In a Quiet Corner: Getting Going

No apologies for not having written anything on this blog for nearly two weeks now, I’ve been busy. After months of looking forward I’ve started university . And it’s making me so happy I thought I’d write a bit about it, in a quiet way.

Much of my life is fairly quiet at the moment in fact. In quiet corners of this great big library in between Myrtle Street and Abercromby Square. In Abercromby Square itself, having a peaceful lunch from the very good (non-corporate) lunch shop on Oxford Street near the Sports Centre. And in lectures listening carefully to, well, more about them in a bit.

I’ve been thinking mostly. About sociology and history, obviously. They’re what I’m here for. But also about stuff around the edges. Do all my modules add up to what they’re supposed to? How do I get that statistics software to load on my computer. And how does the timetable work?

And the stuff around the edges is calming now so, two weeks in, I think I’m in rhythm. At least with the reading, the preparing, the turning up, the listening, the discussing, the reflecting and then beginning the cycle again for each area I’m studying. No writing has been done yet, apart from copious and rigorous notes, but it soon will be. And I’m nearly ready. I think.

Both tired and exhilarated too. Tired in a new way though, let me explain. Yesterday, a Thursday, I was in early after an evening History lecture the night before. Not part of my course but everything is really. Then during the day there’d been 2 two-hour Sociology lectures and discussions. With reading and library searching in between and on either side. Filling me up with new information, thoughts and questions, as is happening every day. So much so yesterday that by the time I got home I couldn’t think. Never mind think straight. I couldn’t think at all.

So all I remember doing is putting some music on, Elgar then Jackson Browne, and sitting absolutely still and quiet for as long as it took. As long as it took to begin thinking again. About two hours, I think, before I could resume that and other complex human activities, like talking.

This morning though I was ok and more than ready to go back to the university and begin that cycle of reading, listening and thinking again. More new questions, more new ways of looking at a world I thought I already knew my way around.

I feel very privileged and extremely grateful to be here doing all this. But doing what you’re probably asking by now?

Well I’m here at the University of Liverpool just over two weeks into what I now know is called a 1+3. A year’s MA followed by a three year PhD. All of which involves Sociology, History and Port Sunlight. The MA, now started, including a dissertation and also much that’s taught, for now. To get me going on methods and thinking generally, it being a very long time since I got my degree.

For now, these are my main things along with the yet but soon to be defined dissertation. Called ‘modules’ here:

  • Historical Research
  • The Politics and Practices of Social Research
  • Philosophy of Social Science
  • Understanding Society Using Quantitative Methods

Then after Christmas and much writing there’ll be a load more shorter modules, I’ll tell you about them when I get there. After which I should be able to take off my academic stabilisers and…well let’s see?

Anyway, I’m loving it and frequently experiencing a deep sense of what I can only call happiness. Last week this made itself known to me by my frequently walking along singing the upliftingly happy ‘The Happening’ by The Supremes. Not out loud, though maybe. And this week? Well the work and the reading have ratcheted up so I don’t remember singing anything. But I am still happy, I know that.

And from here in the library, in my quiet corner, I thought I’d let you know. It’s all going great.

For which big thanks to everyone who’s helped me to get here and to get organised. To everyone teaching, thinking and around me on all these modules. And of course to everyone who was ever in The Supremes.

Read more of my University writing here.

2 Replies to “In a Quiet Corner: Getting Going”

  1. reading writing goin to lectures….. above all,THINK- the rest of it is reduced to a form of collecting- if done without the thought-if your’e not sworn to secrecy, i’d love to see the material from the historical research module- drop by for a cuppa when your head hurts! you sound excited.. chuffed for you mike

    1. Thanks Mike, I am excited and also hear what you say. At the moment I’m thinking how all I’m reading adds up and also looking out for what particularly interests me, when in the opening weeks the answers so far is everything. See you one afternoon this week.

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