A Day in the life of an English Literature student

Randi Holwerda

Good morning

As a second year who now knows what it’s like to be at uni, I have tried to make a good routine for myself which includes getting up at the same time most mornings. I live in St Mary’s college which means that I get breakfast in the dining hall every morning and as this opens at 8am, I normally get up and dressed around 7:45am. I then either bring a book to breakfast or socialise with any friends that might be there at the same time as me.


After breakfast, I go back to my room to read before my first lecture. I’m currently reading ‘Home’ by Toni Morrison. In second year, we tend to have one module which is taught in 2-hour seminars every other week, whereas most of our other modules are taught by weekly lectures and a couple of tutorials spread out over the year. I really love my seminar module as it’s a more specific topic that I’m especially interested in, so I’m happy to be able to delve into this.

First lecture of the day

I leave Mary’s at 10:35am with my friend who also studies English, to walk to our 11am lecture. It’s only a 12-minute walk from Mary’s, but we like to get there a bit early and chat on the way about the books we’re reading or anything else on our minds. As an international student, I have also had many conversations about how to pronounce English words with my friend which is always quite funny.

At a lecture


We finish our lecture on Queer Modernism and ‘The Well of Loneliness’, which is for our module Literature of the Modern Period – another module I’m really enjoying this year. I only have two compulsory modules in second year, which are Shakespeare and Theory and Practice of Literary Criticism, both are very useful, but especially theory can be hard to wrap my head around – I’m getting there though! After the lecture I go back to college with my friend to have lunch around 12:15pm and I then have a little bit of time to relax in my room before the next lecture.

Second lecture

At 1:35pm, I leave my room to go to yet another lecture. This time I’m walking alone so I take the river walk. It’s such a pretty walk and a lot quieter than the busy road, and it gives me time to clear my head. I then arrive at the next lecture, which is for Postcolonial and World Literature, another module I have chosen. I think this one is very important to get more diversity in my degree, but I personally have found both the reading and the lectures hard to follow.

A little break

After the lecture, I go to the Student’s Union to study before my last class. We have classrooms, a café, and study spaces there, so it’s very convenient in between classes at Elvet. Today I’m translating some Old Norse before my workshop at 5pm. Another module I’m really enjoying, even though it takes time to do the translations.

Old Norse

Finally, I go to my last class: Old Norse. Here, we go through our translations with our professor and ask any questions we might have. Thursday is always my busy day with three classes, spread out quite a lot, but usually I only have one or two classes a day, and some days I don’t have any. Being an English Literature student is very flexible, so even though there is a lot of reading and independent studying to do, I can plan my days with extra curriculars to make it fit my schedule.

Evening plans

After Old Norse, I go back to college to have dinner with a couple of my friends. Most days I won’t do any studying in the evening after dinner as I am more productive throughout the day, though I might do a bit of reading, which is often also relaxing with a cup of tea. This evening, however, I am going to the cinema with one of my friends which is great fun, and after the movie, I finally wind down and go to bed.  

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Randi Holwerda

Hi, I’m Randi and I am a second year English Literature student at Durham in St Mary’s College. Having moved from Denmark, I am absolutely loving this place with all its nature, small, cobbled streets and the collegiate system! I am very involved in our college JCR and do lots of music and dancing.

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