What’s it like, being a student? An English student? An English student at Queen’s?
Simple answer: It’s brilliant.
I hear people complaining about their courses all the time – too many hours, the lectures are boring, the lecturers are bad, etc etc etc. I’m happy to report that I have NO complaints about the English course. It is interesting, very interesting. We get to look at the subject from all angles – literature, linguistics and writing.
I have learned about the history and origins of the English language. I have learned about child language acquisition. I have learned how it is possible to change wording so that the exact same story can make any character sound like the guilty party. I’ve studied poetry, plays, prose and novels. I’ve studied Shakespeare, which is only to be expected on this course, and then gone on to study David Nicholls’ “One Day”.
At the moment, for the course, I am reading two novels a week. Depending on what sort of reader you are, that will sound like a lot or a little. But one thing is for sure, it is very doable if you manage your time properly. This week, I have read Philip Pullman’s “The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ” and Owen McCafferty’s “Scenes from the Big Picture” (a nice wee break from the full novels). Both are just fantastic, but so different from each other.
The lectures are great. Lecturers explain everything so well, and point out things that you might not notice when reading books for the first time. A lecture is a serious, formal, informative session, but it is not unusual for lecturers to make little jokes that have the whole hall laughing (yes, you’re allowed to laugh, good grief!).
My decision to study English at Queen’s was one of the best I have made. I’ve learned so much, met a load of great people (both through living arrangements and through classes), and it has definitely helped me come out of my shell a little bit, even if it took a while.
To summarise: University is yes. Let’s university.