username3537886
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I’m applying for English and Creative Writing. I understand that degrees can vary greatly between universities in terms of learning, but I was wondering how difficult or challenging it really is.

I’ve been trying to gain the courage to send off my application and I suppose I’m going through a lot of self-doubt of whether I’m the right person to study English at degree level. I’m more afraid of going to the university and finding out that I’m way out of my depth and not being good enough.

Are English degrees a real challenge? What would a typical week be like? Are most of the students people who are absolutely in love with Shakespeare’s plays and could list off historical facts about the Victorian era as if it’s second nature? Is there a level of “good enough” that you need to be to handle it? Because I see a lot of universities sell the degree by telling you that a love for reading is all you need to set you off, but I’m sure that’s just to get more applicants, right?

Sorry for the waffle. Hopefully someone out there has the answers to one of my questions haha
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sagal_.x
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It really all depends on your motivation to work hard and to not let anything pile up for you. Loads of people are starting from the beginning just like you so you won't be the only one that might be feeling a bit uneasy. The main thing is to read as much as you can and to attend every lecture with a open mind and you can hopefully ace your exams.
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QHF
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(Original post by username3537886)
I’ve been trying to gain the courage to send off my application and I suppose I’m going through a lot of self-doubt of whether I’m the right person to study English at degree level. I’m more afraid of going to the university and finding out that I’m way out of my depth and not being good enough.
In my experience it's often the students with the most self-doubt who are the most well-prepared: they're the ones who are self-aware enough to think about how they think, and perceptive enough to see that writing and knowledge are a complex business. And it's true, writing and knowledge are complex, so complex that in one sense none of us are ever 'good enough'. But in a more immediately relevant sense, if you have the A level (or other qualification) results required by the universities you're applying to, you are good enough regardless of whether or not you feel ready.

(Original post by username3537886)
Are English degrees a real challenge? What would a typical week be like? Are most of the students people who are absolutely in love with Shakespeare’s plays and could list off historical facts about the Victorian era as if it’s second nature?
Any degree should be a challenge, or it wouldn't be worth anything, but a degree in English probably won't crush you flat. (Again, especially if you've done whatever you need to do to qualify for entry.)

A typical week is hard to describe because courses vary so much, but you're likely to spend a lot of time doing self-directed work towards several different topics in any given week—you might be doing preparatory reading for two different seminars, taking notes and doing rough writing towards an assignment in the future, and working in a more concentrated way to finish a piece of writing for an assignment due rather sooner. This activity will be punctuated by lectures and seminars. It's difficult to be more specific than this, really…

In my experience there aren't many Shakespeare-quoting, Victoriana-spouting students on English / creative writing degrees. You occasionally encounter a person like that, but they usually turn out to have compensating areas of ignorance (which they will sometimes freely admit to, if they're the better version of the type!). A love of Shakespeare is a fine thing, but it isn't going to be a huge asset if you're taking a module on postcolonial writing or on later medieval dream poetry, and most English degrees are varied enough that no one arrives knowing everything they need—and all the knowledge in the world isn't much use without technique, anyway.
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The Empire Odyssey
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(Original post by username3537886)
I’m applying for English and Creative Writing. I understand that degrees can vary greatly between universities in terms of learning, but I was wondering how difficult or challenging it really is.

I’ve been trying to gain the courage to send off my application and I suppose I’m going through a lot of self-doubt of whether I’m the right person to study English at degree level. I’m more afraid of going to the university and finding out that I’m way out of my depth and not being good enough.

Are English degrees a real challenge? What would a typical week be like? Are most of the students people who are absolutely in love with Shakespeare’s plays and could list off historical facts about the Victorian era as if it’s second nature? Is there a level of “good enough” that you need to be to handle it? Because I see a lot of universities sell the degree by telling you that a love for reading is all you need to set you off, but I’m sure that’s just to get more applicants, right?

Sorry for the waffle. Hopefully someone out there has the answers to one of my questions haha
As the above, all degrees should have varying levels of challenging obstacles, otherwise they wouldn't be worth much. Typical week varies but you can assume (correctly) you'll spend your time frantically reading every damn texts before the following week. It's tough, and I certainly didn't bury myself into the ground trying to read every texts. But, I did what I could which is the important thing imo.

Shakespeare is pivotal for sure - but Shakespeare is either a standalone module or his works are integrated in thematic or genre-related modules. Some unis like to get Shakespeare out of the way in 1st year. Other unis only offer Shakespeare as a third year module. It just all depends. But no, not every lit student enjoys Shakespeare. Historical context comes with individual research. There will be some, a few, many, all, or none that could answer historical contextual questions in lectures. This will all depend.

When you step into your 1st year, it's all about developing what you know and accumulating skills and knowledge of what you don't know. You are of course expected to be able to write and read at a level the uni thinks you should - which is reflected based on your A-level grade. But the important thing is, you will develop as a literary critic over the 3/4 years being at uni. It's not demanded you need to be good enough: but you are expected to know what you're signing up for.
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