spartakist
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...so I was told recently by a friend of mine studying it. I have to say I partally agree with him. It's not even studying books, it seems to be mainly studying people studying books, writing essays and coming up with points that have been made before and better by others. Any eng lit students care to disagree? Surely the main point of the subject, enjoying and forming interpretations of books, can be done without doing a degree in it?
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Char Star
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(Original post by spartakist)
coming up with points that have been made before and better by others.
Well, that depends on the student - it's certainly not the aim!

If you spend three years studying the construction of writing, then you become a better writer and critic yourself. Also, studying English Lit spans hundreds of years, so you are in fact studying history through the eyes of the people recording it, but you're studying how they record/interpret/think about it rather than how the events happened. The other good thing about it is the variety - books are written about all sorts of things, so by studying them exclusively you can be learning about medieval medicine techniques one week and the rebuilding of Japan after the second world war the next. It's a really interesting degree that repays a lot of passion.

Of course, lots of people do argue that literature is something you should read and enjoy in your spare time. But I think that spending three years just reading books and immersing yourself in culture really enriches your life, and it's a good choice for a degree. As for its point - it's much more useful for personal development than for repaying society, obviously. But that's true of most humanities.

(oh and as for not even studying books etc, it sooo depends on the course - your friend sounds really unlucky, their course does sound boring!)
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Jade1994
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Your friend's right: English Literature is an absolutely pointless degree. I'm an English student too and I despise my course: so much so that I'm actually contemplating dropping out of University and re-doing my A Levels. The only thing that's stopping me is the realisation that I'll have spent £9000 on nothing. So far, there has only been one novel on my course that's actually captivated my interest; the rest have bored me to tears. My last set-text was so uninteresting I couldn't even finish it; I relied entirely on Google's knowledge of it to get me through my assessment.

I haven't actually enjoyed reading since I started the course, if I'm honest, which is strange because I still enjoyed reading during my A Levels. My favourite novel is 'Wuthering Heights' but lately I've not been able to read it without unintentionally looking for Gothic elements of excess/transgression, and involuntarily evaluating how Bronte's presentation of Catherine's character compares with the typical gender conventions of the time period.

I only decided to study English because it came easy to me in school and I didn't see the point in spending hours studying the other subjects that interested me when I could get A*s in English for doing nothing. Now, though, I totally regret choosing to study English and I'm currently researching ways of getting back into A Level education to study science.

Most of my friends who are studying Literature do so because they think it'll help them to become writers; in reality, though, the chances of any of them becoming writers are so incredibly slim that it's just not worth wasting your life, and your money, on a boring degree.

I hope your friend's at least managing to enjoy his course, though; I have to force myself to attend lectures and when I get there I sit through them thinking 'why am I wasting my time evaluating imaginary people when there are so many other more useful things I could be studying right now?' Some of the things you study are so pathetic, too. Like, we recently discussed the concept of the author and some critics argue that there is no such thing as an author and meaning originates from the reader, which is obviously a load of rubbish. Gr. I hate it, and so do a lot of other people my course: you have to really passionate about critiquing Literature to stick with it, I think.
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arty
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(Original post by Jade1994)
Your friend's right: English Literature is an absolutely pointless degree. I'm an English student too and I despise my course: so much so that I'm actually contemplating dropping out of University and re-doing my A Levels. The only thing that's stopping me is the realisation that I'll have spent £9000 on nothing. So far, there has only been one novel on my course that's actually captivated my interest; the rest have bored me to tears. My last set-text was so uninteresting I couldn't even finish it; I relied entirely on Google's knowledge of it to get me through my assessment.
I haven't actually enjoyed reading since I started the course, if I'm honest. It's as though studying books constantly makes them less enjoyable. My favourite novel is 'Wuthering Heights' but I can't read that without looking for elements of the Gothic or evaluating how Bronte's presentation of Catherine's character compares with the typical gender conventions of the time period.

I only decided to study English because it came easy to me in school and I didn't see the point in spending hours studying the other subjects that interested me when I could get A*s in English for doing nothing. Now, though, I totally regret choosing to study English and I'm currently researching ways of getting back into A Level education to study science.

Most of my friends who are studying Literature do so because they think it'll help them to become writers; in reality, though, the chances of any of them becoming writers are so incredibly slim that it's just not worth wasting your life, and your money, on a boring degree.

I hope your friend's at least managing to enjoy his course, though; I have to force myself to attend lectures and when I get there I sit through them thinking 'why am I wasting my time evaluating imaginary people when there are so many other more useful things I could be studying right now?' Some of the things you study are so pathetic, too. Like, we recently discussed the concept of the author and some critics argue that there is no such thing as an author and meaning originates from the reader, which is obviously a load of rubbish. Gr. I hate it, and so do a lot of other people my course: you have to really passionate about critiquing Literature to stick with it, I think.


oh no, this doesn't sound very encouraging! I'm hoping to start an English Lit degree in September! Where are you studying?


I crossed science off when I didn't take any subjects at A Level! I always loved the arts - but am worried I'm going to waste £27000 tuition fees on a course with very little contact hours!
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arty
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(Original post by Jade1994)
If you're passionate about Literature and its relation to society, then go for it: the people who enjoy it the most on my course seem to be those who are most interested in understanding society and how it can be represented through Literature. I've just realized that I'm not interested in that: I'm more interested in science and I could kick myself for being too lazy to put more effort into getting good grades in those subjects when I was in school! My 'passion' for the arts came from the fact that I could get grades in them without putting much effort in, which obviously isn't true passion at all!

If you are genuinely interested in the arts and Literature, though, then you should definitely study it! I'm studying at Manchester and a lot of my friends really enjoy the novels that we study and the concepts and ideas that we debate in seminars. You can have as much contact time as you want, too; like, I only have a few hours a week of actual lessons, but all of my seminar leaders/lecturers have office hours and genuinely encourage us to attend them. They also emphasis the fact that you can always email them about stuff and arrange other, extra appointments with them outside of their office hours.

Honestly, those of my friends who are truly passionate about Literature absolutely love the course. We've recently studied a book called 'Maus' in a module which examines how Literature relates to History and even I was passionate about that, so some of the texts are good. The course itself is brilliant, I just don't enjoy Literature, sadly, and I don't have the drive to stomach the less interesting books that are on the syllabus.
what are you thinking of doing instead? I'm thinking of going to Birmingham. I know what you mean that a lot of it can seem so pointless. I've found that a little at A level - so I'm worried I might lose interest on the degree :/

Maybe I should look into doing a more vocational course - like Law - where there is usually a career at the end of it!
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Jade1994
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(Original post by arty)
oh no, this doesn't sound very encouraging! I'm hoping to start an English Lit degree in September! Where are you studying?


I crossed science off when I didn't take any subjects at A Level! I always loved the arts - but am worried I'm going to waste £27000 tuition fees on a course with very little contact hours!

If you're passionate about Literature and its relation to society, then go for it: the people who enjoy it the most on my course seem to be those who are most interested in understanding society and how it can be represented through Literature. I've just realized that I'm not interested in that: I'm more interested in science and I could kick myself for being too lazy to put more effort into getting good grades in those subjects when I was in school! My 'passion' for the arts came from the fact that I could get grades in them without putting much effort in, which obviously isn't true passion at all!

If you are genuinely interested in the arts and Literature, though, then you should definitely study it! I'm studying at Manchester and a lot of my friends really enjoy the novels that we study and the concepts and ideas that we debate in seminars. You can have as much contact time as you want, too; like, I only have a few hours a week of actual lessons, but all of my seminar leaders/lecturers have office hours and genuinely encourage us to attend them. They also emphasis the fact that you can always email them about stuff and arrange other, extra appointments with them outside of their office hours.

Honestly, those of my friends who are truly passionate about Literature absolutely love the course. We've recently studied a book called 'Maus' in a module which examines how Literature relates to History and even I was passionate about that, so some of the texts are good. The course itself is brilliant, I just don't enjoy Literature, sadly, and I don't have the drive to stomach the less interesting books that are on the syllabus.
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Jade1994
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(Original post by arty)
what are you thinking of doing instead? I'm thinking of going to Birmingham. I know what you mean that a lot of it can seem so pointless. I've found that a little at A level - so I'm worried I might lose interest on the degree :/

Maybe I should look into doing a more vocational course - like Law - where there is usually a career at the end of it!


The really good thing about having an interest in Law is that you can get your English degree and THEN go into Law. So if you really love Lit but you're worried about it not being very practical, you can study that and then do a two year conversion into Law on top of it. My friend's doing that: she attended a discussion about it and was told that a degree in Lit is a good thing to have because it teaches you to analyse and to judge more than an actual Law degree would (Law degrees tend to just focus on getting you to recite the laws) and those are really important skills.

I don't want to put you off, but that's what happened with me: I got a little bored with during A2 and then when I got to Uni I went from a little dislike to a severe hate, ha. I'd quite like to study biology or chemistry, if I'm honest. I always wanted to be a teacher, though, so a lot of people are advising me to just stick with it because a) it'll probably get better and b) as pointless as it may seem, English is actually a core subject, so English teachers are always needed in Secondary Schools, and Primary teachers with English as their degree have a higher chance of getting a job than someone with, say, a degree in Art. I'm extremely confused about what I want to do, to be honest. If I did a science, I'd end up teaching it because that's what I want to do, so I should probably just grit my teeth and do the very best I can in English! Apparently a lot of people go through this in A2/first year - regardless of the course - so if I stick with it I might come out alright in the end. (:.

Birmingham's a really good Uni for Law though if you do want to do a straight Law degree; I have a friend doing it there now and one of the reasons they accepted her was because she had a high grade in Literature.
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pickup
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(Original post by Jade1994)
The really good thing about having an interest in Law is that you can get your English degree and THEN go into Law. So if you really love Lit but you're worried about it not being very practical, you can study that and then do a two year conversion into Law on top of it. My friend's doing that: she attended a discussion about it and was told that a degree in Lit is a good thing to have because it teaches you to analyse and to judge more than an actual Law degree would (Law degrees tend to just focus on getting you to recite the laws) and those are really important skills.

I don't want to put you off, but that's what happened with me: I got a little bored with during A2 and then when I got to Uni I went from a little dislike to a severe hate, ha. I'd quite like to study biology or chemistry, if I'm honest. I always wanted to be a teacher, though, so a lot of people are advising me to just stick with it because a) it'll probably get better and b) as pointless as it may seem, English is actually a core subject, so English teachers are always needed in Secondary Schools, and Primary teachers with English as their degree have a higher chance of getting a job than someone with, say, a degree in Art. I'm extremely confused about what I want to do, to be honest. If I did a science, I'd end up teaching it because that's what I want to do, so I should probably just grit my teeth and do the very best I can in English! Apparently a lot of people go through this in A2/first year - regardless of the course - so if I stick with it I might come out alright in the end. (:.

Birmingham's a really good Uni for Law though if you do want to do a straight Law degree; I have a friend doing it there now and one of the reasons they accepted her was because she had a high grade in Literature.
Or a 1 year law conversion course GDL - Graduate Diploma in Law. Very, very hard work though and very expensive unless you manage to get one of the bursaries.

Don't imagine that there are lots of job opportunities in law once you've got your GDL etc. (When my friend tried for Legal jobs 2 years ago there was virtually nothing in the North - had to go down to London and that was after BPTC too)

You will probably need to do 1/2 more years study LPC or BPTC if you want to become either a solicitor or barrister plus further 1/2 years training.

Training contracts ( 2 years) for solicitors are very difficult to get - pupillages ( 1 year) for barristers, like finding the needle in a haystack.
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venenecinema
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(Original post by Jade1994)
Your friend's right: English Literature is an absolutely pointless degree. I'm an English student too and I despise my course: so much so that I'm actually contemplating dropping out of University and re-doing my A Levels. The only thing that's stopping me is the realisation that I'll have spent £9000 on nothing. So far, there has only been one novel on my course that's actually captivated my interest; the rest have bored me to tears. My last set-text was so uninteresting I couldn't even finish it; I relied entirely on Google's knowledge of it to get me through my assessment.

I haven't actually enjoyed reading since I started the course, if I'm honest, which is strange because I still enjoyed reading during my A Levels. My favourite novel is 'Wuthering Heights' but lately I've not been able to read it without unintentionally looking for Gothic elements of excess/transgression, and involuntarily evaluating how Bronte's presentation of Catherine's character compares with the typical gender conventions of the time period.

I only decided to study English because it came easy to me in school and I didn't see the point in spending hours studying the other subjects that interested me when I could get A*s in English for doing nothing. Now, though, I totally regret choosing to study English and I'm currently researching ways of getting back into A Level education to study science.

Most of my friends who are studying Literature do so because they think it'll help them to become writers; in reality, though, the chances of any of them becoming writers are so incredibly slim that it's just not worth wasting your life, and your money, on a boring degree.

I hope your friend's at least managing to enjoy his course, though; I have to force myself to attend lectures and when I get there I sit through them thinking 'why am I wasting my time evaluating imaginary people when there are so many other more useful things I could be studying right now?' Some of the things you study are so pathetic, too. Like, we recently discussed the concept of the author and some critics argue that there is no such thing as an author and meaning originates from the reader, which is obviously a load of rubbish. Gr. I hate it, and so do a lot of other people my course: you have to really passionate about critiquing Literature to stick with it, I think.
I couldn't agree more with the part in bold.
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arty
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(Original post by Jade1994)
The really good thing about having an interest in Law is that you can get your English degree and THEN go into Law. So if you really love Lit but you're worried about it not being very practical, you can study that and then do a two year conversion into Law on top of it. My friend's doing that: she attended a discussion about it and was told that a degree in Lit is a good thing to have because it teaches you to analyse and to judge more than an actual Law degree would (Law degrees tend to just focus on getting you to recite the laws) and those are really important skills.

I don't want to put you off, but that's what happened with me: I got a little bored with during A2 and then when I got to Uni I went from a little dislike to a severe hate, ha. I'd quite like to study biology or chemistry, if I'm honest. I always wanted to be a teacher, though, so a lot of people are advising me to just stick with it because a) it'll probably get better and b) as pointless as it may seem, English is actually a core subject, so English teachers are always needed in Secondary Schools, and Primary teachers with English as their degree have a higher chance of getting a job than someone with, say, a degree in Art. I'm extremely confused about what I want to do, to be honest. If I did a science, I'd end up teaching it because that's what I want to do, so I should probably just grit my teeth and do the very best I can in English! Apparently a lot of people go through this in A2/first year - regardless of the course - so if I stick with it I might come out alright in the end. (:.

Birmingham's a really good Uni for Law though if you do want to do a straight Law degree; I have a friend doing it there now and one of the reasons they accepted her was because she had a high grade in Literature.
ok so I'm a bit bored of critiquing literature at the moment - I thought it would get better once I had started the degree course? Thought it would be more interesting and I'd have a great choice of modules etc?

What else could I maybe swap to if I didn't like it? Creative writing? Or maybe Geography?

I'm already on a gap year and really want to head off to uni 2013 - but have to be 100% of my course! I want to be happy!
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Dukeofwembley
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(Original post by arty)
ok so I'm a bit bored of critiquing literature at the moment - I thought it would get better once I had started the degree course? Thought it would be more interesting and I'd have a great choice of modules etc?

What else could I maybe swap to if I didn't like it? Creative writing? I'm already on a gap year and really want to head off to uni 2013 - but have to be 100% of my course! I want to be happy!

Hey, if you want to be a write than creative writing seems a good bet,
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Lemonzaz
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I did english language and linguistics with creative writing - dropped out in a year. Hated it.
however, i wouldnt say its pointless, as you can get into a large variety of jobs with an english degree (surprisingly).
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PatrickB
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(Original post by Jade1994)
Your friend's right: English Literature is an absolutely pointless degree. I'm an English student too and I despise my course: so much so that I'm actually contemplating dropping out of University and re-doing my A Levels. The only thing that's stopping me is the realisation that I'll have spent £9000 on nothing. So far, there has only been one novel on my course that's actually captivated my interest; the rest have bored me to tears. My last set-text was so uninteresting I couldn't even finish it; I relied entirely on Google's knowledge of it to get me through my assessment.

I haven't actually enjoyed reading since I started the course, if I'm honest, which is strange because I still enjoyed reading during my A Levels. My favourite novel is 'Wuthering Heights' but lately I've not been able to read it without unintentionally looking for Gothic elements of excess/transgression, and involuntarily evaluating how Bronte's presentation of Catherine's character compares with the typical gender conventions of the time period.

I only decided to study English because it came easy to me in school and I didn't see the point in spending hours studying the other subjects that interested me when I could get A*s in English for doing nothing. Now, though, I totally regret choosing to study English and I'm currently researching ways of getting back into A Level education to study science.

Most of my friends who are studying Literature do so because they think it'll help them to become writers; in reality, though, the chances of any of them becoming writers are so incredibly slim that it's just not worth wasting your life, and your money, on a boring degree.

I hope your friend's at least managing to enjoy his course, though; I have to force myself to attend lectures and when I get there I sit through them thinking 'why am I wasting my time evaluating imaginary people when there are so many other more useful things I could be studying right now?' Some of the things you study are so pathetic, too. Like, we recently discussed the concept of the author and some critics argue that there is no such thing as an author and meaning originates from the reader, which is obviously a load of rubbish. Gr. I hate it, and so do a lot of other people my course: you have to really passionate about critiquing Literature to stick with it, I think.
For God's sake, you simply have picked the wrong degree. What you wrote was in no way a valid criticism of an English degree but rather the whining of a student who didn't know what to do at university. It's your fault, not the degree's. You state "English literature is an absolutely pointless degree". If your course is a particularly bad one, its quality may distract your reasoning from the fact that the simple point of the degree is education. It's an academic subject; it is no direct qualification or vocational training but an intellectual education to equip you with skills. Skills, by your own bad luck, you have grown to dislike and dissociate from what you want to do (which I guess is scientific). Skills of analytical evaluation, communication, and so on act as your intellectual skill-set which you can apply to a career that will benefit from such skills, or further academic research. The academic discipline of practical criticism you seem to be confusing with a romantic joy of literature. Both, obviously, can you gain from an English degree but the discipline of the subject as a serious form of study of the humanities requires it to go beyond the realm of simply enjoying "captivating" books and refusing to study or discuss the subject any further. You started out by saying it was pointless, only to then describe the point of the degree. Only you dislike the point. And that's it.


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Cheshire1990
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I suppose everybody has different views on how useful each degree is. I know a few people that have gone into teaching with an English Literature degree, whilst others have gone in the police.

I picked a degree which would lead me into a professional job, and there are obvious benefits to doing this. However, it takes lots of people to make a world. I am glad there are courses like this, they are creative
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Jade1994
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(Original post by PatrickB)
For God's sake, you simply have picked the wrong degree. What you wrote was in no way a valid criticism of an English degree but rather the whining of a student who didn't know what to do at university. It's your fault, not the degree's. You state "English literature is an absolutely pointless degree". If your course is a particularly bad one, its quality may distract your reasoning from the fact that the simple point of the degree is education. It's an academic subject; it is no direct qualification or vocational training but an intellectual education to equip you with skills. Skills, by your own bad luck, you have grown to dislike and dissociate from what you want to do (which I guess is scientific). Skills of analytical evaluation, communication, and so on act as your intellectual skill-set which you can apply to a career that will benefit from such skills, or further academic research. The academic discipline of practical criticism you seem to be confusing with a romantic joy of literature. Both, obviously, can you gain from an English degree but the discipline of the subject as a serious form of study of the humanities requires it to go beyond the realm of simply enjoying "captivating" books and refusing to study or discuss the subject any further. You started out by saying it was pointless, only to then describe the point of the degree. Only you dislike the point. And that's it.


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Of course; I was only ever giving my opinion. Some people truly enjoy Literature - I enjoyed it, to some extent - but since enrolling in the course I have begun to hate it for my own reasons. I personally believe it is pointless because the job prospects are ridiculously low and, like many humanities degrees, you can't give anything back. You're probably right that the course has put me off but, either way, it has put me off, and I do think it's pointless. How could studying imaginary people - which is what it basically boils down to - ever be interesting? If you want to write a novel, you can do that without a degree.
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Sheldor
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(Original post by Lemonzaz)
I did english language and linguistics with creative writing - dropped out in a year. Hated it.
however, i wouldnt say its pointless, as you can get into a large variety of jobs with an english degree (surprisingly).
What type of jobs?:curious:. I've considered English, it's just the lack of prospects that put me off.

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jennyB12
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I'm not an english student but I have to say that I think that english is far from a pointless degree. Yes, it doesn't have a set career leading off from it that directly relates to english (except possibly teaching english) but when people say it has very low prospects I completely disagree. To me it gives you the opportunity to do what you want, apart from if you want to do something in science which is kind of a given. It shows that you can work at a high degree level, which is what most employers would probably want. Also I would say that the majority of english students would take english because they enjoy literature and want to explore it further, as far as I can see spending that amount of money and spending 3/4 years dedicating your life to one subject whilst enjoying the university experience isn't completely pointless. That might just be how I see it though.
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It is a stunted view of humanity/civilization that thinks the only point of education is 'career prospects'.
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SDK94
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(Original post by Jade1994)
Of course; I was only ever giving my opinion. Some people truly enjoy Literature - I enjoyed it, to some extent - but since enrolling in the course I have begun to hate it for my own reasons. I personally believe it is pointless because the job prospects are ridiculously low and, like many humanities degrees, you can't give anything back. You're probably right that the course has put me off but, either way, it has put me off, and I do think it's pointless. How could studying imaginary people - which is what it basically boils down to - ever be interesting? If you want to write a novel, you can do that without a degree.
First of all, congratulations, it takes a real lack of imagination to claim that all of Fiction is simply about imaginary people, therefore it's worthless to study. Secondly, haven't you understood by now that just because you don't find something interesting, it doesn't mean it's pointless? I don't find business remotely interesting, but I think that it's useful to study for anybody that wants to.

Of course, you can write a novel without a degree, but an English Literature course isn't a 3-year class on how to write a novel. And it's borderline retarded to say that you can't "give anything back like with most humanities degrees". Nearly everything that you study in humanities courses is the RESULT of people "giving back". That's like saying every single idea was formed at the very beginning and that nothing in the way we understand things has ever changed.
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PatrickB
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(Original post by Jade1994)
Of course; I was only ever giving my opinion. Some people truly enjoy Literature - I enjoyed it, to some extent - but since enrolling in the course I have begun to hate it for my own reasons. I personally believe it is pointless because the job prospects are ridiculously low and, like many humanities degrees, you can't give anything back. You're probably right that the course has put me off but, either way, it has put me off, and I do think it's pointless. How could studying imaginary people - which is what it basically boils down to - ever be interesting? If you want to write a novel, you can do that without a degree.
"How could studying imaginary people...ever be interesting?" Subjectivity. "If you want to write a novel you can do that without a degree". It's not called Creative Writing 101 it's a academic degree you study. "Like any humanities degrees you can't give anything back". (I nearly punched a wall then). That is not what education is for. You do not need a degree to give anything back. It is not only the educated who give back and that's because it's not your choice of degree that defines that, it's what you bloody choose to do in your life! You can do English, get a job in politics and THEN give something back if you want! Or a job in finance and make yourself rich. Or a job in teaching and inspire young people. Or a job in a factory and build cars. Or audition for a drama school. Or a job in a law firm and... Well, whatever drives lawyers! But notice the details of what they actually do comes after the job. I.e outside the context of their education and career choice. Education can help you to give something back but that's not what it's there for. Perhaps on a very broad philosophical level it is, but it's not novel writing classes or community protection societies. You do that in your own time.


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