Hello Leeds…..I’m back!

And so I found myself back in Leeds for the second semester. Now that I’m fully immersed back into Uni life again I’m feeling much more at ease with everything than I was last semester and thankfully I’m not running around like a demented headless chicken anymore!

This semester I’m only scheduled to take one module: the Origins of Modern Medicine.  I also have to submit two 3,000 word essays for this module and also submit a 4,000 word research proposal for my dissertation.  Hmmm did I say only?!

I’m currently writing this blog post at the beginning of the Easter break, so 8 weeks of the semester are already behind me. There’s a four week break over the Easter holidays and then just three weeks left until the end of the teaching. It’s not so much of a break really as I’ve got to work on a 3,000 word essay for the start of next term. And it’s been a long few weeks, especially as I’ve been going to Leeds three times a week, for a one hour seminar or lecture or tutorial per day.  This isn’t what I’d class as part-time study but never mind. I’m enjoying my early morning starts in Caffe Nero again, I’ve moved on from my coffee and croissant habit to coffee and porridge instead – much healthier and my waistline and scales are thankful for this 😊

Coffee & porridge landscape

But back to the semester and it started on a high note. I got a mark which I was very very happy with for the second of my essays for the Approaches module. Phew!!! Anyway that gave me the boost I needed to tell myself that maybe, just maybe, I can do this. I was starting to wonder if all the effort I was putting in was worth it – well it was worth it for the last essay anyway. So that means I’ll need to keep on working at almost fever pitch for the rest of them. No wonder I’m mentally shattered.

I’m loving the module I’m taking at the moment. It’s taught by the person who will be the supervisor for my dissertation which is helpful as it’s good to get to know him and how he works…although when I asked him what he looks for in an essay he replied with one word…”brilliance!” No pressure there then!!  This is the module outline:

Western medicine in the seventeenth century was driven by a seemingly irreducible tension between anatomical and non-anatomical approaches, reflecting the inherent disparity between the perspectives of the doctor and the patient.

And in 1700 the gap between anatomy and illness – pointed out by Francis Bacon almost a century before – was as wide as ever. Yet by the early nineteenth century this gap had been decisively closed: the new anatomical pathology, and the associated diagnostic techniques such as the stethoscope, defined illness itself for the first time in anatomical terms.

The course investigates how this transformation took place, focusing on such key individuals as Morgagni, Auenbrugger, Corvisart and Laennec.

But as well as taking the module I also had to work on a 4,000 word research proposal for my dissertation.  Finally, after much angst, effort and coffee I submitted it.  I’m currently waiting to get the result back but at the moment I’m in the nice limbo land of knowing it’s not coming back just yet and probably not for a couple of weeks.  So there’s a while yet before I start the constant jumping at every email I get from Leeds, which of course I’ve set up to have a distinctive pinging sound.

I’m loving setting myself up in the Laidlaw Library to do my work, I do miss working in the Brotherton Library but unfortunately until the weather warms up a bit I’m staying put in the Laidlaw as that’s nice and warm. And has lovely booths. The Brotherton is bloody freezing and although I layer up and wear fingerless gloves it’s too cold.  So roll on the warmer weather.

We’re currently up in Scotland for a week and even though I’m on a break I’m still planning on doing early research for the first essay for this module. It’s a 3,000 word essay of which we can choose the question. I’ve chosen to do mine on how the 18th century anatomists acquired the bodies for dissection. So this ties in very loosely with my dissertation topic, although that’s based on the anatomists themselves and anatomical disputes.

I’ve taken a load of library books up with me. The last time I took books up with us to Scotland over the New Year they all went up and they all came back down again unopened, so I’m determined not to do the same again and will spend at least one afternoon with them and the 100s of sticky notes I brought up with me. But I keep getting distracted by the amazing view:

Lagganmore pic 2
This view…
Essay 1 books
…or this view?

But getting back to the Leeds trips and something I’ve noticed which happens quite often is that when I leave home in the (not so) lovely Manchester drizzle, I pass through the wilds of Saddleworth moor (god help me that’s like driving through the land that time forgot, sometimes it can be quite eerie especially in the fog) and then suddenly, the sun comes out.  And the reverse happens when I’m on my way home.

Apart from when the Beast from the East hit of course.  I’ve been very lucky in that the Beast from the East didn’t affect my Leeds trips.  There was only one day when the snow hit when I felt uneasy about driving to Leeds, so I roped Mike in to take me as he’s much more confident in driving in snow and this is where the one hour lectures actually come in handy.  We can do the roundtrip to Leeds in 3 hours, long enough so the pups Sheldon and Missy don’t think we’ve completely abandoned them. Luckily I missed all the worst of the snow by one day and therefore missed the overnight stay that some people had on the M62 thankfully.

I met up with the lovely Sue and Jonathan from MatSoc (Mature Students Society), which was really nice.  It’s a shame I can’t make more of their meetings, but it’s still lovely to keep in touch and see them from time to time.

It’s suddenly dawned on me that this year has been racing past so quickly and that my second MA year will probably pass quickly too…..and then what next? Hmmmm 🤔

Till next time.

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