The University Tag - All About Me!
A few weeks ago, I saw this tag floating around on a few Instagram stories, so I thought I’d turn it into a blog post that will be a fun read for new and old followers. I’ve done a few introductions here and there, but answering these questions should bring everyone up to speed on who I am, what I do and why I do it! This blog is a shorter one, but I've had a lot of new followers over on my #studygram, so I thought this would serve as a nice introduction for new readers.
For anyone new, I post six blogs a month on this site, and thank you so much for joining!
Where do you study?
I’ve done all my degrees at the University of Reading, which is located about 25 minutes from London by train. Reading is a vibrant town, and the campus is large and green with accommodation circling the edges of it. Campus was home for four fantastic years, all of which I spent living on site.
What do you study?
I’m heading back to Reading to start my PhD in history this September, but I’ve previously completed my BA and MA in history too. Specifically I’m interested in interwar Conservative Cabinet politics surrounding equal franchise and citizenship. Basically, I’ve been researching into why the 1924 Conservative Cabinet didn’t want to give the franchise to women on the same terms as men, and from there I’m expanding my work into definitions of citizenship in the 1920s. I’ve also done work on the Women’s Royal Air Force, and a variety of social history concerning women.
I would now describe myself as a (fledgling) early career historian in Conservative Cabinet politics of the interwar period. I definitely started off my education as a social historian, but over the last two years I have specialised in the history of high-level politics and their impact on women of all classes.
What year are you in?
I’ll be starting my fifth year of university, and the first year of my PhD. I did my BA from 2016-2019, and my MA from 2019-2021, after taking a four-month extension due to Covid-19 playing havoc with my research time. Doing two degrees back-to-back was an experience that I'd only recommend if you're seriously committed, as it was a challenging experience that I'd be hesitant to repeat if I could go back in time.
Do you live at home or in your university area?
When I’m studying I live in Reading, around a 2 ½ hour commute from home, using a ferry and a train! I’m going back into halls this year as my PhD has been arranged pretty late in the year. Since October 2020 I’ve been at home, and I submitted my MA dissertation in January of this year. Writing an entire dissertation at home was definitely a challenge, and I missed the university library and the collaborative research environment that university life brings.
This September I will be moving back into university accommodation as my PhD was confirmed at such short notice due to problems finding funding. My partner Dan and I had hoped to find a flat together, but decided that we didn't want to rush into renting somewhere because we felt time-pressured. This way, we'll still live within a 20-minute walk of each other and I've been able to work over the summer to save money.
What are three essentials for university life?
1. Laptop stand – works wonders for improving back posture
2. Comfy clothes – I rarely dress up on campus
3. Dressing gown – solves all of life’s problems
What’s your favourite meal?
I love macaroni cheese, especially when I add in spicy chorizo. I tend to cook in bulk, but I can often be found eating a good stir-fry, chicken and rice or a pasta bake. For lunches I tend to eat leftovers, so whatever I can fit in a plastic box to take with me to campus. When dining out, I love Italian or an international buffet.
What’s the latest you’ve been to the library?
Living on campus has its perks, so I used to spend time in the library at night. During third year, my friends and I would meet in the evenings to work on our dissertations, and I’d regularly stay until around 2am before walking home. I also used to get to the library early during busy periods, and I’d often pop in at the weekends if I was feeling uninspired. I often went through phases where I needed to change my environment, and working in my room got old pretty fast. I generally favour the silent sections now I'm older, and I'll happily sit there for hours at a time with a good playlist on.
How many all-nighters have you done?
A few, most were in first year just for the fun of it really. I remember once me and my friend met up at 3am to study! I couldn’t hack that now, and tend to go to bed no later than 11pm. My brain works best between 10am-5pm, so around those times I’ll either relax or get on with errands. Working through the night is something I don't think is great for your brain, and I don't know many people who are true night owls.
What’s your favourite university moment so far?
Its tough, but it would have to be a toss-up between graduating from my BA or when I became involved with my boyfriend, Dan. Graduation was special as we all had a lovely day, and I have so many pictures and videos to look back on, as well as being able to share the day with my supportive family. I won’t graduate from my MA until 2022 (so far), so it will be around 18 months after I actually finished, so I’m not sure the feeing will be the same.
Meeting Dan was completely random as we were housed in halls together when I started my MA and he was starting his chemistry PhD. I’m so glad to have him along for the ride, and I can’t wait to spend more time with him when I’m back in Reading. I didn't go to university envisaging that I'd be in a relationship, as I was more interested in finding lifelong friends, but I'm so happy that Dan is in my life.
Any advice for a Fresher?
Say no to things! It may seem like there’s a lot of pressure to say yes to everything, but it’s really easy to burn yourself out this way. Instead, pick out the activities that interest you most, and stop caring about what other people think, as you won’t speak to half of them by the time the semester’s over. Also, invest in a waterproof coat for your own sake, it’s way better than trying to battle across campus with an umbrella, and it’ll also cover up your pyjamas while you’re walking to (or from) the library.
Short and sweet, but I thought that this tag would make a nice change from the study-related content that I’ve been posting for the last few months. If you’d like to know more about me, head over to my Instagram @tibbotttalks_study to find out what I get up to on the daily. I’m looking forward to sharing more about my PhD journey too, so I’ll see you over there.