It’s a struggle not to go through Facebook and Instagram with a jealous eye this year. As several university friends enjoy holiday travels and relaxation – which looks wonderful and very well-deserved for all their hard work – I am spending the beautiful(ish) English weather and rare moments of sunshine going between the British Library and my tiny room in an east London flat. As an international Masters student, going home or going on holiday is not an economical option, and the dissertation deadline looms at the end of August.

It feels a bit strange looking at Timehop right now, when my posts are full of fun family holidays, barbecues, and beach trips. In the current library haze, it feels like this will be my life forever. At the same time, however, it is odd seeing the usual summer swimming adverts and Pimm’s O’Clock pub signs without the freedom to put on a swimsuit or sit out in a garden all afternoon. I suppose after this Masters thesis is handed in, studying will officially be over forever – that’s a good feeling. And then I remember that my sensible mates finished their BAs last year, before the summer began, and have been having a smashing time earning money and avoiding textbooks for over a year now. Oh well, maybe I’ll just have to drag my laptop to a café to soak up some sun and caffeine.


I hope to have a little late summer holiday after the dissertation deadline is past – perhaps a week away in Cornwall or just an aimless wandering around all of London’s parks. Then hopefully I’ll be able to work part-time for a couple months before starting a graduate scheme in February. Perhaps this summer of work is a good taster for the employment that is to come.

All things considered, is alright that I am not seeing my family this summer; although I miss them greatly and have not seen them for over a year (having stayed the summer between undergraduate and graduate earn some money for the latter), I would not be much fun for summer adventures with them at the moment due to the current merciless dissertation task. Of course, my mum will not stand for me to be absent so long so she is arriving tomorrow for a London week with me. I will minimise dissertation work while we spend our time shopping on Oxford Street, seeing West End shows, and taking a day trip out to the white cliffs of Dover. She will be on holiday while I am the one at home. It is odd to think about it that way, but I am incredibly excited to show her all my favourite places.

I hope other Exeter students are having a fantastic summer holiday, and other Exeter MA and PhD students are enjoying their research and writing periods. While whining a bit about my lack of freedom and the weirdness of not going home, it’s nice having a busy, productive summer while getting a break to see family.

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Carmen Paddock is currently studying for an MA in International Film Business at the University of Exeter, having just completed her BA (Hons) in Drama. She writes for the student paper Exeposé and has been heavily involved in Exeter Campus Cinema throughout her time at university, acting as its president in the 2014/15 academic year. Her ideal existence would be watching films, cuddling cats, and drinking tea, perhaps finishing the day with a long walk to nowhere in particular.