Tag Archives: reading

Student’s guide to a productive summer!

It’s exactly 5 weeks and 4 days before classes start again at University of Westminster! We are just a little bit excited to see everyone again and settle back into our central London life.

For Humaira, our resident student blogger, this academic year will be her last at the University as she is about to start her 3rd year! Here are her tips for a productive summer:

You probably don’t really want to be reading this, I know. You’d rather go on your holiday and spend the Summer going out with your friends or relaxing and enjoying the sun. And you can do that. Of course, Summer is about taking some well-earned time off from essays and exams – but that’s not all it’s for. You’re probably reading this because you realise that you have a few months off and although you’re taking advantage of the break from university, you also want to make use of that time and maybe even do something that could benefit your future.

So, here are some suggestions to make this Summer a productive one:

Do a Summer internship

Know what you want to do once you graduate? That’s fab!

If you are looking for internship opportunities, contact our careers team and they will be able to help!

Get an internship and get some experience in that field, you might find that you don’t really enjoy the field or, on the other hand, you might love it! Even if you don’t know what you want to do after university, getting an internship and getting some experience in a field that you’re interested in is one of the best ways of figuring out what the right job is. Not only that, but you gain skills, you gain valuable experience, you gain contacts and if you do the job well, you might even secure a role after you graduate (show the company why you’re an invaluable asset to the team).

Take the time to study the field you want to go into

Along with doing an internship, researching the field you want to go into allows you to learn more about the experience and skills you might need to work on in order to secure a job in that area. Finding out exactly what is needed to prepare for potential roles will help you build your professional profile and make securing jobs much easier! There are many ways to do that. You can, for example…

Follow successful people in your area

They must be doing something right! Successful people are great to keep up with, as you learn what they do differently and what you can do to be successful too. Social media are the easiest way to find out more about influencers in the area you are interested in. But identifying professional organisations, going to talks and job fairs and reading trade publications are all good ways of learning more about those who already work in the sector you hope to join too. But remember, no matter what you do, always always put your own spin on it so a company or organisation knows why they need you and not someone else.

Start your reading for next year

I am starting my final year of University after the summer. And with final year comes the usual reading…but there is a lot more of it and it comes with a big dissertation/project, too. To manage the workload, starting to read early is the best way to go. And if not early, then at least earlier.

Contact your tutors and ask for reading list advice.

Once you know what classes you will be taking after the summer, contact your tutors and ask for reading list advice. They will be able to point you to the most challenging texts or books which are the best starting point for the module; the sort of reading that is best done in advance. If you plan ahead, the reading list will be much more manageable once the academic year starts.

 Go to talks/lectures that are of interest to you

You never know who you could meet. As well as making what could be important contacts, you’re spending your time finding out about things you genuinely take an interest in, so that’s surely no waste of time. You might also stumble across ideas and topics you were not familiar with (and perhaps find inspiration for the dissertation….). London has so much to offer, also during the summer! For events inspiration, check out TimeOut or ArtRabbit.

Plan your dissertation

If like me you’re about to start your final year, the summer is a great time to start planning your dissertation/final project. Dissertation means work! And a lot of it! But it’s also an amazing opportunity to focus on the topic you are interested in and develop it in a way you want! But did I mention the work…we’d better get started early!

Take a course or two, sharpen those skills and maybe even learn some new ones.

Last Summer, I went to a coaching course and came out the other end as a qualified Master Coach. This means that I am now a personal life coach, a business executive coach, and an accelerated learning and training coach! It was time consuming, but it was genuinely worth it. I have a qualification I can use in my career and a range of new skills which will be useful at both uni and work!

Get a job

A job means income, skills, something to fill your days, an opportunity to meet different people and hopefully even make new friends, all that whilst adding to you CV. There are so many benefits of getting a Summer job. You might even be able to stay on part-time when you go back to university in September, depending on your employer.

Last but most definitely not least, don’t overdo it and remember to actually take a break and recharge the batteries before another busy, challenging but exciting year!


image from the University of Westminster Archive: Women’s gymnastics on the roof of Little Titchfield Street (now our University Library) c. 1929



Celebrating World Book Day with our students!

Happy World Book Day! To celebrate, we asked our students to tell us about the best book that they’ve studied so far as part of their degree at the Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies. Here’s what they said:

Nicole, 3rd year English Language and Literaturenicole-2

Book: Irvin Welsh, Trainspotting

Module: Introduction to Literary Studies

This was one of the first novels I studied at university and it has stuck in my mind! Even though it was pretty hard to understand because of the Scottish dialect, the message behind it is amazing. I loved T2 Trainspotting as well!

Rumaanah, 2nd Year,  English Literature

Book: Kamila Shamsie, Burnt Shadows

Module: Making Memory

What I loved about this book was how much ground and history it covered; it starts in Japan on the day of the bomb, moves to India pre- and post-partition and then ends in the USA after 9/11. It includes characters of colour who are multi-faceted and complex, which I enjoyed. Not every book manages to avoid stereotypical representations. I enjoyed the module in general because we got to debate a lot of interesting topics and it felt very current. The reading list was also great.


Lois, 2nd Year, English Literaturelois-2

Book: Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Module: Monsters

I loved reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Its complex monster and exploration of human morality really makes it a classic.



secret-history-2Lauren, 3rd Year, English Literature and Creative Writing

Book: Donna Tart, The Secret History

Module: The Novels and Novellas

The Secret History is a book I fell in love with during The Novels and Novellas Module. We read the opening in class and I wanted to know more, so I got a copy and didn’t put it down for a week. It’s now one of my dissertation texts.

Melissa, 2nd Year English Literaturemelissa-2

Book: Matthew Lewis, The Monk

Module: Nineteenth Century

I like The Monk by Matthew Lewis not just because of the Gothic motifs in the text or it’s vivid imagery, but because of how it reflects the religious turmoil of the period in its narrative.


Mikki, 3rd Year, English Literature

Book: Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Module: Other Worlds

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.

“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”

“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.

“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”


tagore-2Nikhat, 3rd Year, English Literature

Book: Rabindranath Tagore, A Grain of Sand

Module: Extended Essay

A Grain of Sand: Chokher Bali by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore is one of the texts I am using for my extended essay. I love the way in which Tagore portrays the complexities of human relationships and emotions through a simple narrative. I really do wish that I could fluently read Bengali or that Tagore himself was able to translate his novels as he did with his poetry and short stories. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed reading the novel and it was interesting to see how many of the issues he raised (like child marriage, women’s education and confinement to domestic spheres) are still relevant a century later.