this Summer break?
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(Original post by JT_888)
QOTD: What are you doing during this Summer break?
That's a good question. Uh, crying x

Nah I'm joking. I've been on this summer "break" since March so my plans are continuing writing, collecting vinyl and FINALLY going to one of the shows I booked tickets for over a year ago!
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That's a good question. Uh, crying x

Nah I'm joking. I've been on this summer "break" since March so my plans are continuing writing, collecting vinyl and FINALLY going to one of the shows I booked tickets for over a year ago!
Had I asked the question: 'How is your day?', I would've jokingly answered crying myself because I'm currently in self-isolation after coming into close contact with 2 colleagues of mine at work who have sadly tested positive for Covid-19. But anyway, I've tested negative for Covid-19 (thank ****) and I still have to isolate for the full 10 days - just been doing stuff for my Bright Network internship which I'm doing asynchronously. I've also spent some time setting up my Notion account (I'm using my uni email) and creating pages for my modules, including my SPS Dissertation module - watched a couple of different ideas just to get a gist of how it works and design the page exactly how I like it. I'll probably do a future post showing a tour of my Notion set-up, but I'm not sure atm - I haven't used Notion before and definitely want to try it out.

Nice, what show will you be going to see? As for myself, I've said before, I'm currently working part-time and doing an internship on the side, but with me being forced into quarantine, I'll probably start doing a little bit of work for my SPS Dissertation - nothing crazy aha. Also, I might as well finish Stranger Things Season 3 as I have time now!
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(Original post by JT_888)
Had I asked the question: 'How is your day?', I would've jokingly answered crying myself because I'm currently in self-isolation after coming into close contact with 2 colleagues of mine at work who have sadly tested positive for Covid-19. But anyway, I've tested negative for Covid-19 (thank ****) and I still have to isolate for the full 10 days - just been doing stuff for my Bright Network internship which I'm doing asynchronously. I've also spent some time setting up my Notion account (I'm using my uni email) and creating pages for my modules, including my SPS Dissertation module - watched a couple of different ideas just to get a gist of how it works and design the page exactly how I like it. I'll probably do a future post showing a tour of my Notion set-up, but I'm not sure atm - I haven't used Notion before and definitely want to try it out.

Nice, what show will you be going to see? As for myself, I've said before, I'm currently working part-time and doing an internship on the side, but with me being forced into quarantine, I'll probably start doing a little bit of work for my SPS Dissertation - nothing crazy aha. Also, I might as well finish Stranger Things Season 3 as I have time now!
Thank goodness for the negative result!

I’m going to see Crystal Methyd who was on Season 12 of RuPaul’s Drag Race!
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Blog Update #2: Wednesday 25th August 2021

Originally, I was going to post another blog update on Monday, but I decided against doing so as I didn't have much to update. I've since changed my mind and you'll find out why...

1. 2nd Covid-19 Vaccination (Pfizer)
Last Saturday, I got my 2nd Pfizer jab at a local hospital near me (it's a fairly big vaccination hub with many different centres - I think there's either 4 or 5) which went really smoothly except me getting a bit confused finding my way around as the signposting was a little unclear. I didn't experience any side effects from the vaccine except the typical sore arm people tend to experience - my left arm was a bit achy the day after.


Anyway, I'm glad that I'm now double-jabbed as that further reduces the chances of me catching Covid and developing a serious illness, including requiring hospitalisation, and passing it unknowingly to somebody - that somebody could literally be anyone! It does put me at ease especially with uni restarting next month and me living in halls again - obviously, we still need to remember Hands. Face. Space. Fresh Air. and adopt a routine of regular testing.

2. Summer Job + Déjà Vu (Self-Isolation)
Work has been rather shaky and disruptive during the last few weeks as my colleagues and I were forced to self-isolate due to coming into close contact with other colleagues who tested positive. As such, I only returned to work during the latter half of last week and was due to start working again today (I was meant to start yesterday, but a colleague asked me to swap shifts with them). However, I've been pinged by NHS Test and Trace App and I now have to self-isolate for 7 days because it has not passed 14 days since I got my 2nd Pfizer jab. Naturally, I'm feeling a bit annoyed that I've been forced into self-isolation again, but Covid cases are raising across the UK and I have to accept it.


This afternoon, I have an appointment for a walk-in PCR test (I don't have any symptoms) which thankfully is nearby and isn't too far to get to by foot. I'm just feeling a bit anxious about it atm of writing this post, but I should be ok. Just hope I get my results back quickly, i.e. nothing later than 48 hours.

As a result of being forced into self-isolation again, I don't start work again until 1st September and even then, I will have to hand in my resignation notice as I'll be going back to York on 11th September. Essentially, I'll only be working for another week and a half (depends on the work rota) of this Summer job.

3. SPS Dissertation
I've made a little bit of progress since the last blog update as I've read the introduction of William Davies' This is Not Normal: The Collapse of Liberal Britain which I found really interesting - it gives a really thorough yet succinct introduction as to why we're seeing the collapse of liberal Britain, especially since the 2016 EU referendum. But rather surprisingly, Davies has an optimistic outlook on the future - he argues that to counteract the collapse of liberal Britain, we should embrace the stability of old liberalism with a kind of practical utopianism that can address the socio-economic challenges that we face. As such, this lays the foundations for a new social/legal system and potentially a new paradigm for public policy and policymakers.


At the moment, I need to tidy up the notes I've written about the introduction on Notion and pull out key bits I've noted in the book in either pencil/Pilot Frixion Pen (you can erase your mistakes) which I'll do later today. I think from then on, I need to collate my thoughts and what I've written about the introduction before deciding what to do next on the dissertation front.

4. Year 3 Accommodation
I still have no idea who I'll be living with for my third year - for those who don't know, I'm moving back to halls - and I just have mixed feelings about moving in soon. I've tried asking again on a private Facebook group with other continuing students in there, but with no luck. I hope whoever I'm living with is nice though.


QOTD: Are you looking forward to the next academic year? Why/why not? / What's your pet peeve(s)?
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Blog Update #3: Thursday 23rd September 2021

I'm back after long hiatus and have now settled in my third year uni accommodation at York (2 weeks as of this Saturday), and a lot has happened since I last updated.

1. Year 3 Accommodation
On Saturday 11th September, I've moved into my third year uni accommodation and since then, we now have 5 people in the house including myself. It's been a bit quiet obviously since I've moved in a bit early before term starts next week (W/C Monday 27th September), but I've had a brief chat with my housemates so far without the awkward small talk and they're all lovely. Another person who's in her first year (we're one of the few accommodation blocks apparently to be housing a few Freshers due to unprecedented demand for uni housing) is to join us on this Saturday and we have no idea who the other two people are, but they should also be moving in soon.


As for my own room, it's a decent sized room, but it's a lot smaller than the room I had last year which was very spacious. One thing that really sticks out as a sore thumb is the fact that I no longer have a double bed which I'm starting to miss because the bed seems a lot smaller, but at least the mattress they've provided is adequate unlike my first year - it was really cheap, uncomfortable (I got used to it as first year progressed), and springy. I would include some pictures of my room, but it's a tad messy atm and I got some photos pinned to my noticeboards which I don't want to show on TSR.

My room is looking pretty basic atm (I need to tidy my desk) as I have a stationary organiser, a mirror, an LED desk light, my Echo Dot (have chased IT at uni to sort out problems with connecting such devices to the WIFI), my new laptop (M1 MacBook Air), my plant (Chinese Evergreen), and I also got some A4 Stranger Things posters which are laminated that arrived in the uni mailroom today.
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2. Autumn Timetable/Starting Third Year
I've just received my timetable for the Autumn term today this afternoon which is absolutely ridiculous because it has almost derailed my plans to resume driving lessons again in York (been waiting a long time) as I don't know my availability, and the disruption it has caused for so many people is crazy - especially those needing to sort out travel arrangements, those working part-time, and childcare arrangements for students with children.

Given that I'm in my third and final year of my degree in Social and Political Sciences, I now have fewer contact hours than I did compared to my first and second year, and everything seems manageable for the time-being. I'll post a screenshot showing what my typical week will look like while hiding out private details such as room number and staff names.
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What's really annoying about the timetables this year is that it shows the module code instead of the name of the module - I literally have to click on my classes to figure out when I have lectures and seminars for a particular module.

Anyways, I've mixed feelings about starting third year, but I'm mostly excited for the return of in-person teaching because I found online learning very challenging and difficult and missed seeing my peers in-person. At the same time, I'm feeling some apprehension which is mostly to do with my dissertation as the department has yet to confirm whether our dissertation supervisor (they also need to confirm who it is!) is happy with our topic proposal or whether we need to refine this. I'm hoping they contact us about this very soon to prevent time wasting on getting started with my dissertation, i.e. having a clear picture of what's my topic and research questions and what I need to do for certain deadlines. We have 3 workshops planned for this term which will help guide us through the process of starting our dissertation - what's our topic and research questions, and what methods we'll use - and it sounds super useful.


3. Driving Lessons
To cut to the chase, I've been waiting a long time to start resuming driving lessons as the pandemic has caused havoc in me trying to find a new driving instructor in York and secure a test slot. As of this evening, I've received confirmation that I'll restart driving lessons with a new instructor next Tuesday at 12.30 pm and I can't wait even though I haven't had a driving lesson since last Summer so my driving skills will be rather rusty - I hope it'll be ok. My practical test is on 6th December in York which gives me sufficient time to prepare and get up to test standard once again - I feel like I need to focus on large roundabouts and parking maneouvvres, getting used to driving around the local areas near the uni and the city centre, and the test route itself.


4. Societies
I've joined 2 new societies for this academic year which are ABACUS (Association for British Asian and Chinese University Students) and the Korean Cultural Society, and I still sit on the committee for the Lib Dems, but honestly, I would prefer to have a less significant portfolio after the AGM - hopefully we can turn the membership numbers around and encourage people to stand for the committee.

As for ABACUS, I've joined both their WhatsApp and Discord groups recently and they seem like a lovely bunch of people, but I'm not sure what events they've got planned atm. I'm a paid up member so I should receive emails regarding events and I do look forward to meeting them in-person at one of their events. I've not heard anything from the Korean Cultural Society since joining, but likewise I would like to meet new people and get involved with some of the events they're doing in the near future.

QOTD: Is it just me or is the weather getting colder, especially in the North of England... specifically in York?
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Blog Update #4: Wednesday 6th October 2021

Apologies for the long hiatus from posting an update - I've been settling into my third year uni accommodation and didn't have much to update on. This week is my first week of teaching and so far, I'm trying to get used to being taught in-person again and back to the normal rhythm of things which will take time. What's really bothering me atm is that I feel really out of my depth for POL00064H Development Paradigms as most of my peers in my seminar group have done POL00009I Politics of Development which covers the theories of development, even though the lecturer said explicitly that module isn't a prerequisite to do this module. Anyway, the lecturer is really lovely, but I really struggle to see myself continuing to take this module and face the ever daunting prospect of trying to keep up so I can be on par with everyone else when in seminars.

1. Possible Change of Option Module for Autumn Term
Continuing on from what I was saying, I've already began the process of contacting one of the departmental office staff in Politics regarding whether there's space for a different module - POL00069H Political Psychology and Public Opinion. I've seriously considered picking this module initially, but I think I struggled to decide between that on POL00064 Development Paradigms and decided to go with the latter. Long story short, I think if I could change over to POL00069H Political Psychology and Public Opinion that would be fantastic as it will come in handy for my dissertation (more on that below) and unlike POL00064 Development Paradigms, there isn't the risk of some students being left at an disadvantage - in this instance, not covering theories of development. What's particularly drawn me to POL00069H Political Psychology and Public Opinion is that I'll be taught how to apply a versatile theoretical framework to comprehend the dynamics, depths, and complexity of public opinion which will be extremely useful as my dissertation is loosely on the decline of liberal democracy - perhaps I could look at this through the lens of political psychology.


2. Driving Lessons
I finally re-started driving lessons again last week as I've managed to find a new instructor in York who could take me on and get me ready for my test which is in early December. At the moment, my driving skills are alright, but I'm rather rusty since I haven't been driving for over a year prior to that. Today, I was working on mastering my left turns as for some reason, I have a habit of the occasional oversteer when turning left into a junction/side road unlike my right turns. I also did a lot of practice on large roundabouts - really working on speed on approach, my observation skills, and lane discipline (not been too bad on that) as well as crossroads - the latter was fine.


3. SPS Dissertation: Allocation of Supervisors
After complaining to my School regarding the allocation of supervisors for the dissertation (they've sent zero official confirmation since the start of term) and moaning that they should preferably inform us about the allocation of supervisors once it's all finalised between our feeder departments (politics, social policy, and sociology), I got an email this afternoon from my dissertation supervisor asking me to organise a meeting.


This feels like a long time coming and I'm relieved to finally know who my dissertation supervisor is - he's a lecturer I had in first year for POL00008C What is Politics and everyone I know considers him a legend for his rather unique lecturing style. It's quite hard to fall asleep in his lecturers because he really engages the audience and his slides are easy to follow through, but what stands out the most is that he often gives out a £1 coin to a student who can answer a question which is related to a point he's making in his lectures. Now, said lecturer isn't whom I had in mind as someone who'd be my dissertation supervisor, but I'm definitely not complaining. He's not exactly a specialist for the topic I want to do for my dissertation, but it will be fine and we get on well - I remember him giving me some advice and support for a first year formative essay.

Wow, I felt like I waffled a bit on there... The most important thing to note here is that I have my first 1 of 4 workshops this term next Tuesday which is basically about how to get started with the dissertation and my first meeting with my dissertation supervisor is next Friday afternoon - just need to prepare beforehand about what I want to discuss with him and how to make best use of our time.

4. Freshers Flu/Nasty Cold + Flu?!
Unfortunately, I've been feeling really poorly since last Wednesday as I'm quite certain that I've caught a nasty bout of the Freshers Flu or whatever cold/flu is going around, but thankully at the time of writing, I do feel better than I was during the latter half of last week. The only problem is that I'm still occassionally coughing up some nasty mucus and been struggling with physical exhaustion and I'm sure I'll be back to my useful self fairly soon. I've done regular Covid tests which has came back negative every time which is reassuring.

I think once I get better, I'm definitely going to book a flu jab at Boots (I have to pay ) as I'm quite concerned about the prospect of a nasty winter cold/flu going round and the chances of falling quite seriously ill - especially when I'm mixing with a lot of people around campus.

I'm going to end this update here and I think I'll post another update during the end of the week or the first half of next week to update you on how I'm finding my other module and what's going on with a potential option module change. Until then, 오늘은여기까지 (Oneul-eun yeogikkaji/that's all for today) - definitely a cool phrase to say in Korean if you watch Korean Englishman on YouTube.

P.S. I don't speak Korean - wish I knew how to speak Korean though.
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(Original post by JT_888)
4. Freshers Flu/Nasty Cold + Flu?!
I've been plagued with the bug that's travelled around college, virtual hugs for u and me :hugs:
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(Original post by sadforsadboys)
I've been plagued with the bug that's travelled around college, virtual hugs for u and me
Thanks, sending virtual hugs to you as well. :hugs:

Everywhere I've been around campus, I just hear people coughing in lectures and seminars which is just distracting, but as someone who's been plauged with the nasty cold/flu going around, sometimes you can't help it. I'm still not feeling 100% atm.
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Blog Update #5: Friday 8th October 2021

Finally, the weekend is nearly here which is a relief after quite an overwhelming week of teaching - it's quite nice to be taught in-person again, but I feel out of my depths for one of my modules (POL00064H Development Paradigms) and just a bit lost with another (SOC00039H The Racial State). For the latter module, I'm trying to work out what's the best way to make notes in a part lecture/part workshop format as I struggled to keep up and the essential reading we have to do (it focused on theorising race and racism) was a very long-winded way of expressing how different sociologists theorised race and racism over time, and what are the criticisms of their approach. I should also add and make clear that although the module will explore theoretical understanding of race and racism, the whole aim of the module is to ensure we have a theoretically informed understanding of the interaction between race and modern state formation, and fundamentally, we are encouraged to think beyond theoretical understanding of race and racism - especially understanding the links between stratification, race, and structural notions of racism. (Wow, ironically that is a long-winded way of me explaining how SOC00039H works, but I don't think I could explain it in another way).

1. Development Paradigms (POL00064H)
As I said in my previous post, I had seriously contemplated changing modules and to an extent, I still am, but unfortunately, I couldn't switch to POL00069H Political Psychology and Public Opinion as there's no space left on the module and my other options are rather limited - I dislike the option modules on offer for Social Policy as it's heavily Criminology-based.


Anyways, I've ordered Understanding Development by Paul Hopper from Amazon which arrived this afternoon and I did have a quick look through the book and it seems much more useful than the textbooks I was looking at in the library - it's a shame that they don't have this textbook in the library. I'm definitely going to read the introduction and the chapter that looks at theoretical approaches to development as I feel that will help me in the long-run.

2. The Racial State (SOC00039H)
As I was saying above, at least I'm not feeling out of my depths with this module because I've previously studied Sociology at A-Level and took an introductory module in sociological theory, but it's still a challenging module as my understanding of race and racism is rather limited. It's not so much about understanding the theoretical perspectives about race and racism, but it's also about trying to understand race and racism from a wider perspective such as lived experiences of racism, etc. and not one individual/ethnic group will ever completely understand race and racism, though we can at least try.


This week we looked at theorising race and racism and at the moment, I feel there are some gaps in my knowledge as we have the seminar a day after the lecture and there's very little time in between to review what we were taught in the lecture and to prepare for the seminars. Though I should add that because of how timetabling works, I tend to do the seminar readings before the lecture itself and sometimes it's not ideal, especially if there's something you don't quite understand in the reading. TL;DR I'm just trying not to panic and I'll definitely re-read of assigned seminar reading again with fresh eyes tomorrow as it does explore the different theoretical approaches to race and racism in the article, albeit not always in a clear and concise manner - it can be rather long-winded.

3. Year 3 Induction
We had a year induction via Zoom yesterday afternoon literally straight after my part lecture/workshop for SOC00039H and it wasn't a good use of my time - the Head of School mostly spent the time explaining a little bit about how our dissertation will work, and most of the information I already know/can find for myself via the module VLE page.


What's frustrating me is the lack of opportunities to see my fellow coursemates in-person again in an informal setting as the Head of School did state that he was looking to organise a cohort event in our new departmental building that we share with Social Policy and Social Work, and the Management School (soon to become the Department for Business and Society - I think the name is not confirmed). I see some of my coursemates in-person during lectures and seminars, but often we don't have the time even for corridor discussions as we're just on different schedules and have various things going on. So in short, I'm feel that between myself, my fellow peers, and the School, we have grown further distance from each other since the pandemic which is a real shame, and everything just feels odd now that we're near normality so to speak.

4. Non-Academic Stuff
At present, I'm not doing a lot of non-academic stuff which is bothering me as I do need time and space where I can just destress and switch off from the pressures of Year 3. I was contemplating about going to UoY ABACUS' welcome dinner in the city centre on Wednesday, but I decided against going as I was only starting to recover from a nasty bout of Freshers Flu or whatever it is. Tonight, I'm running a Pizza and Drinks Night with UoY Lib Dems and I don't know what to expect in terms of numbers as we have a skeleton committee and this academic year will be a challenge to engage members and put on an assortment of interesting events.

Having said that, I'm really looking forward to catching up with one of my close friends again on Sunday as I'll be popping round for dinner and she offered to help me out with POL00064H since she did BA Politics and IR and this is right up her street. Additionally, I've made plans to catch up with a good coursemate of mine later next week which will be nice.
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flaurie
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Posting to sub :awesome: your modules sound really interesting and good luck for your driving lessons!
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(Original post by flaurie)
Posting to sub :awesome: your modules sound really interesting and good luck for your driving lessons!
Thank you! I hope your studies are going well.

I've got another driving lesson this afternoon and atm, I'm just trying to get myself back to near test standard again since I haven't been learning how to drive for over a year prior. Just a bit rusty and got a few little bits to work on .

As for my modules, I'm still finding POL00064H Development Paradigms rather intimidating and difficult to grasp since I haven't done the Year 2 module that introduces theoretical approaches to politics of development, but I should find the latter weeks of this term easier (from 4 weeks time) because I've previously taken modules that covers a lot on globalisation and welfare states, and that should be right up my street. Also my close friend reminded me that thankfully I only have one essay to complete for the module (worth 100% of my grade), but I could be strategic in what question I choose to answer - that's really reassuring when I've definitely felt overwhelmed last week! For my other module, SOC00039H The Racial State, I've got a bit of catching up to do in terms of tidying my seminar notes and reviewing the lecture content before Thursday, but I should have more free time tomorrow and whole of Wednesday to do so. I'm hoping I could meet up with a fellow coursemate who takes this module because it's always nicer to discuss what you've learnt with someone else. As I said in my previous post, the aim of the module isn't merely to provide us with a theoretically informed understanding of race and modern state formation, but it also enhances our understanding of stratification, race, and structural notions of racism, and encourages us to think about these issues from a wider perspective.
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Blog Update #6: Saturday 16th October 2021

Finally, the weekend is here and I'm relieved because it has been a busy week for me with co-ordinating an AGM meeting for the Lib Dem society, weekly driving lessons, and my dissertation supervision meeting yesterday evening on top of my regular uni schedule of lectures/workshops and seminars. Today, I've been rather unproductive as I had a lie in and haven't done much except literally popping into town (despite diversions due to Yorkshire Marathon) to get a few things in M&S and cleaning the kitchen with one of my housemates.

1. Development Paradigms (POL00064H)
I was contemplating whether I should switch modules since I've been finding the content quite difficult to grasp because unlike most of my fellow peers, I didn't take Politics of Development (POL00009I) nor do I study international relations as it would've come in handy. However, I did study A-Level Economics which has come in handy in this module as it can get quite economicy especially when you're looking at economic measures of development.

This week, we looked at developmentalism and the developmental state which was alright to grasp since I did A-Level Economics so I understood some of the economic terms mentioned in the lecture, but I found the criticisms of the developmental state literature hard to grasp because I literally didn't understand what one of the authors was going on about in their article - it was a very inaccessible article and I hate the way it's been written, quite typical of some academic work if you ask me. As for the seminar, it was less intense than the previoius week as the lecturer made sure we understood the content before going on to discuss the readings we did - we spent quite of time clarifying a few points from her lecture.


2. Driving Lesson
In short, it is going well and I still have some time left before my test in early December, but I definitely need to do more work on lane discipline and just work on a number of minor things. I have another lesson next Tuesday and I should start going over 'Show Me, Tell Me' questions and recap stuff I may have forgotten.

3. The Racial State (SOC00039H)
This week, we looked at Empire, Colonialism, and Racism - we focused specifically on the construction of the 'West' in relation to the 'Rest' and explored the way in which empire plays out in the metrapole. We also explored the concept of orientalism and its implications for constructions of racial meaning. The lecture was quite fascinating, especially when we thought about what we mean by the terms 'West' or 'Western' and explored the concept of orientalism.

At the moment, I need to think of an essay question (we don't have a set essay question, but heavily encouraged to check with the lecturer if our question is suitable and answerable), but I don't know what area to focus on. Students who taken this module in the past have submitted essays which are rather unique and interesting, but I'm sure I'll think of something soon - I'll probably link it to politics.


4. Emergency situation...
On Thursday, I had an emergency situation unfold whereby one of my housemates informed all of us that she had unfortunately tested positive for Covid which caused some panic and my other housemates and I had to get a PCR test asap. Anyway, the good news is that the rest of us have got our PCR results back and we've got the all clear (i.e. we've tested negative) so at least we can contain the spread of the virus. Obviously for the time being, we need to be extra cautious around the house especially with frequently touched surfaces and keeping up with cleaning shared areas, especially the kitchen!


5. Dissertation Supervision Meeting
I won't go into a lot of detail about this, but we've ended up amending my topic area a little as my dissertation supervisor felt that my original area could work, albeit it had the potential of being too broad. The short answer is that my dissertation will still be on the topic of liberalism, and specifically the Lib Dems, but it will focus on an area that has limited academic literature on - though it presents an opportunity to build upon existing literature and the opportunity to conduct empirical research in the form of interviewing certain individuals (I have some contacts of my own, but will be relying heavily on friends and contacts I know). TL;DR I'm really excited about my dissertation topic and I've got quite a bit of work to do for the next 2 weeks which is essentially a lot of reading - I may need some additional time. Essentially, my dissertation supervisor wants me to start thinking about preparing for a literature review which is a bit early, but if I could start working on it, he could provide me with feedback.
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0ptics
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To summarise this gyg:
Wordy but fun to read.

+1 in sub count (or whatever term is used these days )
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