So, there are some things that you need to know about me:
- Firstly, I am in my second year studying BA English at the University of Nottingham.
- Secondly, when applying for uni I considered both a BA and BSc because of the combination of my A Levels.
- Finally, after a bit of a struggle in first year, I now absolutely love my degree. So, I have decided to give you an honest account of the highs and lows I have experienced so far while studying.
You’re taught so many unexpected things
Now, this might not be true for all degrees but I think it is particularly true for a BA. I don’t know about you, but I thought my degree would be just books, right? It most definitely is not. I have found myself doing modules in medieval Icelandic literature, the psychology of learning a second language and looking at how children acquire language. If you’d have told me on the open day that this is the reality of my degree, I would have walked away laughing. The depth of studying, particularly at Nottingham, makes a BA exciting and engaging. It really isn’t just building on what you learnt at A Level.
A BA offers you a variety of job prospects and transferable skills
Having attended an ‘Arts into Business’ career event last semester, it became clear to me that my BA offers me skills that I never thought it would. The ability to work as part of a team is invaluable in the workplace, whatever career path you chose to follow. Not only do you show an ability to argue, but you show your ability to be aware of other peoples’ opinions. A BA offers you so many of the transferable skills that employers genuinely look for.
Additionally, because of the skills you have now acquired, a BA offers you entrance into lots of varied career paths. Go us! One of the main reasons why I chose to study a BA was because it is such a broad degree with so many options. It is definitely not a vocational degree. I might be a little biased here, but it’s a brilliant choice to go for it you, much like me, have no idea what you want to do post-graduation.
The amount of independent study
Of course, I wasn’t being naive when I accepted my offer at Nottingham. But honestly the volume of reading shocked me. All my friends were at uni all day and I averaged about 13 hours a week in first year. I don’t know about you but I was used to working for hours at a time during my A Levels. However, as I quickly learnt, my time was to be spent on my own, doing set readings for the week. There was just SO MUCH. For each of my modules it was a book a week alongside a stack of secondary reading like articles or chapters in textbooks. On top of this, each seminar has a set of preparation tasks to be completed each week. Without these, you got completely lost in the session. It was just never-ending.
I think that everyone has this perception that just because you aren’t in lectures all day that you have nothing to do and uni is simply a ‘free-ride’. I can assure you that my first year of uni was probably one of the busiest of my life so far; it felt like I was working just as much as those studying a BSc.
I don’t mean to sound so negative because it has honestly all been worth it. The highs of a BA definitely outweigh the lows, trust me.
Even though my contact hours have dropped significantly again going into my second year, I still find myself busy and challenged. If all you think BA students do is read then yes, to a certain extent, you are correct. But we do so much more. The transferable skills, and numerous career paths available, alongside the broad range of modules, make a BA a fantastic choice.