Becoming a student of Archives and Records Management

It’s finally time!

After four years of planning, working, and studying, I’ve finally arrived where I want to be: at University College London studying for my MA in Archives and Records Management!

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Induction week absolute FLEW by, and now the first week of term has already been and gone! For once, I am actually really pleased with the photograph on my student card. I did ‘do’ my hair, but it’s probably just good lighting…

As a part-time student (over two years), I will only be commuting to London twice a week for lectures over the next two years, so this academic year, my lectures fall on a Monday and a Wednesday. The modules I’ve chosen this term are Concepts and Contexts and The Record-Keeping Professional. Next term, Concepts and Contexts continues, and I’ll also be studying the Introduction to Digital Curation module.

The first week’s lectures and preparatory reading was fascinating. Reading about the conceptual and contextual definitions of what constitutes a ‘record’ has really opened my eyes. Coming up with an absolute definition is almost impossible, as some people have very fixed ideas about what does and does not constitute a ‘record’, whereas other people incorporate a ‘fuzziness’ to their ideas to enable them to cross over boundaries.

On Friday we had a year group trip to the National Archives at Kew in London…

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It was my first trip to the National Archives and I arrived 30 minutes late due to a horrendous experience of the tubes at Victoria, even though I had left more than enough time to cope with potential delays! Embarrassing start to the day over with, we had a tour of the huge facilities, talks from staff in various departments, and an exercise in planning an archive. For this exercise we were split into three groups, each with a different ‘plot’ of land for which they could plan their archive. With varying restrictions of space, some groups found it harder than others. It really showed us that planning an archive is not a straightforward task, and that there are so many points to consider.

As a first week goes, it was pretty good. The only down sides to the week come from the travelling to and from university. I have a fairly straightforward commute into London, which I’m very thankful for, but it does mean getting up around 06.00 in order to get to university for a 10.00 lecture. I am NOT a morning person, but over the first two weeks commuting to London, I have already become very good friends with the Starbucks at my local station- Pumpkin Spice Lattes-a-plenty!

I’m so thrilled to finally be working on my postgraduate archives and records management degree, it’s been a long time in the planning, but here I am, starting out on the next step in this adventure, and I couldn’t be happier!

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