In less than a month I will be moving to the UK. In October I will be starting the MSt programme in English Language at the University of Oxford. As you might expect, starting this adventure does come with quite some preparations. Besides the organizational preparations concerning housing, healthcare, my college and more, I also already have to start preparing for my MSt.
A little over a week ago I received an email from the English department containing a detailed programme description, including reading lists of my courses. My reaction was something like the following: “This is so cool – wow, this is quite a lot of work – that’s some awesome reading – how I am going to read all those books? – oh wait you only have to read those books indicated with an asterisks – hmm, almost all books have an asterisk in front of them – this is so exciting – this is so scary – Time To Panic”
Yes, I was a bit overwhelmed. All different kinds of emotions were going through me, excitement on the one hand and fear and panic on the other. These were the first documents containing lots of info about what I am (academically) actually going to do next year, and that is of course (for a nerd like me) very exciting. At the same time, however, the planning side of my brain started screaming a bit, thinking about all the pre-reading I still need to do. The thing is, this programme is only 9 months and it costs loads of money, so I just really want to make the most out of it. I don’t want to slack off or lag behind at the start already. So that’s why the day after I received the email, even though still on vacation, I ordered some of the essential books online that I definitely had to read for my courses. Thus, when I came home a week later, the books started rolling in and I could start my academic prepping.
So far I just finished the first book, An Historical Study of English: Function, Form and Change by Jeremy Smith. While the phonology part is still a bit tough (also the Great Vowel Shift just doesn’t really excite me), I was happy to find out that I actually already knew some of the basic things (cheers to UCR). And it is because of this insight that I now continue to read in a more relaxed way. My first encounters with Old English: A Linguistic Introduction have also raised my spirits. This seems to be a good and easy read and I am actually getting(stayed) really excited again (while of course keeping a little bit of healthy panic and fear on the side as well).