People’s reactions are very mixed when they find out I do a creative writing degree.
There are those who think it’s the coolest thing ever, those who are surprised a degree like that even exists and wonder what the hell I’m going to do with it, and those who are very confused as to what it is I actually do. So I thought I’d do a Day In The Life kinda post to shed a bit of light.
(There are also some very rude people who assume that just because I’m not setting myself up for a specific job that my degree is a waste of time. But I’ve learned a tonne from my course and I don’t regret enrolling at all.)
Alarm goes off. Groan. Yawn. Stretch. Try and summon energy required to leave bed, which is getting more cosy by the second.
Climb out of bed and curse. Shove hair in top knot, grab clothes and flannel, and head downstairs for shower.
Shower time (heeeey Snow Fairy). Impress myself by remembering to use body cream after.
Cleanse face. Get dressed (all black everything and a tartan scarf). Wash hands. Put lenses in. Moisturise. Feel slightly less zombie-like.
Cupboard is bare so just toast and butter for breakfast. Dream of my usual meal: banana mug cake, which is a lot healthier than it sounds, topped with Greek yogurt, fruit, and seeds.
Apply make-up. Today’s face includes Lily Lolo Mineral Foundation in Porcelain, Seventeen’s Brow Kit, and NARS Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl. (NARS has since become a non-cruelty-free brand after deciding to do business in China).
Pack bag, then catch up with unread blog posts and sort my own schedule. I finish the review I’ve been working on and plan the next couple of weeks; I always feel better when I’ve got ideas written down. The lack of good lighting is pissing me off a bit though — I haven’t been able to take any decent photos for a while.
Leave house to walk to uni. The valleys are hidden by mist, so I listen to Adele’s new song and imagine I’m in a film. (We all do that, right?)
Dissertation tutorial. I’m doing a biographical project about my mum’s childhood, so I chat to my tutor about it to try and get some ideas going.
My mum comes from a very poor, working class background, and apparently the kind of experiences I’ve been unearthing would generally be associated with the north of England, not the south east.
I end up trying to teach my tutor (who’s a Scouser) how to do a Kentish accent — plenty of missing vowels and a ‘w’ instead of an ‘l’ in words like ‘puddle’ (‘puddawl’). He doesn’t quite get it, but then I can’t do a Scouse accent for the life of me.
Off to the library I go. I’m starving already, so I eat my hummus, pitta bread and tomatoes before settling down to get some work done. I’m in the mood to plan, rather than write, so I map out my project for Writing Culture and Society, and finalise the pieces I’m workshopping in Writing For Children on Thursday (more about workshopping in a sec).
Writing Culture and Society workshop. In a creative writing workshop, members of the class submit their work, a copy of which is then given to everyone. We read through and annotate what we like and what we think could be improved, and then the writer reads it aloud. Afterwards, everyone gives feedback, makes suggestions, and answers any questions the writer might have.
At the start of my degree everyone was really shy, but people are a lot more talkative now we’re in third year, and although I find workshops intimidating, I also look forward to hearing what everybody has to say. Generally, the atmosphere is really supportive.
Back in the library. I always leave workshops leaving motivated to get work done, so I get going with one of the autobiographical pieces I’ve been writing — I’m hoping to finish the first full draft soon.
[Update: It’s finished! I’m hoping to get it looked at today.]
I get home and then head straight back out again to go food shopping with my housemates (yay adult life). Living with people who have cars has made life much easier because it means I can go to Aldi and stock up on cheap essentials, although I do prefer to get fresh produce from the Tesco next door.
We always end up singing in the car, and today’s journey is the greatest because we break out the early noughties cheese. Who remembers One Love by Blue? Tuuuuune.
Back home, I start cooking dinner — tonight’s food is pasta and roast vegetables. There are some days when I love trying out new recipes. There are some days when I love trying out new recipes, and some days when I want something quick and easy, and I’m definitely feeling the latter today. Most of the time my housemates and I make our own food, but occasionally one of us will cook for everyone else.
Quick Skype with the fam and then we head off to the pub for a bit. Everyone has too much to do to go on a mad one, but it’s good to sit and chat after a day of getting shit done.
So there you go — well done if you’ve made it this far.
Because of my schedule, every day is different, but chances are I will spend a lot of time locked away in the library in an attempt to get something written.
I don’t have many contact hours, but then no one can sit us down in a room and say, ‘Write something’ — you have to get off your arse and put the time in. (That said, we did have a group writing session in one of my classes recently and it was good; everyone fed off each other’s energy.)
How do you spend your uni days? Is there such a thing as an average day for you? Let me know in the comments.
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Beth, 25, South East England.
Lover of books, dogs, yoga, travel, gin, and the Oxford comma.
I write about cruelty-free beauty, vegan & veggie food, and trying to lead a less wasteful life. I throw the odd think piece in there, too.