Anyway, little did I know when I signed up that a year later, two of my classmates – Katy and Jo – would be integral members of the Style & Then Some team, several others would have written guest posts for us, plus I’d list a trip to Edinburgh Festival with Katy as a cultural highlight of last year. Not to mention, the course itself was really enjoyable and gave me a much needed confidence boost in my journalistic career quest.
With that in mind, and ever thirsty for new educational accomplishments, this year I enrolled on a Birkbeck University politics module. Part of the Higher Education Introductory Studies offering, this twelve-week evening course forms one third of a High Certificate of Education qualification, but you can also take lone modules like I am.
Why politics? Well, it’s a subject that I’ve become more and more fascinated by in the six years I’ve been living in London. Maybe it’s because I live and work down the road from Westminster, or maybe it’s because Obama’s election in 2008 has had me engrossed in American politics ever since (mainly via the Daily Show), but I get geekily excited about elections and irrationally angry about moronic politicians all the time. However, having never studied politics at school or university, I feel my knowledge has some glaring gaps in it, so I’m hoping this course will help to fill them.
I had my first three-hour class on Wednesday night at the Russell Square campus, and so far the signs look good. You know all those political terms that you’re familiar with, but couldn’t quite define without the help of Google? Things like Neo-Liberalism or social democracy – well, we covered lots of those. Happily, I didn’t feel like a total newbie, we engaged in some healthy class debate (as in among the class, not the other kind) and I’ve already chosen ‘Women and political power’ as my essay assignment title, which I think is pretty well-timed given that Margaret Thatcher’s just popped her clogs. We’ve also got to write a critical analysis and do a ten-minute presentation, which I am also geekily excited about, if a little nervous.
Birkbeck do a huge range of different evening classes – from Egyptology to criminology, German to Japanese. At £950 for a module it’s not cheap (lucky for me my wonderful employers John Lewis subsidise some of that) but if you’re looking for a new hobby, an educational pursuit and social activity all in one you’ve got it.
Check out the Birkbeck website for details of evening course on offer in London.