Student Perspectives: reflecting on my first year of study and looking forward to the second – Jess Evans.

In this second piece by Jess Evans, she reflects upon her first year of university, the teaching and extra-curricular activities that she has been involved in, and how her second year of study will shape up. You can read Jess’s first blog post here: Student perspectives: reflections on the first term of uni. More information about the structure of our undergraduate degree programmes and the modules we offer can be find on Swansea University’s main webpages.

Year one of my degree at Swansea University is complete! Despite all the work I have done across the semesters, the year seems to have flown by and I have enjoyed it thoroughly. Since beginning my degree last September I feel like I’ve gained confidence in approaching university work and greatly expanded my knowledge of the ancient world.

Swansea University is an incredibly welcoming place to study, and I have felt truly at home in my department. As it’s quite a small community, you’re really given the opportunity to get to know your lecturers and fellow students. The environment is very friendly, and the lecturers went out of their way to make us first year students feel welcome. At the beginning of the year, there was a welcome event at the Patti Pavilion which gave us the chance to meet some of the lecturers whose modules we might be taking in the first semester. There was also the option to attend department coffee mornings in the second semester (once Covid restrictions allowed).

As I am studying a joint degree in Egyptology and Classical Civilisation, I have taken a mixture of different modules this year. Being the sort of person who enjoys studying more than just one thing, having three very different modules each semester was ideal for me! I explored many different aspects of the ancient world.

This year, I also had the chance to visit the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. It was an amazing trip organized by the Egyptological Society (one of the two departmental societies – the other is the Ancient World Society – which are a great opportunity to meet other students studying in the department). Visiting the Ashmolean was amazing, and I especially enjoyed seeing the objects in their extensive ancient Egyptian section, as well as areas featuring cultures I don’t usually study such as the Islamic Middle East, Mughal India and their musical instruments section.

Choosing which modules to study next year was a real challenge – there were just so many exciting options! But I eventually managed to narrow it down with the help of my lecturers who went out of their way to offer advice and support. In the second year you do have the option of specialising more and focusing on a more specific area (such as languages or a specific historical era), but I have opted to continue with a variety of different modules as I really enjoyed doing so this year.

After thoroughly enjoying my two compulsory modules in year one, I decided to take three Egyptology modules next year, including Introduction to Egyptian Archaeology (CLE214) taught by Christian (Dr Knoblauch), which I’m particularly looking forward to! I have never studied archaeology before, so this will be an excellent opportunity to explore the subject, especially as some of the module is delivered in the on-campus museum, the Egypt Centre, which allows you to gain some hands-on experience with ancient objects.

I have also decided to continue with Latin next year. Both my lecturers for year one, Ian (Dr Repath) and Maria (Mrs Oikonomou) have been brilliant, and I also really enjoyed the small class size as it allowed everyone to get to know one another and it was easy to ask for help when needed. Swansea University has multiple entry points for Latin and Ancient Greek, which is very useful as it allows you to choose a level which suits you. I am excited to continue next year, where we will begin reading original ancient texts in Latin (with much help and guidance from the lecturers of course!).   Beginning a degree was initially very daunting and I doubted my ability to make the jump to university-level work. However, over the past year I have gained so much confidence and have learnt to get the most out of and really enjoy studying. Swansea is a lovely place to learn (and a lovely place in general!) and I would encourage anyone thinking of applying here to do so. Finally, I also wanted to say a huge thank you to the department and Swansea University as a whole for such a lovely welcome and a brilliant start to my degree – I can’t wait to come back for year two.