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    Hi,
    sorry not sure if this is in the right forum or not but here goes...
    I'm a first year on an English Degree at a good university, I got straight A's in my A levels, and absolutely loved english...admittedly, I found it easy as well. So I chose it for my degree, i've never really known what i want to do so thought my best bet would just be something I enjoy. I'm not saying I thought it would be like the ALevel, but wow, I am really struggling with it, the jump seems massive to me. I'm basicly writing this because I've just sat down to do a 3000 word essay and it actually fills me with terror, I just can't do it, and don't know where to even start

    I have 4 hours of lectures a week and I just don't really understand how the whole thing works. For example, they gave us a poetry pack of 100 poems, and then, in the week where we were discussing poetry, the lectures were about a poem not in the pack, and consisted of a guy basicly reading us his reasearch about this poem. For the assessment, we got a choice of 12 poems to talk about, which is fine, but I hadn't had any lectures or reading on them. The same is happening now, I've been set a 3000 word essay about a book i had one lecture on and have read one journal on so far. I know the whole point of university is to become independant and go out and find things to read... but i'm really struggling, generally to the point where I feel like changing course because I think i'm probably not very good at this after all. I know this sounds really pathetic but the work just looms over me to the point where I feel really panicky about it. For me it's like the degree is sapping all interest i had in the subject to the point where I dread and hate it. I've spoken to my tutor..she said 'most people probably feel like you do,' although in seminars, when they're all coming out with these sophisticated ideas, it doesn't feel like that. I do the reading they set, and I go to all the lectures.

    Sorry this is a bit of an essay now... in addition to this, I don't have a clue where to start with essays as it seems like i'm coming at them from such a blank point. In A level, I would have had pages and pages of ideas about themes and all the rest to write into my essay, now I don't, and I can't seem to think of the ideas myself. I can find journals etc to reference, then generally don't understand them and haven't a clue how to put them into my essay, when all I want to do is put the idea in, and then agree with it. I don't feel like I'm learning anything and I feel soo behind all the time, even though I can't be because I do everything they say.

    I was just wondering how other people cope with essays and the work. I love every other aspect of uni and really don't want to leave, I just don't think I can do it academically. Just doesn’t seem worth feeling this bad about it. Does anyone else feel the same about their degree??

    ergh sorry for moaning on...
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    Oh my god I can't believe it this is exactly how i'm feeling. I love everything else but the work is just to hard. I think its a personal battle now whether I can cope and carry on, its so hard seeing friends enjoy themselves at more fun unis and I feel like i'm being punished for getting straight As, even though it'll probably pay off.
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    (Original post by ijustlovetolearn)
    Oh my god I can't believe it this is exactly how i'm feeling. I love everything else but the work is just to hard. I think its a personal battle now whether I can cope and carry on, its so hard seeing friends enjoy themselves at more fun unis and I feel like i'm being punished for getting straight As, even though it'll probably pay off.

    Hey what degree are you doing? It's funny because when I came to uni, I thought the only thing that was a dead cert was that i'd find it fine academically. Yeah I agree with you about the personal battle thing, I'm trying to keep pushing myself to push on with it, even though everything I do seems futile. I live with 7 people, all of which go to the more 'fun' university in my city. I'm not passing judgement on these unis, but its really hard..they never seem to have any work to do apart from an exam or essay at the end of term, I'm slogging away every week for seminars etc, going to the library. I've also seen their lectures...much more understandable, in fact I wish I'd gone to the more 'fun' uni now, because it seems so much more accessible. The way my uni approaches everything just seems so high brow - which is why it's probably got a better reputation, but right now I would rathwer be able to complete a degree from a lesser university than end up dropping out of this one!!!
    Hope everything goes ok for you x
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    Four hours a week is nothing.
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    I know four hours a week is nothing, I wish I had more
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    The emphasis is on independent study. One of the hardest parts of studying at uni is learning how to do this effectively. You should have some suggested extra reading somewhere, if not, it's not too difficult to get into the library and use the resources properly to research for your essay. Your library should have tips on this if you need help with it.
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    I agree with getting together with other people to discuss your ideas, particularly with a poem.
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    (Original post by annieapple642)
    Hey what degree are you doing? It's funny because when I came to uni, I thought the only thing that was a dead cert was that i'd find it fine academically. Yeah I agree with you about the personal battle thing, I'm trying to keep pushing myself to push on with it, even though everything I do seems futile. I live with 7 people, all of which go to the more 'fun' university in my city. I'm not passing judgement on these unis, but its really hard..they never seem to have any work to do apart from an exam or essay at the end of term, I'm slogging away every week for seminars etc, going to the library. I've also seen their lectures...much more understandable, in fact I wish I'd gone to the more 'fun' uni now, because it seems so much more accessible. The way my uni approaches everything just seems so high brow - which is why it's probably got a better reputation, but right now I would rathwer be able to complete a degree from a lesser university than end up dropping out of this one!!!
    Hope everything goes ok for you x
    Im doing Anthropology how about you?? I'll think i'm fine, i'll be sitting in the library getting on with work and it will just be TO hard, so i get frustrated, doubt myself, and after 10 minutes am convinced I should be doing something else, but deep down I know this is what I should be doing. I sit in my classes and lectures not having a clue what theyre talking about, and come out hoping others are the same but they just start having an intellectual conversation. Apparently my uni is a 'prestigious institution' and not a uni at all. I honestly thought i'd be doing loads of sport, getting involved, seeing friends from back home. Its the whole reason why I didn't move out of London! But there just isn't time even if i'm doing the bare minimum. I secretly want to fail but at the same time i'll be so gutted! Haha poor us! You can't complain about it either because friends think im just rubbing it in that they have it easier because their uni isnt as good!
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    Having done Eng lit A level, it sounds like you are just struggling with the the transition from being given ideas and writing an essay on them to having to think of your own, because thinking of your own is what uni is all about. Take a deep breath, ignore the word count and try:
    What kind of book is it? (eg Gothic?) What's the course title, and the essay title? These should all give you ideas what themes you should be looking for in the book, or what words you need to pick out if you're doing a close reading.
    The wikipedia page should give you an outline of the plot and if you're lucky, some themes/ideas in the book. Once you've found an idea you agree with, see if you can make it an argument relating to the title. As for journals, I'm still not good at putting them in my essays Find a point they make that coincides with your argument and say 'as xyz says, *footnote* I believe that Jane Eyre was not in an equal relationship with Mr Rochester because...'. If you want to fill words, you could go into an analysis of their whole argument, which bits you agree with and which you don't and why.

    Some of your problems sounds like you've been scared by word count and being left to do it on your own. Don't be.

    I hope that helps and wasn't too basic/patronising :s On my course I have to write lit essays, and that's how I do mine really.
 
 
 
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