10 Brilliant Things About Being a Literature StudentJuly 31, 2018

There are many things to gush about literature, and you haven’t gone to the exciting features of the syllabus. The English Department would remind you of those rows of lovely houses at Paddington, where you have stayed (during a holiday). Could it be the maple trees? It may prompt you to go out (and look for one), but the azure water would be waiting for you.

You have heard these brilliant things from older students (during O-week), and you want to repeat the same lines to the incoming freshmen.

What Your Professors Taught You

You have lots of subjects to choose from. You could make a B.S. Mathematics student green with envy, who happens to be your flatmate. The same student may not be able to differentiate the works of D.H. Lawrence from the leading authors in bush poetry, but it doesn't matter at all. (And you don't need to embarrass your flatmate.) It doesn't mean that your coursework is cut out, as you must be able to study (and master) courses like postcolonial fiction. How about radical subjectivity? You better do a further research.

You would read the novels that you have never heard otherwise. You may be familiar with the works of Jules Verne, if not read a couple of his popular novels. How about "Broken Monsters"? Lauren Beukes may not ring a bell, but it won't be an issue sooner or later.

You're being taught to think for yourself. Literary criticism won't turn you into a champion surfer, but you won't need an audio guide when you study the ornate features of a medieval church in England (or any part of Europe). It also makes you realise that you're about to become an adult. You don't have to call Mum when you miss her dishes, not even make her promise to dine out when you come home.

You become an expert. You might have conflicted feelings about Modern literature, as you don't agree with the political views of H.G. Wells. But you don't have to. (It won't be literary criticism.) You could even claim to know Ruthven Barracks in popular culture, even describe the wide plateau (where the ruins stand atop on) and the nearby valleys that would turn it into a stunning place. Your old man, who would happen to trek the Scottish Highlands during his younger years, would have mentioned the barracks, though.

You meet like-minded teenagers. It would be cool to meet the other students from the English Department, who could be your support group during pressured-filled moments. No need to get together and act snotty, though. You haven't met the students who are aspiring for a dual degree.

You could be another acclaimed novelist in the making. You tutor have asked you if you're planning to pen a novel, if not a short story. You describe a pathway hugged by yellow roses, with a lovely garden to look at. You insist that it's Frances Hodgson Burnett's image of an enchanting garden, but you might be describing Kensington Gardens. (You mother comes from Peterborough.) Your imagination might get carried you away, but there's a start. You can think of something else soon.

You don't need to go the bush to talk about bush poetry. Literature doesn't demand actual facts, as you need to blemish certain details. It's your perspective, which may (or may not) interest your professor. Bush poetry can be an exception, though. You have to dig deeper if you're unfamiliar with this subgenre. Read a Banjo Paterson poem first.

You would have (cool) options. Many people, who are unfamiliar with the program, would assume that an academic career awaits you. There's no need to come up with a tall tale (and proclaim yourself as the young Indiana Jones). Journalism may not be an enticing option (due to digital marketing). You can consider advertising. You can dive into (the world of) public relations. You may start somewhere (and try online teaching).

You choose a subject matter that you truly love. You're not thinking of Big Brother, but you have a tutor who is earnest about your progress (or lack of). It's fine if you're not really passionate about literature. Show some effort. If you're a freshman student, then you might reassess your performance before the end of the term. A shift could be required. You might want more challenges. Ask your tutor about dual degree.

You would cherish the experience. Managing the coursework for three years is no small feat, even if other students, who happen to be from other departments, think otherwise. You should be very proud of the small accomplishments, which include beating the deadline on assignments that could be done in a day or less.

Here’s a Thought to Remember

A B.A. English degree, or any Arts degree, wouldn’t be guaranteed a secure career path. This could be the opinion of those who found out about your specialty. Keep in mind that you must choose a job that you truly love. If you do, then you won’t count the working days. If this is not your sentiment towards the Arts degree, then you shouldn’t undermine the value of Humanities to society and business.

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