King’s Manor seminars aren’t high enough on the collective agenda

They’re so far away

Humanities students get a bad rap from people studying Science and Maths who are of course infinitely better than us lot but are really just jealous.

We get no contact hours, we dress fantastically and we accept our minuscule chances of gainful employment with a grin.

The argument in our defence about how much reading we have to do has been trotted out many times before. And honestly, even that’s not really a fair comparison to some people whose course may entail them having a five hour day as opposed to a five hour week.

However, there is one obstacle to the non-stop rollercoaster of general rambunctiousness that affects a minority of us in the humanities sector. This is the dreaded King’s Manor seminar.

Observe the fantastically dressed humanities student (left, unusually lacking grin) and the risibly outfitted STEM student (right)

A contact hour off campus? No thank you

The former home of Henry VIII now houses the Departments of Archaeology, Medieval Studies and Eighteenth-Century Studies and will probably be completely unknown to those who like to solve equations and play with Bunsen burners. It is situated in Exhibition Square, right by the York Art Gallery, and is really rather picturesque. It is also, terrifyingly, far away from the comforting proximity of everything on campus.

Importantly, students have to make their own way there and as a result usually incur an expense (unless they are the enterprising sort who use a bicycle).

Furthermore, the university would probably not consider making travel to and from the Manor free (I already tried thinking of such a way to do so without students exploiting it and I came up empty, so there’s really no point trying to press the issue any further).

They can be more trouble than they’re worth

This in and of itself transforms what is either a 90 minute or two hour seminar into a somewhat larger time consuming affair. Time is very precious for humanities students, who need as many free hours in the day to complain about how they have two lectures some days of the week and how that’s really really hard.

What if you picked a module that did’nt speak to you and yet you find yourself stuck in the middle of town, far away from the warm embrace of your flatmates and the Netflix which is usually near enough to make you not want to end it all, studying the intricacies of Sickness and Health in Early Modern England and wondering how your entire life has led to this.

Additionally, the sheer cruelty of placing contact hours off campus can lead to cases of pity shopping due to the fact that you’ve ended up in town, making these seminars a danger to personal finance as well as mental fortitude.

This is what the outside looks like at 6:30am in York in winter

Anyway, the next time you make fun of someone who studies humanities for having no contact hours, bear in mind that some of theirs could be the most inconvenient hours in the entire university timetable and that they are deeply traumatised by that fact. Unless they’re my flatmate because he missed all his last term and seemed to do just fine.