Day 1: Physics
Having not done Physics since GCSE, where the questions resembled: “Does it take more force to push an object up a slope or along flat ground?”, I had no idea what to expect. Sat on my own at the back of a packed lecture theatre, I found Physics students are an enthusiastic lot . Despite not being too keen to talk to me, they chatted away to each other about the subject enthusiastically. All I heard was Higgs-Boson this, Large Hadron Collider that. A Physics Soc rep turned up and gave them a pep talk, assuring students that whatever the Biochemistry department said, Physics was the superior science! With departmental morale high, the lecture started and I found myself not understanding a single word being said. I quickly came to the conclusion that I was the stupidest person in the room and that I should return to the outcast colony of Social Sciences where I belong. Still unsure about what the lecture was actually about, I began to feel more at home as it began to look somewhat similar to a Philosophy lecture, though not a truth table in sight. According to the lecturer, time can be different for two people but still correct for both; I have to admit I was somewhat unconvinced. Might have to ask Barry Lee about that one. Also like Philosophy, I learned that different physicists can’t seem to agree on seemingly simple issues, such as how long something is. At one point three rival formulae were written on the board. All of them turned out to be wrong. With the lecture quickly becoming more Physics-like again and the blackboards filling up with complicated mechanical equations, I gracefully left the lecture hall as inconspicuously as I possibly could, but still managed to slam the door behind me on the way out. Damn you sound waves!
Day 2: Chemistry
This one came about sort of by accident. I’d first planned to go to an Archaeology lecture, but decided not to bother on discovering that it was at King’s Manor in York City centre, that my lecturer was not Dr. Indiana Jones, and I wouldn’t even get to do any digging. I guess I should have gone to a practical….One lecture short, I decided to hang around outside a random lecture theatre and wait to see what was going on. Following a crowd of students into my mystery lecture, I deduced it was Chemistry from a hand-out I was given. Luckily, this wasn’t the first time in my life I’d done Chemistry. In fact, it wasn’t the first time in my life I’d done Chemistry in this room. I’d previously attended a science department open day at York when I was 13, and it was in this very room that Brainiac’s Dr. Bunhead had set off various chemical reactions and inadvertently set his bald head on fire in the process. Good times! But back to here and now, hoping my AS Chemistry knowledge would see me through. As it turned out, this one went rather well. I even correctly managed to answer a question about ketones, which made me feel like a genius. The lecturer was fantastic and it turns out he has his own YouTube channel which I’d recommend you check out, there’s even a video about the chemistry of Breaking Bad on there! If you’re wondering why this paragraph contained no chemistry jokes, it’s because they’re all boron.
Day 3: Social Work
Messed this one up a bit. Not knowing anybody who did the course, I decided to find a lecture to attend myself on eVision. What could possibly go wrong? Well, quite a lot. Firstly: I was stupid enough to select a lecture in Alcuin and was lost in the labyrinth that is the Seebohm Rowntree building for ages. Half expecting to bump into a Minotaur at any moment, I finally found my lecture theatre and the real problems began. Turned out I hadn’t read the lecture description too carefully, as I found myself in a postgraduate Management lecture with about only eight other people in it. Oops! Unsurprisingly, the lecturer quickly noticed the lone fresher sitting at the back of the room. After asking me whether I was there to audit the lecture (which in retrospect I suppose I sort of was) he pointed out that I probably shouldn’t be there. Embarrassed and unable to think of a plausible alibi, I decided it was probably best to leave. Probably my most embarrassing moment in my whole time here (so far), I went to Costa and bought myself a mocha to cheer myself up, which I promptly spilt over my notes from the morning’s lectures. All in all, not a great day.
Day 4: Maths
As an Economics student studying a few Maths modules, I felt a bit a bit cocky about this and before walking in, made the mistake of saying “how hard can it be?” Well as it turns out, very. Turns out pure Maths modules are a LOT harder than anything we do using Maths in Economics. The lecture, however, was fairly enjoyable. The lecturer was very witty and despite the fact that advanced algebra was far beyond my level of understanding, I wasn’t bored in the slightest. There were maths jokes a plenty, including the lecturer’s equivalent of the Englishman, Scotsman and Irishman joke – the Mathematician, Physicist, Engineer joke! Turns out the Maths department has a good laugh at us Economists too (though who can blame them, we can’t even plot a graph properly!) His jokes aren’t a patch on my Maths pickup lines though: “I wish I was Sin^2x and you were Cos^2x, so together we could be one.” And I wonder why I’m single. I felt very nostalgic during the lectures, as almost everything is delivered on OHP projectors or blackboards. Finally, a big thank you to the Mathematics department for holding the lecture in the same room as my International Politics lecture immediately after. It made my afternoon much easier.
Day 5: History of Art
I’m not going to lie. I am to Art what Paris Hilton is to Quantum Mechanics, and I was really dreading this. I went along with our very own deputy comment editor, the self-proclaimed “art connoisseur” Joonsoo Yi. Safe to say he enjoyed it much more than me. The lecture was about engraving and most of it was prep for a workshop which I knew I wasn’t going to, which is a shame as I’d have loved to have made an engraving to illustrate just how exhausted I was after attending eight subjects’ worth of lectures in a week. A Nuremburg artist called Dürer was the main focus. Poor guy had a rather hard time of it. He made a lot of mistakes in his art, like printing no. 9 backwards. He also got plagiarised a lot by Italian artists like Raimondi and Wierix, both of whom got away with it. Absoloutely scandalous! Despite my companion absoloutely loving it, my disinclination for art meant that for me it was just about as interesting as watching paint dry. (No pun intended, seriously, I promise).