Tuesday, 3 November 2015

University - What It's Like Taking An English Literature Degree

One word... Stressful. 

That's what it's like taking ANY Degree. If you are thinking "oh I'll do a Degree for 3 years of buffer before I actually have to do something" then think again because these 3 years at Uni will be some of the most stressful but amazing years of your life. 

But what's it like taking an English Lit Degree? I'm now in my third and final year of Uni and I absolutely love my course. However you may be surprised to learn that I didn't actually apply for English Lit! In college I applied for Psychology and wanted to eventually go into Clinical Psychology, however my A-Level grades were really bad thanks to an ill-timed bout of insomnia, anxiety and depression meaning that my highest grade A-level was a C in English literature. It was thanks my C grade in English Lit that Canterbury Christ Church (My first choice University) offered me a place on the English Literature with Psychology Combined Honours course. I was dreading it. At that point I really didn't enjoy English whatsoever, I hated it at GSCE stage and I disliked it throughout my A-levels so the thought of going to Uni to study it filled me with dread. But I absolutely loved Canterbury and it was the only University I liked when I went to the open days so I sucked it up and went. Am I glad that I went! It actually ended up that I really loved the English side of my course but hated Psychology and so I dropped Psychology after my first year and went forward for a Single Honours English Literature Degree. 

Studying English Lit at Uni is so much different to studying it at College or School. You can choose whatever periods of literature interest you and tailor your degree and areas of study to suit your interests. In my second year I took : 
Introduction to Shakespeare
Victorian Literature
Eighteenth Century Literature
British Romanticism 
The Canterbury Tales
The Descent of English from Old English to Standard English

Now in my third year I'm taking:
Topics in Shakespeare and Shakespeare's Background 
Topics in Victorian Literature
Satire 1693 -1759
Lovers and Fighters in Medieval Literature
 40 Credit FYIS (Dissertation) 

These were just the courses that interested me but there were other courses available like Contemporary Literature, American Literature, Creative Writing and Literature of the Wars.

If you're thinking of taking a English Literature Degree then there are a few things you should know... 

1. Yes, you will have a tonne of reading - probably much more than your friends. 
2. Usually assignments are essay based - which means no cringey presentations or group work!
3. Normally you can expect to have quite a lot of exams with an English Lit course. I had 5 Exams last year and I will have 3 this year. But all of ours have either been 2 hour closed book exams or takeaway exams in which you do a timed assignment (usually over a week). 
4. Did I mention you will have a lot of reading? This is the biggest difference I found from Psychology. Psychology we had a few things to read but you could easily attend your lectures without having read them (I did that more often then not!) however with English you really do have to do the reading. If you don't you will be completely lost with the lectures and seminars and will quickly get behind, so if you don't enjoy reading you should probably look for another course!

Well that's it for today's post! I hope this has been helpful! 
If you have any questions on English Degrees or Uni in general then feel free to comment below or tweet me @bambisblogs 


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