What to Expect from Studying for a Literature DegreeMarch 06, 2020
Your mother was admiring the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, as she complimented the gray weather one more time. You were quite tired from walking, and you haven't seen the statue of Peter Pan. It was J.M. Barrie's masterpiece that turned your life for the better (or so you would hope for). If not for that holiday in London, where your father's hometown was not far away, you wouldn't be thinking about studying for a Literature degree. It's only a matter of expectations.
You don't belong to that forty percent of Aussies who haven't traveled outside of Australia, which should make you THE lucky one. You may insist that travelling is one of the things that would help you become a better writer, but there's no guarantee of a lifelong career in writing. For one, you wouldn't hear "Strike me pink!" coming from your own mouth after losing count of the number of deadlines that you haven't missed. There's a good chance that you would pen a comparative analysis on P.L. Travers's depiction of Mary Poppins and Walt Disney's, but that would be about it. On the other hand, don't ever compare your professors to a cat, who would haunt you in your dreams every other night. There's a little chance that you would be the (haunted) mouse, but it could be your mate telling you another short story by L. Ron Hubbard.
Studying for a Literature degree could be similar to studying for a Ph.D., which some Ph.D. students might object to. They would point out that the risk of developing psychiatric disorder is high, but studying Aldous Huxley's works won't be a walk in a park if you're not motivated at all. It could require enthusiasm, which you must force to show at certain times. And it won't be the only one.
There's a Reason Why It's Difficult: 4 Things to Prepare for
Prepare yourself for personal costs. You know that you would spend lots of time on books and in front of the computer screen, formulating your own argument, if not supporting a previous argument. You become a researcher, like a Ph.D., but there's a difference. You don't have to put your argument to the test during lecture hours, yet your professors won't let pass anything that needs clarification, if not they're less impressed at. Literature could be your worst enemy, so think long and hard about your motivation to pursue this degree course. If you're still adamant about it, then tell your family and friends.
Prepare for that feeling of isolation. You may have told your family and friends about your struggles on writing an essay on a Virginia Woolf novel, if not figuring out the themes on a Victor Hugo novel. You have read the main themes, which are provided by CliffNotes. There's nothing to be ashamed of it. As a matter of fact, this is one way of assuring yourself that you're on the right path (so to speak). Your family and friends may not understand what you're trying to point out, not even a single sentence. In this regard, you must not hesitate to arrange a meeting with your tutor. (And you could do it frequently.) It could be anyone that you meet on a frequent basis, which should help avoid that feeling of isolation. It would dampen your spirit, which could lead to serious consequences. You may argue that a period of few years isn't an eternity, but you never know until you're stuck in the grind.
Prepare for the enormous pressure. Studying for a Literature degree would be very challenging than you think. You could encounter problems on study-life balance, even if you have prepared a time table and revise it more often than you want. You can only stick to that schedule, even if there are many instances when you don't finish certain tasks on time. If you feel like giving up, then recall your perseverance on securing an offer from an admissions tutor. If that won't be good enough, then think of the (huge) tuition fee.
Prepare for your career options. Everyone in the lecture room aspires to be a successful novelist, but luck plays a part. You may think it's unfair, as Stephen King doesn't make an effort on coming up with a memorable ending to his stories. You may know the possible reasons when you study the Horror genre, but don't get your hope high on this one. Think of other possibilities, where you can venture after receiving your degree. And it's not an academic career.
You're likely to meet some students who have boundless energy, such that they don't have any problems in managing the coursework. And there are others who have exhibited admirable traits, such that you're ashamed to ask for tips on good hooks on essays. It's only a feeling of insecurity, if not you haven't found your rhythm. You would figure it out sooner, even if you wish that it happen earlier. You could seek help, but your parents told you so.
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