Newman alum’, Damian Hansford, gives us his thoughts on the first months on our MRes Humanities programme.
Well here I am. After three years of intense study I got my degree and then decided to dive headlong into an MRes in Humanities. I can only imagine what I must have been thinking. As a mature student, I found the entire process of studying quite a daunting concept to grasp and yet over the past three years I have gradually become hooked and now cannot imagine doing anything else.
Throughout the last three years I have had the support of the history department at Newman and found it a nurturing environment where I was able to grow as an individual and a student of history. My entire outlook has changed and I now realise what I am capable of and I have proceeded upon the challenge of obtaining an MRes.
The differences between the undergraduate and postgraduate courses are astounding. First, I can study exactly what I wish to study, which is important as it is helping maintain that focus that I am going to require to get through the course. I enjoy history as a subject, but have always been far more interested in the seventeenth century. I now get to read all I want around the period and I get to formulate theories surrounding this time.
It is different as a postgraduate. Firstly, there is a different way of approaching things, such as title choice and what to research, these things are now studied with the intent of improving and focusing the research. Secondly there is an expectation to put yourself out there and participate, not only within the university but externally also, as a result I have already visited The Institute of Historical Research and the British Library in London and I attended the AGM of the Worcestershire Historical Society just before Christmas. I have also attended the most recent research seminar at Newman and found it to be most interesting.
On the whole I am thoroughly enjoying the entire experience, I get to spend most of my time with my head in a book about seventeenth century puritanism, I get advice from people who are at the cutting edge of research. I cannot imagine doing anything else and while the last three years have been an exciting challenge, I truly view this new challenge as the beginning of the rest of my life. As you can see from the photo; it has pretty much taken over.