Masters Degree: My weeks so far

New Campus…es

I went to the University of Derby for my undergraduate and have returned for my Masters year. For my undergrad, I was at the main campus, a building that is designed like a compass—almost.

Classrooms that began with E was in East Tower, classrooms that began with N were in north tower. Student support was in south tower

It only got confusing west. Which is the entrance. There were 2 lecture rooms named OL1 and OL2 that do not follow the campus but it is quick to learn that this is the rooms on the balcony above the entrance.

Then you have T block which is the doctors and B block which is the computing rooms. Those did not follow the campus either but as long as you knew which compass tower it was close to, you could find your way.

I have two new campuses. One of them is simple. You get in the lift to what ever room you need to be in and follow the signs pointing to that room. It’s a very small, rectangular building with a maximum of 30 rooms on a floor.

The other is as complicated as navigating the seven seas. Honestly, I always get lost. There are lifts that only go up one floor, lifts that only go up 2 floors and then 1 lift that goes up to floor 3 & 4.

One of those mazes kids get with meals, but with a room that has no entrance to show my Masters confusing campus

I struggle with the stairs so finding that one lift is an uttermost nightmare. I forget whether I need to turn left, left, right or whether it is right, right left or left right left… You get the picture.

There is also a room that is inside a room! Whose genius idea was that?

Constant Campus Switches

Not to mention, I am constantly switching between the campuses.

On Monday, I start in the confusing building. Not the best start of a Monday. That class is from 9-11, then the other class is 11-13. You see the problem?

Our lecture gives us 15 minutes to get there, go to the loo and get a drink. It’s a 5 minute walk.

I drive because the walk is too much for me. It takes me 10 minutes to get there because students are always in the way. A narrow road shared by pedestrians and cars. It takes me 10 minutes, I go to the café, get a drink and end up being 5 minutes late. That is without a loo stop.

Tuesday is better because we have the whole of lunch to get to the other campus.


Ok, this one is on all of the campuses throughout the whole of the university. The university has become less accessible to disabled students. They have added sensors everywhere, including on the third floor. These are activated by your student card and is a deter to terrorists.

Now, I am all for security but they are also stopping the building being accessible. They could make the doors open automatically once you trigger it. There is a part of one campus where I have to try and be quick because the sensor and the handle are a distance away from each other and the sensor is on a timer. I once had to ask someone to help me get into that part of the building! It’s frustrating.

Have the security and the accessibility, make the doors automatic, especially as the entrance doors are automatic once you use the sensor! Why is inside different?

The Food

Then there is the food. I hate the café in the square building—never tried in the other one, but in the square one, it is pastry, pastry, pastry or a really expensive sandwich. They have some hot food that looks absolutely revolting and I have a friend who is vegetarian but cannot eat anything there aside from a cheese sandwich—that’s if they haven’t ran out!

We usually go into town on Mondays and McDonalds (around the corner) on Tuesdays.

The food is 1/3 more than the main campus. The main campus you could get a drink for £1.70. That same drink costs £2.50 in this campus.

They also do not have any drinking straws and I can tell you this is not to do with the plastic ban because the cutlery is throw away plastic,  the toppings are in throw away plastic. This is literally an accessibility issue that cannot be blamed on the straw ban. I am hoping to get this changed though, using the ideas forum.

The Course: Writing for Performance

After reading from the above, you are probably wondering if the course is living up to my expectation. From the 6th October, I started my Masters Degree in Writing for Performance at the University of Derby.

I am not going to lie, it is not what I was promised on the open day. The open day promised me a course where I can explore my interests in a variety of ways. The ability to explore whether I wanted to write for film, TV, gaming, Radio or theatre. The person I spoke to said it would not be heavily theatre based, that there would be a lot of work on the practical side. A trip to Portugal and a 2 week writers retreat.

Sounded perfect, but the reality is something totally different.

In the first 2 weeks, we had several compulsory plays that we must attend. The good thing is that these were all paid for, but even so, for something that promised me an equal weighting in 5 different platforms, I have not been told to go to any compulsory cinema trips, watch any compulsory shows or have a look at any games (in fact gaming has disappeared all together). I have been told to get into the habit of listening to the radio 4 afternoon dramas but it is not compulsory and I have also been told to go to the cinema once, with the ticket not paid for.

Yep, that is good equal weighting.

Not Prepared

It has been 3 weeks so far and we have done one practical task. I have a presentation due in 2 weeks but we were only given the brief with no inclination on what they expect us to do. It’s bad because the presentation is a draft presentation of our graded presentation.

I am unclear what I have to do for the other modules too. I mean, I know I have to write a 4000 word essay (which is the only thing I am clear on), get graded on two presentations, and write a 500 blog post about my script.

And I also have to think of a title for the script I am writing, write an outline, summary, premise and treatment. I think I also have to have character summaries too but there is no guidance towards that at the moment so far.

It’s early days yet but I am really disappointed in this course. We are covering theory which I covered since my GCSEs with no work to apply it from. It feels like film studies …. or theatre studies.

I am going to stick at it. I know how to write a script so I will do that along the sidelines while I do the development work. Ok, I understand they want us to plan it out in the uttermost detail possible but I don’t work like that. I need to be able to free write in order to get ideas. So that’s what I am going to do. Get my drafts out of the way and use them to base the treatment and outline off.

Seven more weeks and Semester One will be finished. I’m counting it. I’m hoping

The Good Side!

Yep, there is one! Every Monday, I see my specialist support mentor (who I rant to, constantly). She helps me with anything that makes me feel anxious and to order my thoughts around my coursework.

The other day, I told her about my script idea and she helped me sort the beginning and end out by asking me questions. This was good because when I pitched the idea to the class, I at least had a beginning and end to talk about. My lecture was cancelled on Tuesday, so the class and I discussed and developed our ideas more and then afterwards we had a tutorial about our idea and I felt prepared.

It was my most productive week and it has made me hopeful for the rest.

Thank you for reading, I know I haven’t posted for awhile. The PIP appeal and University have knocked me out of the swing but I hope that I can return and keep up now that things seem to be back on track. I am still waiting on my Tribunal date though.

I am hoping to post every Thursday, Saturday and Tuesday if possible. Why not read some of my other posts while you’re here? And please do follow me on here, Facebook or Twitter.



5 replies »

  1. Good to hear from you, but I am sorry that the course hasn’t been what you hoped for.
    Good luck with your tribunal, I hope you get a date soon. Husband had his PIP awarded and we’ve had the back payment he was owed now, so things are starting to feel a bit more real.

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