Charlotte did a BA in English Literature and United States Literature in the Department for Literature, Film and Theatre Studies. She graduated in 2014 with a first class honours degree and currently works as an English teacher in a secondary school in Essex, England.
My first impressions of Essex Uni
Essex has an amazing campus – modern, vibrant and unique. The extensive grounds and the lake are perfect for outdoor study and relaxing.
My first impression was that Essex was friendly and open. I asked Essex if I could come and have a look around and they said yes, the campus is open so you can just come whenever you want. When I was first thinking of enrolling, I visited the Department for Literature, Film and Theatre Studies where I talked to some tutors and realised there was just something about it that was right. I loved the campus; there’s a huge lake out by the library that is iced over in the winter with ducks skating over it, and in the summer there are people all over the campus reading books and relaxing with friends: yes, I thought, this is the best option for me.
I also liked the campus for its unique style; Essex University was designed and built in the early 60s in the so-called ‘brutalist’ style: very modern, square and concrete. They’ve got five squares that connect through, but all of the buildings are on multiple layers, so you can be in square one but still level with one further down; I liked it because it was almost like Hogwarts, you kind of have to know the tricks and navigate it. The staircases don’t move, but apart from that you feel like you’re lost a little bit sometimes, and I liked that labyrinthine feel. So, I decided to go there, and I went and registered. Before I became a student at Essex I had already experienced some of its charms and been rescued from their famous Paternoster lift.
I liked the campus for its unique style… it was almost like Hogwarts… I liked that labyrinthine feel.
There’s a huge lake out by the library that is iced over in the winter with ducks skating over it, and in the summer there are people all over the campus reading books and relaxing with friends: yes, I thought, this is the best option for me.
I asked Essex if I could come and have a look around and they said yes, the campus is open so you can just come whenever you want.
My first introduction to Essex Uni
Before I enrolled at Essex, I had a friend who was doing her law degree there and I used to go to her law lectures and help her take notes, so I had already had an introduction. Once, we got stuck in the Paternoster lift, which is famous at Essex. The Paternoster is in the Albert Sloman Library and we would stay until as long as the library was open for her to be writing essays the night before they were due, and then climb into the lift as they were ringing the bell to say that they were locking up and, of course, we got stuck one night!
We were stuck in the lift with this pile of books (we’d decided we were just going to move downstairs where there’s a study room that’s open all night); they had turned the lift off as we were descending and we weren’t level with the floor, but eventually the security guard came around and said, “What are you doing in there?” and pressed the button and rescued us. So, that was my first experience of Essex: being there with my friend and enjoying it – especially the library with its five floors of books and constant access through the reading room.
My first winter at uni
I started going to lectures and I was living nearby in the village of Frinton and getting the train in. We had really bad snow one time, but I decided to struggle in and found the lecturer waiting on her own when I arrived. I asked: “College is open today, isn’t it?” and she said, “Oh yes, we’re supposed to be here”, and as I was the only student that had turned up we went and sat and had coffee and had a sort of informal lecture that day. That was one of the things I liked about it: you could have conversations with the lecturers and they treated you like equals, even though most of them have doctorates and are completing research, and writing the books that are on your syllabus.
You could have conversations with the lecturers and they treated you like equals, even though most of them have doctorates.