For any newbies, who haven’t yet read my About page, I am halfway through studying an English Literature degree, and obviously a lot of reading is involved with this. Before I came to university, specifically the summer of 2015, I read a lot. The books I read were mostly things on my TBR which had been sitting there for months (some of them for years oops), and I managed to get through so many and I felt ready for university. I was prepared, because I thought to myself, “Yeah, I’ve read all of these books in a couple of months, Uni can throw anything and everything at me!” Except, the reality was a little different…
You see, in your first year, you don’t your reading list until a couple of weeks before term starts. And of course there are the countless Fresher’s events, so you’ll be wanting to have fun before lectures officially start. I was lucky, because my University gave all the English Literature students two anthologies for free, because we would be using them for the whole year for our two compulsory modules. But we had to buy everything else… so you can already see where your student loan comes in when you’re an English student!
I tried really hard to keep on top of reading in my first couple of months at university, but having four modules per semester means it’s quite difficult reading at least four different books/novels/short stories/essays each week. I know this is going to sound terrible, but I have found myself turning up to a lecture forgetting that we had to read a certain text, or bringing the wrong one. It’s hard! Especially for someone like me, who isn’t the fastest reader in the world anyway. Plus, I get really tired when I read too much in one go.
So you might be asking why am I studying English Literature at University, when I:
- get tired when reading
- often turn up to lectures just having read the Wikipedia plot summary of the set text and not the actual one
- complain about texts because sometimes they’re just too long or boring
Well! I love books, funnily enough. I love analyzing texts and discussing them with other people in my classes, and I like being challenged… but Middlemarch was too far, even though I got a really good grade in my essay… and I only read 200 pages of it… *Back to the point* I’m lucky because, with the modules I’ve chosen for my second year (which I’m now halfway through which is scary), I’ve loved all of them, and my lecturers have all been so great so far, and they are the reason I love my course so much.
It’s not like I don’t try and read the texts- I do! I’m now over halfway through Vertigo now, and there’s a strong possibility that I’ll actually finish reading it before Tuesday- but just in case, I’m going to read a Wikipedia summary of the ending! The other thing is that not all the texts are actually difficult. Like I mentioned, sometimes we have to read short stories, or extracts, and if we’re really lucky, our lecturer will post the PDF file online of the text we need to read for the next week!
Yes, studying English at university is hard. But I think the hardest bit for me is the amount they expect us to read in a short space of time. Everything else is absolutely great, and I would happily study English Literature forever if I could! But alas, I need to go out into the real world at the end of next year and find a real job…