The English degree has a strange reputation. It is both well-respected and laughed at. If you’re studying English, I guarantee you will have heard at least one of these things listed below during the course of your degree, either from your parents, your ‘funny’ friends or your flatmate studying science.
The strange and scathing responses are everywhere: probably most frequently heard when filling out your UCAS application or at family gatherings when giving a life update to your distant relatives. The Telegraph named English as one of the top ten most popular degree courses in the UK and I can see why: English is the perfect gateway to many industries, creative or otherwise – and also just really interesting. In which other course could you write about Lana Del Rey, study Karl Marx and watch The Matrix? A huge thank you should be said to the QM course at this point – the three consecutive lectures casually linked to Monty Python are forever stamped in my memory.
Fellow English students – we may be the punchline of plenty of jokes, but we do study one of the most interesting subjects. So who really wins here?
1) ‘Are you just doing English because you didn’t know what else to study?’
Ah, my favourite. No, I am studying English because I like English. Goodbye.
2) ‘Have you read Ulysses yet?’
3) ‘What’s the point of reading Richard III/Frankenstein/ [insert name of book on table with you]? Why do you study a load of dead dudes?’
4) *Friend vaguely and incorrectly references Shakespeare* ‘What’s that from? You should know this, you’re doing *posh voice* English!’
By that logic, because you study Physics, you should know all the types of radiation there are. Off the top of your head. Please list them. Yes, now.
5) ‘Do you, like, just read books?’
Surprisingly enough, English Literature involves a lot of reading. We do indeed read books. We also write about books. We have a lot of books. We have books under our pillows.
6) *After previous question, ignoring any answer given* ‘You can’t get a job reading books, you know.’
7) ‘English is so easy compared to what I’m doing.’ – Your science/maths/engineering friend who has invaded your work space
Well, while you work out the structure of an electromagnetic field or solve some equations, I’ll be writing my essay about heteroglossia. Shall we just stick to our own corners of the library?
8) *Person asks how to spell something, everyone in room looks at you* ‘You do English, you should know this!’
9) ‘You know everyone wants to be a writer and journalist, right? It’s pretty competitive, so good luck with that.’
Nothing ventured means nothing is gained, my friend.
10) ‘So do you live in the library?’
Okay, occasionally, yes. But don’t tell anyone.
Image credit: giphy.com