Every time being an English student is the worst
Ah, the good old English degree.
The one course, with increasingly little contact hours, that makes every student from every other subject shout the words “you don’t know real stress!” whenever said English student decides to have a little moan. The one course that’s actually, surprisingly, damn difficult and time-consuming. Yet no one understands unless you study English. And that sucks. So with that, here’s a few reasons why studying English at uni can be the absolute worst.
You’re hardly in uni – yet the workload is almost too much to take
To the people who think that a BA is an easy degree. These are most of the books that I have read over the past 3 years of studying English literature (not all as some I have as ebooks and others people have borrowed and never returned). These are just the core texts, there have also been an unbelievable amount of critical and theoretical readings. Just because I don't study mathematics or science does not mean that my degree has been easy, and that it is not valid. I challenge anyone to study between 6 and 7 books for every 6-7 weeks of class #englishstudentlife #englishstudent #bachelorofarts #literature #books
First year has come and gone. Now in the first week of second year, staring at the mere 8 contact hours and blank space filling your timetable, it can feel as if you might drown in the prospect of nothingness. You’re not used to having free time; last year was manic.
What am I going to do now? How do you even relax? I can’t remember the last time I even watched Netflix?!
Have no fear, because as soon as that first lecture has come and gone, you’ll be drowning in work. There’s a bottomless pile of reading, essay-writing and seminar preparation to get done and let’s be honest, you’ll never feel the satisfaction that comes with a fully ticked off to-do list. Welcome to the life of an English student: it’s a never-ending workload.
You’re not getting value for your money
Eight contact hours a week vs. the 25 contact hours of a Physics student; course books that you have to fork out around £200 to buy; the sea of ink that you use printing off the 10 critical essays your seminar tutor believes is a realistic amount of reading for a one-hour seminar. The simple fact is this: we’re not getting value for our money. £9,000 to sit around in our bedrooms, lamenting how an essayist could possibly write 250 pages purely on the freakin’ sonnet. It’s just a little bit ridiculous.
You will NEVER understand what makes a decent essay
The key to not taking yet another disappointing essay mark to heart as an English student: remind yourself that everything is subjective. Lecturers can’t even explain coherently what makes a solid first. The reason why? It’s because NO ONE actually knows. The number one key transferable skill you’ll gain whilst doing an English degree? The art of winging it.
The seminar tutor tells you one piece of advice, but then your lecturer goes and completely contradicts everything that you thought was correct. If you manage to scrape a first, there’s no point asking what you actually did right so you can bear in mind the advice as a pointer for your next essay, because chances are, you won’t get things that right again. Let’s be pessimistic 24/7 and then if something actually goes right, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
And life isn’t any easier for us poor English students when you have other subjects trying to put you down. They gasp in horror if you only manage to scrape a first, whilst they’re hitting solid 88s the whole time. And no, Maths student, it’s not because we have IQs lower than your shoe size. It’s because, in your degree, you actually have black and white, right or wrong answers. Try attempting to navigate the minefield that is an English essay.
You’ll end up detesting everything you used to love
Once a Waterstones fiend, the prospect of leisurely perusing bookshelves for a relaxed read makes you want to scream. Reading is a chore now; not even the Man Booker list can tempt you. As for writing, if you have to reference one more thing, you might just quit uni and become a waitress somewhere. You’ll be less in debt and 150% more employable that way.
You’re a solid 0.5% employable
Physics, Engineering, Maths and practically every other course have always had it easier. More value for money and less stress outside of contact hours are just two reasons. The nail in the coffin of academia, though? They actually have employable skills and job prospects after the university bubble has popped. As for us English students surviving in the real world? Most of us picked English because we didn’t know what we wanted to do with our lives and thought the degree would open our eyes to the profession that’s right for us. Did it? Turns out, no. Oh dear.