May 2, 2016, by Emily Howard
My uni highlights #2: Special Subject
Undoubtedly the most engaging, inspiring, pivotal and enjoyable academic aspect of university for me has been my third year special subject. ‘What’s a special subject?’, I hear you ask. Well, the 40 credit full-year intense module is both specialist in that it is a niche field, and also holds a special place in my heart (apologies for the pun – dissertation and revision have left me a little drained…) My ‘special’ explores Enlightenment thought on race, gender and empire from a post-colonial angle. Here’s what makes it, and any special, so awesome:
1. Class becomes a community
Long gone are the awkward silences, not knowing anyone’s name, and pondering original excuses for seminar absence. With a smaller class and an engaging subject that you’re actually all interested in, everybody gets to know each other and bounce off each other (not literally). Warning: you’ll become a nerd, and actually end up missing your class debates in holidays.
2. Study what you LOVE!
For the first real time at uni, you get to completely tailor your degree to your interests. With a broad range of special subjects to choose from (and an infinite possibility of dissertation topics underneath that), the special is a chance to study exactly what rocks your boat. You’ll be skipping to seminars, not skipping them.
3. It’s so deep, man.
Special –> specialist –> microcosm –> expert. It’s like Inception but with studying, and you could genuinely get the chance to become the expert on your chosen topic.
4. More on that expert theme
Special subject teachers are necessarily experts in that field too, so, y’know, they really do know exactly what they’re talking about. They’re kind of really important, and by studying alongside them you might well be contributing to their work too as well as being inspired.
(P.S. Apologies for the cat pics – again, dissertation and revision takes its toll…)