I’m going to start by saying, my lockdown has been by no means the most productive. I had many lofty ideas at the start of how I was going to become a #healthqueen, but honestly, I love the snacks too much and the thought of getting out of bed when I don’t really need to was painful. However, after many successful days of Netflix-ing (okay, weeks), I did hit a bit of a plateau.
I left university just under two years ago now, with two History degrees under my belt, ready to dive into a career. Except, quite frankly, I didn’t have a clue about what I wanted to do. I’m now settled into a career in Higher Education, which I adore, but I do miss the time I once had to dedicate to History. After dipping my toes into Instagram blogging at the end of last year, my commitment to it was sporadic at best, mainly as I was still a bit lost as to what I wanted to talk about. I’m still learning, but over the past how many weeks we’ve been in lockdown, I’ve had the time and energy to refocus on this. But, I still feel like I’ve left History behind a tiny bit and so have spent the more recent weeks putting my attention back on that. So here are the steps I’ve taken to refocus on History during lockdown.
Netflix (this is more of a half step)
Okay, hear me out on this one. I stand by it. Don’t judge. When I had to choose a topic for my undergraduate project, I had no idea. So, in the true form of a procrastinating student, I took to Netflix and discovered Reign, which is based on the life of Mary, Queen of Scots (now the love/bane of my history world). Now, I am not saying historical dramas are factually correct, but it’s light. If you’re in a history mood, or whatever your area is, it’s just a nice and light way to explore another area. And, if you’re anything like me, it’ll set you off into a little research hole. I recently started watching Medici: Masters of Florence on Netflix and as soon as the first episode had finished, I was googling all the different people in it and reading up on them. You’re relaxed and you learn something. Bingo.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
Okay, if you really want to actively learn, here we go. I’m a big fan of a free online courses. They’re easy to get into and you can dedicate yourself as and when. There are a million different subjects to try out, so if you’re suddenly overcome with the desire to learn astrophysics, you go for it. I’m going to stay in my lane for now and focus on History, for which Harvard University Online Courses and Future Learn are my two favourite platforms, with lots of different subjects to take part in!
Currently, I’ve got my eye on a a Digital Humanities course on Harvard Online and one on Royal Fashion History on Future Learn. Fashion History is completely new to me, so very excited about this one!
Get Involved in the Conversation
First of all, if someone could tell me how to make friends after you’ve left school, that would be great. It’s always a bit nerve wracking meeting new people when you’re a grown up (well for me anyway), but, if you really put yourself out there, you will definitely find your community. Being able to talk to likeminded people about History and different focuses is fantastic, and not boring my partner with my ramblings is very beneficial too. For me, my History Instagram has been the best way to do this. I follow lots of different history, literature, heritage and likeminded blogs and get to have great conversations with lots of people. A special shout out to the #historygirls community for being SO welcoming.
Look at Your Path
I’ve always wonder if I go back into History. I love education and I love learning, and I do miss having the time to research and focus on my own specialism. I’m not 100% sure what I want to be when I grow up yet, but making yourself aware of your options is just a great way to settle yourself. After having a minor panic about not having THE Path set out, I just did some research on things I would like to do. Looked into where I could maybe volunteer once this is over. Looked into going back to University, either for a PhD or refocusing by means of a PGDip. I’m not 100% sure on what I want to do just yet, but just being aware of my options has definitely helped.
So there we go. That’s what I’ve been doing and I have to say, it’s helped me massively. I fell out with History very quickly after leaving university, but it is certainly never too late to go back. Being aware of the resources I have and how I can fit them into my life now is great and has certainly helped me refocus and stop panicking. Now, back to Netflix…