Name: George Lord
Subject: 4 Year Classics (Classics with Preliminary Year)
A-Levels Taken: History Mathematics and Philosophy
What's different about the 4 year Course?
The 4 year Classics course is for those who do not have an A-Level in Latin or Greek. It's a fantastic idea because many schools simply do not have the capabilities or resources to offer students the chance to do these subjects. Why should they miss out on Classics for this reason? What makes the course so good at Cambridge is that as opposed to throwing you in with those who do have these language A-Levels and simply giving you additional help on the side (as is the case at Oxford and many other good universities), you do an extra year before you start the main Classics course in which you get your Latin from as little as nothing to degree level!
The general rule of thumb is that arts students have less contact hours such as lectures or labs but more independent study and reading than science students. This is both a blessing and a curse. It means you have a really flexible schedule and it's much easier to fit social or sporting activities around your work however you must find your own motivation which can be hard sometimes.
Do you have any language classes?
The main job of a four year classicist is to learn Latin. Four days a week I have an hour long language class with four other classicists. This is a general class in which we cover grammar points and work on reading ancient texts (obviously Latin into English) and prose composition (English into Latin). Twice a week I have an hour long language supervision with two other classicists and a supervisor. These are supplementary to the main language classes and sometimes we cover things that we want to go over again and other times our supervisor does something completely different with us. For either a language class or supervision, I may have to complete a a translation which is rarely more than a few paragraphs or complete a prose comp. exercise which is translating 10 English sentences into Latin.
What are your Lectures like?
Although it's our job to learn Latin, it would get dull quickly if we didn't have anything else to do. This is why the faculty put on 4 or 5 courses of Lectures each term for us. These are extras that keep our knowledge of the rest of the Ancient World fresh and keeps our interest going. In the 1st year it is focussed on Rome (to go with the Latin) but as our timetables are so free, we can attend any of the 3 year Classicists' Lectures if we want to. As I took Philosophy at A-Level and have an interest in it, I attend Greek Philosophy lectures on top of my timetabled ones.
Do you write any essays?
The Director of Studies at Christ's, Dr. Carrie Vout, also believes that it's important to do other things as well so we have to write an essay or prepare a presentation on a topic (Art, History etc.) for a supervision we have with a different member of the faculty every two weeks. We are given twice as long as a 3 year Classicist would be given so as to not impact too much on our language learning. This involves a fair bit of reading.
So how many contact hours do you have a week?
Lectures: At least 3 hours
Language Classes: 4 hours
Language Supervisions: 2 hours
Other Supervisions: 1-2 hours every two weeks
A Typical Thursday:
7:00-9:45: Wake up, get ready and make sure any work due in that day is finished. (Of course it is!)
9:45-10:00: Walk to the Sidgwick Site (this is where the Classics faculty is-it's only a 15 minute work if you're quick)
10:05-10:55: Attend an 'optional' lecture on Greek Philosophy at the faculty.
11:00-11:55: Language Supervision
12:00-13:00: Language Class
13:00-14:00: Lunch in upper hall finishes at half past. If I'm quick I can make it back in time but if I have books to get out the faculty library I'll just make myself something in my room instead.
14:00-18:00: Get on with my work or reading, sometimes I have rowing or another activity etc.
18:00-18:45: Dinner with friends in upper hall
18:45-20:00 or whenever I'm done or have agreed to stop: Finish any work (I'm usually done by now though)
20:00-23:00 : Socialise with friends either in the buttery, someone's room or the JCR.
23:00-0:00: Reading then Bed.