Published: 15 March 2022

Reflecting on Semester 1 in the School of Literature and Languages

English Literature and Creative Writing student Luana Vasconcelos reflects on her first semester this year, in the School of Literature and Languages.

"My second year at the University of Surrey started out well. I managed to arrive in Guildford early and participate in fresher’s week since I missed it in my first year. It was an amazing experience and I got to learn more about the University, its societies and opportunities."

New Home

One big change that happened in my first semester was that I moved into my new house, which was a private accommodation about ten minutes from campus. It has been strange adjusting to living off-campus, but since I lived at Manor Park for my first year, I’m much closer now. It’s so great getting to walk everywhere and explore this new area. I love my new room which includes an en-suite double bedroom, complete with fridge, freezer, and microwave. I also get to share the house with Mahi, an old friend from my Foundation Year.

New Modules

My studying experience for the first semester of year two was great. I decided to get ahead, so I started the reading list in July. This certainly made my life easier since we had many long novels to read. As for the modules, I got to take interesting new ones like TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and the compulsory ones were well-designed and engaging. We studied Postcolonial Fictions for the Contemporary Literature module, and it was such a rich, informative, and eye-opening experience. My favourite thing about the module has been getting to re-watch Black Panther and discuss it with my classmates then analyse it in my final essay.

Getting Involved

I decided to get more involved in the University for my second year, so I started working as a Student Content Creator and an International Student Ambassador. These opportunities have helped me grow and develop so many crucial skills. They also allowed me to keep doing what I love most, which is writing.

I chose to do some volunteering as well. First, I signed up to become a Self-Isolating Buddy because I wanted to help international students who, like myself during the pandemic, had to self-isolate when they arrived in the UK. Then I decided to also become a Course Representative so I could support my peers and make sure the course was working for everyone.

I also joined a few societies which has been fun. Pet Society does weekly dog walks which are great to meet amazing new people. Disney Society includes movie nights every week and occasionally quizzes or karaoke nights. I also joined The Stag Society, which is the University’s magazine, and wrote an article for them about the best places to walk around Guildford.

Finding a Balance

The biggest challenge of this first semester has been balancing work, volunteering, studies, and a social life. I’ve definitely been busier than in the first year, but it has absolutely been worth it. I’ve managed to make the most of the university experience and got to meet so many wonderful people. I believe the key to finding this balance has been organising my schedule according to priorities and taking it one day at a time. 

Learn more about the English Literature and Creative Writing course.

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