Before university, I’d been made painfully aware of what an English degree was like: an empty timetable, loads of essays and loads of reading. Once I’d embarked on my course I found it was all true, especially the empty timetable, but I discovered a few other things that may (or may not) come as a surprise:
1) You will get mocked for your degree
The only students who I can think of who have it worse than English students are Geography (‘’So you colour in maps?’’) and Media which is pretty self explanatory. I’ve heard all the insults from ‘’English student? I bet you go out all the time’’…well yes, but with such an empty timetable it would be rude not to, to ‘’You English students do no work’’ which I bitterly resent as I did a lot of work when starting my 4000 word essay five days before it was due in. It certainly didn’t help that when everybody was revising for their exams I was lounging on my bed watching old reruns of ‘’Sex and the city’’ but that’s the joys of studying a subject which is 100% coursework, when everybody else has exams, you have two weeks off.
2) 9 am starts feel like death
How I feel about 9:00 am starts
I’m not a morning person – until 12 o clock I’m semi conscious, so when I have a 9:00 am, I feel like I’ve been smacked in the face with a spade. Maybe if I had more early starts I’d be able to cope, but I only have one and it drains me so much I sometimes endeavour to have a nap when I finish at 2 o clock.
3) You become horribly aware of your job prospects
Let’s be honest, they aren’t great. I may be able to analyse a poem and write essays, but it’s not going to aid the world in finding a cure for cancer. Consequently, you realise you have three years to pack in as much experience as possible and EVERYONE IS YOUR COMPETITION. When you realise you could be unemployed at the end of your degree it makes you ruthless – like Annie Wintour but without the money and great job. Ultimately, you do everything you can to give your c.v the wow factor and avoid ending up a teacher and facing all the smug ‘’I told you so’’ faces which brings me onto my next point…
4) Everyone thinks you want to be a teacher
What I apparently aspire to be.
Erm, no? I can’t think of anything more soul destroying than teaching a room full of apathetic kids the main themes of ‘’The Catcher In The Rye’’ year after year – I think I’d rather be unemployed. However, that is what EVERYONE assumes you want to be. Out of all the routes an English degree can take you down, they think you want to spend the remainder of your years in the place you started – no thanks. In fact, if anybody assumes I want to be a teacher again, I shall say ‘’Yes, but only if they bring back whipping as a punishment’’ – just to be funny.
5) You really develop your muscles
Spending time lugging Anthologies, Readers and hardbacks to seminars on top of the pile I have dragged out of the library has really seen me develop my biceps – I nearly have guns to rival Arnold Schwarzenegger. Of course, I also have experienced chronic back ache but it’s swings and roundabouts really. Ultimately, I believe the development of my muscles is the literary god’s way of saying it’s ok to backhand somebody who insults my degree or suggests I want to be a teacher. Forget sports science, it’s the English students who are the most ripped on campus.