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BA (Hons) History and Philosophy
Jasmine - Week at a glance
My week at a glance
History lessons are taught between a mixture of lectures and seminars for the first two years (Level four and five). A typical week would consist of one-hour lectures per module followed by a seminar, which could either be immediately after or on a different day. The seminars consist of smaller groups of people where you discuss both the lecture’s information and the assigned reading. These can be debates, presentations, or simple discussions. So, despite only having contact time for four hours per week, there are independent reading and assignments which need to be completed.
I start my week by completing the required reading, making notes of anything I do not understand so that I can ask my lecturer. After completing the weekly reading, I will work on the assignments. Even though they are mostly due at the end of the semester it is a good idea to work on them throughout, so you do not leave them until last minute.
I participated in active students, which is free for all Hertfordshire students. Here I would attend yoga classes, but there is a wide range of fitness and wellbeing events that take place. I also enjoyed badminton, as you could either go alone or with a group of friends. It is also a good idea to join society as it not only boosts your CV, but it is a way to meet likeminded people and develop friendships.
I also had a part-time job which I would do alongside studying. This means that planning is vital as you want to be on top of your workload to ensure you have enough time to complete it to the best of your ability. It worked well with the history course as most of the work was independent, meaning I could work around my other commitments.
It is important that you allow downtime alongside work as it recharges you and you can produce better quality work. It also prevents you from being overworked and ensures that you enjoy the course.
Jasmine - Things you should know
Things you need to know before studying History at Herts
Preparation is key! Once you know what modules you are taking it is useful to do some research prior so that you can enter the module with basic knowledge. This makes studying it that much easier and you are less likely to be left behind. It prevents your workload from building up and be unbearable. History is a very independent course and will consist of quite a bit of reading, so you need to organise your time efficiently. Leave enough time to work on your assignments from the start so that if you have any issues you can get them sorted in time.
Complete the required reading as that way you will be able to contribute to the seminar discussions. Furthermore, if you stumble across words you are not familiar with or useful words it’s a good idea to make a keyword list and ask your lecturer if you are unsure of a specific concept. When completing the reading highlight important themes and produce short notes. Put them in your own words and as simple as possible, as it makes them easier to understand in the future. It is usually best to find a spot away from distractions and turn your phone off. Moreover, take regular short breaks, to allow what you have read to sink in.
Do not be afraid to talk to the lecturers, they are lovely and always willing to answer questions, especially on assignments. I found that discussing my drafts with lecturers before completing them allowed me to get high grades as they were able to point me in the right direction. They are there for you, so make sure you use them as much as possible.
Most importantly make sure you are having fun and enjoy yourself. Allow downtime so that you can recover and have the right amount of work/life balance.
Jasmine - Why I love History
What I love most about my course
I loved that with history you could do as much or little as you wanted. Alongside completing the required tasks, lecturers indicated further reading sources if you wanted to. That meant to if there was a part of the subject that interested you, it was possible for you to explore it further. Moreover, most of my lecturers would ask at the start of the semester what we wanted to get from the course. This meant if there were specific areas that we were most fascinated with or wanted to learn, they aimed to include that into the module.
I also loved that there is a range of topics that are covered, and the ability to choose which ones you wanted. I minored in public history which meant that instead of the typical essay assignments I created a documentary for one module. Another module was work experience, so I got to volunteer. We also went on trips to the archives and Bayfordbury campus which offered alternative styles of learning and experiencing history outside the classroom. This was exciting as I got to try new things, which I would not have thought to do.
The humanities department was extremely inclusive. They have an Instagram and post regular events like rollerblading and film nights which allowed you to socialise with your lecturers and peers. The staff were all friendly and welcoming and always happy to help with any issues. I felt that they truly wanted me to succeed, and they had my back. The events helped to create a work/live balance.
Due to the independent nature of studying history, I was able to adapt to studying around my lifestyle. Because the contact time was only eight hours per week, I was able to work alongside studying. I was also able to study on the train journey or at home when I returned to visit family, meaning that I was not left behind on my workload.
Meet Jenny Vu who gained valuable transferable skills for her future career. She is currently a Teaching Assistant at a secondary school.Read more stories BA (Hons) History and Philosophy
|Current job role
|Year of graduation
|Course of study
|BA (Hons) History and Philosophy with Study Abroad Year
University life and experience
Throughout her degree, Jenny learnt a considerable amount of transferable skills and world knowledge to enable to her succeed in her career as a Teaching Assistant. She says that the most useful skills she learnt are how to analyse and correct grammar which have proved invaluable when teaching her students.
Jenny initially chose the University of Hertfordshire as it ‘was close to home but still relatively far enough to move out and learn to live independently.’ She explains how her independence grew as she used her degree to explore the World by taking the opportunity to study abroad for a year. She says, ‘My standout memory from my time at the University was studying abroad for a year. It was probably the best year of my life.’
Jenny’s study abroad year sparked her passion for travel and in the future, she plans to teach in Asia. However, she says, if she does return to the UK, she would like to teach and promote higher education to young students to inspire future generations and showcase their potential.
Meet Callaghan. Callaghan’s love of history inspired him to study at Herts and now he is teaching in Italy.Read more stories BA (Hons) History
|Current job role
|English as a Second Language Teacher in Italy
|Year of graduation
|Course of study
|BA (Hons) History
A love of history
Callaghan’s love of history started in primary school, and it stuck with him up until it was time to apply to university. He visited Herts for an open day and was impressed. He says, ‘Herts offers the opportunity to study a wide range of historical topics, they have a huge library, and extensive resources available to students. I also had a compulsory academic support module in the first year which was very helpful for my studies.’
His time at Herts was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but one of Callaghan’s favourite moments was when he and fellow committee members were able to revive the History Society once restrictions were lifted. He says, ‘Working together to achieve this after such a tough period is an experience I will always value. I’d recommend that everyone join a society!’
Callaghan says that the most interesting part of his degree was his dissertation because he had the opportunity to research a topic of his choosing and present it to his lecturers and course mates.
Teaching in Italy
Callaghan is now a Teacher in Italy, where he teaches English as a Second Language. He says, ‘My course shaped me into a strong and confident speaker, which has greatly helped me in my current role. I was able to practice this skill in seminars and the occasional presentation.’
Callaghan is considering a career in academia or the Civil Service. His advice to current or future Herts students is to, ‘Work hard, but ask for help if you need it.’