December 12, 2012, by Holly Jackson

Why Study English?

Holly Jackson, Third year English Student.

I chose to study English at University largely because it was the one subject area in high school which initiated the least amount of groaning and displeasure when attending lessons or completing homework. Though I would not admit it at the time, I did really enjoy learning about a broad range of literature and its cultural significance (Yes I do mean you, William Shakespeare).


Holly on Mount Kilimanjaro

But upon arriving at Nottingham, I could not have anticipated the broad and even surprising areas of study that fall under the esteemed title of English. Modules are based in various areas; literature, language, medieval studies and drama, and you are (lovingly) forced to cover all these areas in first year. But trust me; this is a very good thing. I had no idea upon applying that I would soon be learning about things like the brain functions involved in acquiring and producing language and studying the language of Old English. And no I do not mean 1960’s old (“groovy”) or even 17th century old as in “wherefore art thou Romeo?” I mean 7th century AD old – ‘lif is læne: eal scæceð leoht and lif somod.’ Who knew that I would develop such an affinity with this long dead language – my ancestors would be proud.  

So no, English is not just about reading books as some may have you believe; you attain a vast range of knowledge and lots of very big words that you can impress your parents (or employers) with. It is crucial to study a subject you love, as I have done, even if there is not a pre-destined career which naturally follows that degree. As with any degree, there is a lot of work but choosing a course you enjoy is truly beneficial and reflects positively on the marks you can achieve – no one wants to write their body weight in essays about something they do not care about.

The skills that my degree has instilled in me, such as; analytical, writing, editing, organisation and time-management are applicable to a whole range of career paths. Indeed, my degree has even offered me vital CV building opportunities, such as a one day a week internship in the Marketing, Communications and Recruitment department at the University. In no way do I feel that studying something I love has constrained me or my future aspirations; it is only an advantage considering the skills I have picked up and the class of degree I will be able to achieve.


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