I’m now midway through my time in York as an English trainee, and I’ve been delighting in every minute of it. Here’s some things I wish I ‘d known about the course before starting uni:
You learn that there is a whole wide world of literatures (Yes, with the plural’s’!).
One fantastic aspect of the York English Lit structure is that it exposes trainees to English Literature across time periods and across continents, and enables you to find authors you have actually never heard of before. In your very first year, you’ll start with a module that includes texts from the 15th century all the way to the modern. In readings, lectures and seminars, discussion of these texts also always includes discussions of the major historic occasions of that duration, how life was like because period, and obviously, essential philosophical and cultural readings of the text (something which I’ve grown to really take pleasure in reading).
In another module, York’s English programme exposes us to worldwide literatures, centred around themes such as post-colonialism (the Literature of countries who were ex-British colonies, for example). Personally, I found that to be an extremely enriching experience that broadened my worldview and prompted me to think about the relationship in between Literature and Politics, and to question the purpose of a literary text.
This may sound a little daunting, however it really isn’t so! You certainly can expect to discover studying English at uni to be vastly different from the method we did it at A Levels, and while I did feel quite stressed out in the first couple of weeks of term, I eventually discovered my footing and grew to love the volume and speed of work we have at uni. Also, it gives you a substantial sense of accomplishment when you recall at the end of the term at all the poems, plays and books you have actually gone through in simply 10 weeks!
The large exposure to several durations of literature makes you find interests in subjects you never engaged with in the past. For me, post-colonialism was my newly found love.
Flexibility, versatility, flexibility!
Studying English at York is awesome because the course provides you a lot of independence to direct your studies. The English course has fairly couple of contact hours (a.k.a. time invested in lectures and workshops) as compared to other subjects. The coolest thing about the English course would be that you get to decide what you want to write you essay on– there are no set questions (save for the composed tests in summer term)!
Having more versatility with your timetable likewise suggests that you can use the time to sign up with more societies and even use up a term-time internship, which was exactly what I did! Through the York Careers Website, I applied for a term-time internship lasting for 12 weeks in Communications, and spent roughly 12 hours a week at the internship, which corresponds to about 3 days a week. This helped me gain work experience and employability skills, and also some additional income on the side.
We have movie screenings.
We watch movie adjustments of some of the texts in our reading lists (side note: I enjoy how these sessions show up on our schedule as legit compulsory lectures to go to)! Who ‘d have thought that studying English at uni likewise includes being in a dark lecture theatre and enjoying a motion picture projected on to the substantial screen? Consider it as a Netflix film date … however with an entire bunch of people.
In my first year, I remember seeing A Midsummer’s Night Dream and loving how the motion picture represented the characters of the play so much that I composed one of my essays on the play! And just last term, enjoying Samuel Beckett’s Endgame during a movie screening made me see the play in an entire different light, prompting me to obtain 3 different books from the library about Beckett and his works.
They’re not going to let you be puzzled and stressed all on your own.
We’re designated a personal supervisor at the start of university, and this supervisor will be a scholastic from your department– in our case, English– and you ‘d fulfil him/her regularly throughout your 3 years of research study to simply talk about how you’re discovering the course and how you’re feeling, if you’re coping well or if you’re having an issue about module choices, and so on.