What comes to mind when you consider the phrase 'University life'? Something along the lines of Freshers' Flu, wild parties and very late nights, perhaps? Well, you'd be right about the last one. While you will find the average media student out on the town most weekday nights, regardless of whether they happen to have a 9am lecture the following day, the life of a History undergraduate is, in contrast, rather different.
Arriving as a slightly nervous fresher at one of my first university lectures, a friend apologises for not meeting me earlier. "So sorry, I had a late night - Question Time went on for hours yesterday."
Following this, I can also recall being enlightened to the voice of John Humphrys on Radio 4 by a fellow student, who also insisted that I should subscribe to the fortnightly fun in Private Eye. However, it's not only history and politics which seem to fascinate; Sir David Attenborough is another favourite.
"Did you catch Frozen Planet last night? Amazing. Did you see the penguins?", this coming from a notorious party goer who also insisted on recording the episode, just in case anyone missed it.
The world of Radio 4 was introduced to us by a popular Professor, one of the few who actually manages to fill any lecture room he happens to walk into. 'In Our Time' and 'Any Questions?' were duly noted down under a fluster of notebooks, which we all then flocked to research. Now, a good majority have been captivated by the lure of Radio 4, and even some of the Capital FM devotees appear to have switched stations.
You might think that a History degree requires you to be up-to-date with current affairs, thus highlighting the need to tune in to the latest news; however, I have discovered it isn't only the History students who have been influenced. While living in halls, I remember walking in on a conversation between two Art students who were discussing the benefits of Britain switching to the euro (not many, apparently). Another time, a regular Saturday night out was cancelled by a group who were immersed in a heavy debate over the future of the Coalition. The advantage of that resulted in waking up early enough the next day for them to catch The Andrew Marr Show on BBC1.
Going into my final year of university, I now feel I am up to speed. Radio 4? It's my alarm clock. Question Time? I'm glued every Thursday. Add to this that despite being a cash-strapped student, I still manage to buy The Times daily and have recently splashed out on a subscription to The Spectator. Despite the pictures you may see in the papers of the annual Freshers' Week next month, the reality of life as a History undergraduate is all about Radio 4 and Question Time, perhaps mixed with the odd episode of Have I Got News For You?, just to spice things up.
Suggested For You
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements. Learn more