Procrastination – Our Arch Nemesis

                                                              By Simran Kabotra.

Procrastination: “The act or habit of procrastinating, or putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention.”

We all know what this is. We all know how it feels. We all know how much it distracts us. It certainly is a bad habit we are all guilty of, no matter how studious or organised we are. You have a deadline within the next three weeks but you allow yourself to take it easy “because you have time”. A week before the due date, you assure yourself that the essay can be completed within two or three days instead, thus procrastinating some more. 

Besides, looking at YouTube videos of how to make a stress ball seems more relevant and so you convince yourself that you need to go through the stress of making a stress ball! You don’t posses any of the materials but you watch it nonetheless as preparation for when you do make it. 

One day. Maybe.

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Is Truth Stranger Than Fiction?

By James Jefferies. 

Whenever I get asked what I studied at the University of Essex I always seem to be given a strange look when I say I studied Drama and History. “Oh that’s an interesting choice of degree, I never knew you could do that” people respond to me with a rather bemused face. I’ll then reply by saying that it was actually two separate degrees rather than one. My Bachelor’s degree was in Drama and my Masters in History. They then say something along the lines of “I never knew the two could link.” Well, neither did I, but in many ways they did. Both were about discovering truth and understanding humanity. They are, after all, both subject of Humanities. It’s kind of obvious when you think about it.

Many of my favourite films when growing up were often historical and I often found myself asking two questions – What was the real truth behind the story? How can it be discovered? Both questions could be explored through historical research and through the process of performance. When studying History, I would examine sources to unravel the truth and in Drama, I would understand how a theatrical medium could be used to express and explore much of a historical story from fact.

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How to Survive Your Year Abroad

   By Antonia Vladut.

Coming to university is a terrific, yet thoroughly frightening experience. On one hand, you get the thrill of moving away from home for possibly the first time, starting a new life as an adult, and submerging yourself in the world of debauchery and late night Dominos that is university. On the other hand, you need to wash your own clothes, learn to cook at some point (hopefully), and actually attend the courses that you are continuously gathering an incredible amount of student debt for. Delightful, isn’t it? But once you arrive at uni, you realise that life is not too bad; you make a great deal of new friends which you can go out partying with, you sign up for countless societies and sports clubs (most of which you’ll never ever attend anyway but hey, they were giving out free lollies at their stall!), and last but not least, get to become a more intellectual and creative person due to your course. While this sounds pretty amazing, some people just can’t get enough; they want to challenge themselves even more, and that’s when a year abroad opportunity comes chiming in.

A year (or term) abroad is an excellent opportunity for students to thoroughly expand their area of expertise. It gives you the incredible chance of attending a new university in a different country, and engage in their curriculum. With the help of a year abroad, a psychology student may get to enhance their understanding of cognitive memory in New Zealand, an economics enthusiast gets to experience local finance in Canada, whilst a politics undergraduate can make his voice heard in the United States of America.

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Heritage

                                                                By Lelia Ferro.

I am currently working on two very different but connected poems about family heritage.

Although I was born and raised in England, both my parents were born in Genoa, Italy. I grew up near to London, and lived and worked in London and Brighton. The transition to Wivenhoe 10 years ago wasn’t easy and for a long time I felt like a fish out of water. However Genoa, like Essex, has a great maritime history and so in this respect I felt that we were connected by the sea in our blood. Colchester was also of course home to the Romans for quite some time.

At the University I have found a home with great diversity where I am by no means the only person who is from here, there, and everywhere. I believe that having a mixed heritage is a very interesting gift creatively, although it has taken me a long time to recognise this. I identify with both my countries, but at the same time I can be an observant stranger in both. It is this outsider position and feelings of uncertainty that lead to questioning ideas and perspectives. Continue reading

A View from the Other Side – A Farewell from LiFTS’ Student Engagement Intern

By Sam Cannon. 

As a student, my relationship with the LiFTS department was always short and sweet: I’d come in to submit or collect essays, have some friendly chat with the administrative staff as I did so, and then happily trundle off back home again. So when I found out that I’d been accepted for an internship within the department, I wondered what things were going to look like from the other side of the desk, or behind the scenes.

Some things never change, however – a 9am start is still a 9am start, a cup of coffee from the kitchen is still enough to draw me out of bed on dark mornings, and autumn term was still full of fresh-faced first years roaming around campus, taking all of it in. And it’s been my job to make sure that all of the changes are relatively easy to adapt to, things like making sure students know where to find support if they should need it, making sure they know where their classes are, or even organising events such as book fairs or social events.

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Are Smartphones Ruining Our Lives?

                                                                   By Melanie Ashton.

Over the New Year a video went viral on Facebook and YouTube in which motivational speaker Simon Sinek discusses what he calls ‘The Millennial Question’. He discusses how employers feel that they cannot connect with the generation born post 1994 and they can’t understand why. Simon puts this down to several factors, one of them being technology and social media. Ed Sheeran recently revealed  that he no longer has a phone and can only be contacted by e-mail. He felt that his phone stopped him from being in the moment and once he stopped using it he found that he was thinking again rather than filling empty moments by turning to his phone. The idea that smartphones can become addictive and have a severely negative impact on not only our relationships but also our mental health and productivity really struck a chord with me and I think it is something worth considering.

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Five Christmas Gift Ideas for a LiFTS Student

                                                              By Melanie Ashton

As Christmas is getting nearer and nearer it’s about time we started thinking about presents for our family and friends. However, the fun part is finding stuff that you want to ask for, so here’s a list of things you might want for Christmas or ideas for if you have no idea what to get someone else who happens to love literature, film or theatre studies.

1. A Clapper Board Light 

Perfect for a film-lover, and practical too! It turns on and off by opening and closing the clapper, and it’s also a whiteboard so you can personalise it too.

clapper-board

                         Photo credit: Firebox. Sourced from: https://www.firebox.com/Clapper-Board-Light-Box/p7587 Continue reading

‘An Evening with an Immigrant’ – Review

                                                                  By Ellen Pascoe

To name a production ‘An Evening with an Immigrant,’ is to spark a conversation from the outset. We most commonly hear this word in a negative context, from a political figure whose orange face or grey-haired bob we have become all too familiar with. But the characters we seem to know the least about are those who are being spoken of; without a name but with an umbrella term.

I sat in the auditorium facing a minimalist set-up not dissimilar from that which you would expect to see in a comedy club, with jazz music to match as well as a single suitcase at the back of the stage. The music grew louder and down through the crowd came Inua Ellams, interacting with the audience and making us laugh until he reached the stage and took a seat. The performance which proceeded this wasn’t a piece of theatre as much as it was a cross-between a stand-up show and a poetry reading – ‘an evening’ spent in conversation with a friend rather than witnessing a one man show. Continue reading

Responding to Visual Works of Art with Poetry

                                                                 By Lelia Ferro

A few years ago I bought a beautiful etching, The Nearest House, by Mersea based artist, Elizabeth Morris. I recently wrote a poem in response to it as part of my Writing Workshop coursework.

I had this idea because I frequently lose myself in its dark blue finely etched tones. It captures everything I love about the magical coastline near to the University. It also depicts my dream house – I would love to live there all alone with only the sheep and the seabirds for company. Continue reading