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A Week in the Life of Rebecca

Rebecca Lyons Diary Picture

Rebecca is a second year PhD student. Her research explores Arthurian literature owned by women in fifteenth-century England in terms of provenance, potential readership, cultural implications and female identity. She is from London, and works as a freelance web editor to finance her studies. In her spare time she enjoys exploring the gorgeous North Yorkshire countryside and running around the city, and is undertaking her first half-marathon at Blenheim Palace in October.



PGWT of the Year



I teach on Tuesdays, so much of today is spent revising and tweaking the pre-seminar reading and lesson plan for tomorrow. I have a desk on campus in the Berrick Saul Building’s postgraduate study area, and my study and seminar preparation takes place there.  I have a quick lunch (a homemade sandwich and an apple!) before jumping on a bus to town. I’m currently taking a Masters-level palaeography module, and have a two-hour seminar at King’s Manor this afternoon. I walk home after the seminar, make some dinner, and then every Monday evening is spent at a local pub quiz with friends from my PhD programme.


This morning is spent doing thesis research at my desk in the Berrick Saul Building, and trying to do some writing on my latest thesis chapter.

However, the muse isn’t cooperating today, so I meet my friend Harry for a coffee at around 11am in the hopes that a caffeine boost might help. Lo and behold, upon returning to my desk 500 words flow from my fingertips! Then it’s lunch (a packed one, as ever!) with some fellow PhD students in the foyer area of the Berrick Saul Building. I continue working until my office hour at 2pm – ten out of fourteen students turn up! They’re choosing essay topics at the moment and are keen for some guidance. My office hour spills over into the next hour and we have to vacate the room, so I finish up in the library café with the final few students before hopping on the free 44 bus across campus to the Sports Village for a swim. Then it’s home for a shower and dinner before picking up work again – as well as studying and teaching I also work as a freelance web editor, and this is how I spend the rest of the evening.


It’s been a busy week, and today I’ve got that Friday feeling! I spend the day checking emails, web editing and doing some thesis writing from my desk at the Berrick Saul, before heading home to gobble up a quick dinner, throw on a hastily put-together costume and spend the rest of the evening relaxing at a Murder Mystery party with my fellow PhD friends. We often enjoy fun evenings at each others’ houses – board games and wine are usually involved!


Living in York means being close to some stunning natural scenery, and today I’m off to the moors near Blakey Ridge with a friend for a brisk walk and a hearty pub lunch at the Lion Inn. The weather’s a bit breezy but stays dry, and once we’re back later in the afternoon I do a few hours of reading, email-checking and web editing, before we make a very light dinner of sandwiches and relax in front of a film for the rest of the evening.


I start the day bright and early, teaching a two-hour seminar from 9-11am on a third-year undergraduate High Medieval Literature module. Afterwards I pop back to my desk at the Berrick Saul Building to do some thesis research for a few hours, have a light lunch and then work for a few more hours while my lunch goes down before heading to the gym. I work out for a few hours before getting the (free!) no.44 bus back to Hes West campus and walking the rest of the way home.Then it’s a relaxed evening – dinner at home and a few episodes of a box set with my flatmate, uploading next week’s seminar reading list to the VLE for my students, and checking my emails.


Today I set about preparing myself for next week – writing a lesson plan, handouts and worksheets, and deciding upon the following week’s reading for my students, as well as completing my own homework for my palaeography class. It’s raining so I decide to do this work from home this morning – unlimited tea, pyjamas and two cats to curl up with make this a welcome choice! I teach a Yoga class at King’s Manor on Thursday afternoons, so after lunch I don my waterproofs and walk into town. After the class it’s still raining so I treat myself to a coffee at one of my favourite places, and do some reading for my thesis. I’m on a date tonight, so after coffee it’s home for a shower and general beautification before heading out to dinner at a restaurant in town.


On Saturdays I like to do things for my own amusement and self-improvement that don’t necessarily have anything to do with my PhD research (ie it’s my day off!). So after a brunch of poached eggs on toast I spend the day writing a new blog post, practising my French, reading Tess of the d’Urbervilles (I’ve never read it before!) and going for a run. This evening is a quiet and relaxed one, with dinner indoors and some television-watching with my flatmate.