Musings #2 My Degree

Good morning humans! Yes! As I said in my post last week I’m going to try to write these musings as and when I feel like it, and boy I’m feeling like it now.

So I graduated last summer with a shiny new degree from Oxford University in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History (or CAAH (pronounced ‘Car’) for those in the know). Here is a picture of me, not in the fluffy hood of graduation because my mother has those pictures, but having just finished my exams and looking like a responsible adult.

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Ready for adult life.

But now I work in publishing and I’m book blogging I rarely get to talk about the wondrous thing that was my degree so I thought a musing would be the perfect opportunity to do so!

What did I learn about in my degree?

So in general I plumped more for the archaeological side of things as opposed to the history, mainly because I definitely don’t have the mind for remembering dates, whereas apparently I can quite happily recall the provenance of a specific pot.

My ‘thesis’ (it’s not called a thesis as such it’s actually called a Museum Report) was entitled ‘The Illiterate Curse Tablets from Bath Spa: Language and Religion in Provincial Magic’ because that is the kind of think that sparks my interest. Basically, I was looking at who wrote the curse tablets at Bath and what they would have understood to be ‘magic’.

It was mostly fascinating, sometimes memorising pottery can get a little dull, but noone enjoys literally everything about their degree right?

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Me and a teeny Curse Tablet (also purple hair)

The Oxford Experience

I think a lot of people, particularly those outside the UK think of Oxford University as kind of like Hogwarts, old buildings, long tables and the like. Sometimes that is definitely true. We did eat in a dining hall at long tables, but plastic trays do rather ruin the ambience. The swishy robes do definitely make it more atmospheric though.

What makes Oxford cool as a university is the tutorial system, so essentially almost all of your ‘classes’ are actually one on one (or two on one if you have a friend) with a tutor which can sometimes be phenomenally nerve wracking – especially if, like me, you are prone to crying under pressure, but it also means you get a more personal teaching experience.

Was it worth it?

I am deeply in debt. Like, £44,000 in debt. With my weeny charity/publishing job I don’t actually make enough money for this to make a significant indent in my paycheque however, so in terms of financial woes I’m just letting that be what it is. It’s almost so large an amount that it isn’t real.

The friends that I gained, the confidence I found and the experiences I had over those three years (even the time spent sobbing and eating icecream at 4am) were definitely worth it. I wouldn’t take back any of it. Even that part where I got second degree burns from dropping a cup of tea in my lap.

So if you’re thinking about doing the university thing, or if you’re just interested in what studying archaeology, or what studying in Oxford is like, leave a comment down below and I’ll do my best to answer!

Until next time

J

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3 thoughts on “Musings #2 My Degree

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  1. Yay, another archaeologist! I read Archaeology & Prehistory back in the dim mists of the mid-90s (post-Roman economics, yummy), and I’ve never regretted it – I’ve not done anything with it professionally, but it’s a fascinating topic and I’ve found the skills of patience and attention to detail surprisingly transferable 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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