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Tag Archives: Academic term

Enrichment Week: A Short Breather

Photo by Ken McKay / Rex Features

This week was labelled on the timetable which I received at the beginning of the course as enrichment week. Having never had a reading week at Durham, I was quite excited at the prospect of having half term again. Then I went to induction, and the prospect of that glorious week of free time slipped away before my eyes. It was to be used for shorthand!

In the event, shorthand bootcamp only took up two days of enrichment week (although my days of freedom were quickly filled up with a family funeral, an interview for work experience, a small amount of socialising and an even smaller amount of law revision), but it was intense. Wednesday was particularly draining, with eleven hours spent on campus.

Those eleven hours were not all devoted to shorthand. The day started at 9am with three and a half hours of shorthand, covering much more of the book (and certainly many more long passages) than we normally get through in a lesson. We were all rather grumpy about being there so early, especially as the broken coffee machine in the postgraduate café meant that we had to venture into undergraduate territory (uninhabited due to enrichment week, but it was the principle of the matter), but we were cheered by a trip to Pizza Hut when shorthand was done with for the day.

Before long though we were back for the Media Summit, opened by the one and only Sir Trevor McDonald.  He gave an inspiring speech, and one which for once didn’t leave us feeling afraid about what we would face in the media industry (all of the other guest lecturers have succeeded in terrifying us). A networking class by Nicky Moran followed, with a little too much ‘talk to your neighbour’ for our liking given that we (or at least I) had been up since 6am, but which had some very useful pointers for the networking which we will all have to do in our careers.

Then it was time for a caffeine pit stop before Marian, Felicia and I finished the day with a crash course in web design with Adam Westbrook.  None of us knew anything about web design beforehand and before the end we were talking about creating our own websites, so it certainly gave us confidence in our own abilities. Whether we’d be quite as confident without Adam guiding us through the process is another matter entirely.

The next day was filled with more shorthand, and our very first unseen 60wpm dictation. Given that we’ve only been learning it for a month, it didn’t go too disastrously, but it also could have gone a lot better considering the fact that we have an exam at the end of the month. I have a feeling that the next few weeks are going to be interesting!