Starting the Day
Whenever I think back to my most productive day, I think to the end of first year when I finally understood where I was going, what I was doing, and who I worked well with.
I wake up, have breakfast with my housemates (always start the day with a fulfilling meal), I go for the classic bacon and egg on toast but one of my more eco-conscious friend’s chooses avocado with pinto beans and I would totally recommend this.
My first lecture is a 9am, an early start is always difficult for any student but thankfully I’m interested in the subject and the lecturer is one of my favourites, so I drag myself out of bed to make it to the bus. It’s a very quick bus journey wherever you are in Derby, walking is also really nice if the bus is busy. Typically, my day ends around 9pm, which may sound crazy, but it’s chopped up into two, four-hour segments; 9am – 1pm then 5pm – 9pm. I have a nice gap in the middle to do whatever I like.
When I finish at 9pm I never feel too tired or overworked. The gap in the middle means I can recharge my batteries, and to be honest I much prefer working into the night because it feels like I’m achieving something with my evenings.
Then comes class
Whether it’s a personal classroom or an open auditorium, I always have a number of essential items on me for the day ahead, such as a textbook, exercise book, pen, laptop, water bottle, and bag. Depending on the class you can be in a room with many people you know or none at all but I never felt pressured to have to sit next to anyone if I didn’t want to.
If I was feeling particularly moody or anxious about talking to someone I could choose to sit elsewhere and stay on my laptop, or if I was quite chirpy and wanted to chat about some of the info, I’d sit next to someone. There didn’t seem to be a stigma around either choice as there were many people in my classroom who did either-or. The atmosphere might be different, however, for subjects like Sociology which require more open dialogue rather than Computer Science where you might be more focussed on your own workload.
Your class could be anywhere from two- four hours long with a break in the middle. Science subjects may have more lab-like classrooms whilst arts-based subjects will be more open-plan. As a Marketing and Media student, I tend to be located in large auditoriums and either sit on my own with my laptop or spot someone I know from class and sit next to them. My Marketing subjects have more students in the classes, so I tend to study around more people during these lectures.
Moving onto classroom work. Thankfully, in both Marketing and Media I have a small but enthusiastic group of classmates. These classrooms are a lot smaller than the auditorium so they feel more engaging. Although group classroom projects aren’t my favourite, I would advocate that it is useful to embed different learning methods into your experiences and remove yourself from your comfort zone.
At midday, I have a quick 30-minute break to grab lunch. I usually get a meal deal or a hot pizza (if I’m feeling like treating myself) then get back to work.
The library at Kedleston road is huge and there’s always space at a computer or desk so I usually go there on my breaks to listen to some music or do some extra-curricular work.
You’ll see other students and friends walking around the atrium, using the various seating spaces to eat lunch or sitting outside in the green space leading up to the campus when the weather is nice. There are also coffee shops such as Blends and Starbucks at the Kedleston Road campus where you can sit with friends or study.
Back to class
After lunch, I’m then back for some more lectures. Sometimes the day would finish early at 12pm but other days would be stretched into the evening until around 8 or 9pm – which sounds very long, but it wasn’t all that bad, the shorter days balance out the longer ones.
I’m studying subjects that I’m really interested in and I looked forward to some classes more than others depending on how tired I felt. The lecturers made it for me though, their passion inspired me to be passionate too. This is something I hadn’t experienced before in school or college.
Outside of uni
The nights always are full of things to do and it’s fun to find all those back-alley pubs and unseen bars that Derby has to offer. The Union of Students offers numerous societies for you to fill your weekends up with as well, from sports to debating to subject-specific clubs, there’s always something to dive into if you have the drive and the interest.
Every day is different at Uni. Although the majority of it can be filled with lectures, books, PowerPoints, Word documents and lots of information, the biggest part that I take away is studying something I’m passionate about and learning from experts who are as enthusiastic as I am. Remembering this is what keeps my days unique and exciting while I reach my goals.