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I feel like an english degree isn't as important or respected as a STEM degree and I won't be able to get a well paid job at the end of it. Also you don't get a lot of teaching time (lectures and classes) so is it a waste of money? I really don't know any more I used to really want to do an English degree but all my friends who are doing STEM make me feel so stupid. What's your opinion. Is it worth it
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Robin2882
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Hey! I’m hoping to start an English degree in September, so I don’t have any advice about the actual degree yet. I get what you mean about the whole STEM thing - I felt a lot of pressure to do something STEM related for a long time, as so many people in my year were looking at STEM related degrees. I was originally going to apply for biology but I realised it is not actually what I want to do! I don’t think English is a pointless degree, there are lots of opportunities still open to you - what do you want to do after uni?
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Pichi
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Hey. I see you around on TSR quite a lot asking similar questions to this but felt too afraid to admit that I feel the same way as you very often. I've never felt so low. I'm also in Y12 and all of my friends do STEM- I achieved the highest GCSE grades in my school and now I feel like I've done nothing since, and I cry through all of my online lessons in regret and shame and my sleeping problems have just intensified (and I can't believe I'm not using the anon feature to say this but I felt bad for you and so wanted to say something).

No, people who do English are not stupid- of course they're not and they tend to be intelligent in other ways- and no, of course you won't end up completely dirt-poor either if you work hard, make the most of university, gain experience, work part-time, try and gain leadership positions in societies or unions. At least, this is all the advice that I have gathered from my time on TSR. I'm still in school and so have little knowledge of how things really work, though I try my best to find out as much as I can as early as I can.

TSR is also guilty of 'STEM snobbery' (I'm really afraid that saying that will start an angry heated debate later on in this thread, but it's necessary to mention). I can definitely say that my insecurities around English were partly worsened by this site (though this site has also been so helpful to me in other ways). Remember that most of us are just students though who have no real experience of the outside world nor have they contributed to these hailed 'research developments and areas' that STEM is praised for. In fact, these sectors are supposedly over-saturated anyway. I wouldn't know for sure. I guess it can be argued that neither is better than the other, though the arts and humanities require more work, effort and initiative to increase employability post-graduation to get places. It's not like science students don't get industry/work experience and some fields require a masters to even get a position (like Chemistry, apparently). Even med students have 'work experience'- it's just that their hospital placements are necessary for their course and for passing, so it's automatically integrated into the degree.

Your other worries are valid, and they're also mine. I work much better with contact hours and in classes, having discussions or being able to ask questions and research as a group, so realising that English has little of these has made me anxious about studying it at university. I simply don't know if I'll love it beyond sixth form, which is why I'm worried (I've done a little research into the course and I really am not sure what to think about it). Also, as more time passes, I'm starting to realise how I do miss the structural, logical nature of the sciences that I can only slightly experience nowadays through A-Level Psychology, the closest I even come to a 'science'. In short, I wish that I'd taken a mix and enjoyed both the logical and critical thinking aspects, not just one or the other.

It's not the end though. I've been talking to friends and to people on TSR, and they have presented me with a few options if you're really regretting your options this late into the year.
1. Take a gap year and study A-Level sciences independently (though I'm not sure how practicals can be arranged- through a college or tuition service, maybe) and then apply to university. I can also get work experience in some fields if I want.
2. Start studying a science now in time for Y13 exams- since I already do Psychology and have recently started to gain some interest in Medicine again (a bit late for that, haha), I've been told that I can combine Biology and Psychology for some med schools (I think there are ten to choose from if you try this way, and prestige doesn't matter at all for med schools). I have friends who are willing to share their revision resources with me, and I might have to beg the science teachers to let me do practicals or catch up enough independently to request rejoining in Y13.
3. Leave for a college and restart the year- I don't want to leave my sixth form though, so I personally don't want to do this. I'm not sure if it's possible to restart in my current sixth form, so I'd have to ask.

However, please ask yourself if you really want to not do English because you're not sure if you'll enjoy it anymore or purely because you care about graduate prospects before you do anything. I might take a gap year and decide whether or not to do science A-Levels then because I still want to make sure that it's English I really want to do or if it's scientific research as a career (specifically medical-related, as that's what's recently gained my interest. But I change a lot- one moment I want to teach English, the next I want to work in politics, and the next I want to work in a lab. If only we weren't forced to specialise so young or if IB was a choice).

It makes me so sad to see you upset about this (like I said, I see you a lot around TSR posting similar things to this but have never said anything). I can really empathise with you. You're not stupid. We're not stupid. I think we're both just afraid. I hope you'll be able to figure this out. I'm contemplating talking to my teachers about this to sort things out because I'd rather improve my situation than cry through all my lessons. Good luck, and sorry for the long post.
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Pichi
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Oh, and remember- Boris Johnson studied Classics, and look where he is today. However, he's not the best politician (by far) and he did have some wealth and connections behind him, so another example I think about to cheer myself up is Wes Streeting. He studied History- which is regarded similarly to English- and worked his way up from growing up on a council estate in relative poverty to an MP. I read about how he spent his university years, and he spent them pretty wisely, taking up positions within university and working his way up to the president of the NUS, which brought him a few opportunities and which helped him stand for Labour. He's probably one of my role models and a good example of what I'd try to do if I ever decided I really want to do English after all. If you care a lot right now about your future, then that's good- you've got the initiative to seek out opportunities that might help with a future career. Who knows? I'm determined to do that myself.
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Hey. I see you around on TSR quite a lot asking similar questions to this but felt too afraid to admit that I feel the same way as you very often. I've never felt so low. I'm also in Y12 and all of my friends do STEM- I achieved the highest GCSE grades in my school and now I feel like I've done nothing since, and I cry through all of my online lessons in regret and shame and my sleeping problems have just intensified (and I can't believe I'm not using the anon feature to say this but I felt bad for you and so wanted to say something).

No, people who do English are not stupid- of course they're not and they tend to be intelligent in other ways- and no, of course you won't end up completely dirt-poor either if you work hard, make the most of university, gain experience, work part-time, try and gain leadership positions in societies or unions. At least, this is all the advice that I have gathered from my time on TSR. I'm still in school and so have little knowledge of how things really work, though I try my best to find out as much as I can as early as I can.

TSR is also guilty of 'STEM snobbery' (I'm really afraid that saying that will start an angry heated debate later on in this thread, but it's necessary to mention). I can definitely say that my insecurities around English were partly worsened by this site (though this site has also been so helpful to me in other ways). Remember that most of us are just students though who have no real experience of the outside world nor have they contributed to these hailed 'research developments and areas' that STEM is praised for. In fact, these sectors are supposedly over-saturated anyway. I wouldn't know for sure. I guess it can be argued that neither is better than the other, though the arts and humanities require more work, effort and initiative to increase employability post-graduation to get places. It's not like science students don't get industry/work experience and some fields require a masters to even get a position (like Chemistry, apparently). Even med students have 'work experience'- it's just that their hospital placements are necessary for their course and for passing, so it's automatically integrated into the degree.

Your other worries are valid, and they're also mine. I work much better with contact hours and in classes, having discussions or being able to ask questions and research as a group, so realising that English has little of these has made me anxious about studying it at university. I simply don't know if I'll love it beyond sixth form, which is why I'm worried (I've done a little research into the course and I really am not sure what to think about it). Also, as more time passes, I'm starting to realise how I do miss the structural, logical nature of the sciences that I can only slightly experience nowadays through A-Level Psychology, the closest I even come to a 'science'. In short, I wish that I'd taken a mix and enjoyed both the logical and critical thinking aspects, not just one or the other.

It's not the end though. I've been talking to friends and to people on TSR, and they have presented me with a few options if you're really regretting your options this late into the year.
1. Take a gap year and study A-Level sciences independently (though I'm not sure how practicals can be arranged- through a college or tuition service, maybe) and then apply to university. I can also get work experience in some fields if I want.
2. Start studying a science now in time for Y13 exams- since I already do Psychology and have recently started to gain some interest in Medicine again (a bit late for that, haha), I've been told that I can combine Biology and Psychology for some med schools (I think there are ten to choose from if you try this way, and prestige doesn't matter at all for med schools). I have friends who are willing to share their revision resources with me, and I might have to beg the science teachers to let me do practicals or catch up enough independently to request rejoining in Y13.
3. Leave for a college and restart the year- I don't want to leave my sixth form though, so I personally don't want to do this. I'm not sure if it's possible to restart in my current sixth form, so I'd have to ask.

However, please ask yourself if you really want to not do English because you're not sure if you'll enjoy it anymore or purely because you care about graduate prospects before you do anything. I might take a gap year and decide whether or not to do science A-Levels then because I still want to make sure that it's English I really want to do or if it's scientific research as a career (specifically medical-related, as that's what's recently gained my interest. But I change a lot- one moment I want to teach English, the next I want to work in politics, and the next I want to work in a lab. If only we weren't forced to specialise so young or if IB was a choice).

It makes me so sad to see you upset about this (like I said, I see you a lot around TSR posting similar things to this but have never said anything). I can really empathise with you. You're not stupid. We're not stupid. I think we're both just afraid. I hope you'll be able to figure this out. I'm contemplating talking to my teachers about this to sort things out because I'd rather improve my situation than cry through all my lessons. Good luck, and sorry for the long post.
I honestly cannot thank you enough for this lovely post. I thought I was so alone so to know that there is someone else who feels what I feel is a real comfort. I am finding online lessons really hard as well and have cried through some thinking how I made such a bad decision with my a level choices.

I still don't know if an english degree is right for me. I don't like reading as much as I used to but I don't know if that is because I am so sad and distracted with everything else and I can't concentrate on reading. Like you I miss the logic of science and knowing that there is a right answer. I am so stressed out as well with revision because I don't know how to revise- it was so easy with science at gcse because I just did past papers and it made me feel confident to know that I could answer the questions. But with english and history I can't test myself.

I am not enjoying english a level but I don't know if it is because I don't like the subject itself or for another reason. One of my teachers is litererally useless and I am so stressed that I will fail that paper. We don't do any essays so I have no idea if I am any good and I just think I am so stupid all the time. My friends are learning complicated things and meaningful and useful concepts in science and further maths but I am just reading stupid books I too got one of the highest gcse grades so I feel I have wasted all of this on humanities that have no purpose or anything

But then I don't know if I want to so science. I am not sure if it is just because I am ashamed of myself for making such a terrible choice or not wanting to be away from my friends. I have no interest in anything anymore- I am just sad all the time and just want to lie on my bed wishing that I could go back to the summer and make a different choice. I didn't think and that makes me feel even worse. I go over everything that led me to choosing english, trying to work out which decisions could have turned me away from this misery and pain.

I thought about retaking yr12 but I would have to leave my friends and they would all move on and forget about me. I can't think about anything without crying and getting so stressed that I can't breathe. I honestly don't know how I can get through this year and just thinking about anything in the future makes me want to die. I really see no point in anything anymore.

Sorry for all of this but I have no one else. I hope you find some happiness because I don't know how I can ever be happy again.
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Aquisition491
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(Original post by Robin2882)
Hey! I’m hoping to start an English degree in September, so I don’t have any advice about the actual degree yet. I get what you mean about the whole STEM thing - I felt a lot of pressure to do something STEM related for a long time, as so many people in my year were looking at STEM related degrees. I was originally going to apply for biology but I realised it is not actually what I want to do! I don’t think English is a pointless degree, there are lots of opportunities still open to you - what do you want to do after uni?
It's not stupid at all; If it's your passion then go for it!!! Life goes too fast to have regrets, and if you enjoy what you do you'll be happier.
Good luck with your future!!!
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Alif91
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(Original post by Lily_23)
I feel like an english degree isn't as important or respected as a STEM degree and I won't be able to get a well paid job at the end of it. Also you don't get a lot of teaching time (lectures and classes) so is it a waste of money? I really don't know any more I used to really want to do an English degree but all my friends who are doing STEM make me feel so stupid. What's your opinion. Is it worth it
hiii. i dont know if i can answer ur question, since i am applying to study a stem subject, but i myself used to really enjoy humanities, and still do, so i respect it a lot. one of my closest friends, who is very intelligent, is applying to study english but she faced a lot of discouragement for choosing an 'easier' subject from many people. she followed her heart though and she is going for it now, and i can honestly see her thriving by doing english. she has applied for russell group universities, and she will probably come out with a very strong degree. she is hoping to later get into finance (as u may know this already, the finance sector does not always require specific subjects from people). employment-wise i dont think there are huge limits, you might not be able to do engineering for example, like very skilled jobs that require scientific or mathematical skills. but i do think u should do what u are best at and what u enjoy!

i completely understand what u mean by getting pressure. i am applying for a stem subject, but it isnt what my parents wanted and, by many, it isnt regarded as very useful, but i am still following my heart and i think it is what i am best at and it is what i want to do.

edit: by reading ur previous posts, it seems as though you are super anxious and confused about what u want to do at uni? what a levels are you doing? are you getting any support from ur parents?
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hiii. i dont know if i can answer ur question, since i am applying to study a stem subject, but i myself used to really enjoy humanities, and still do, so i respect it a lot. one of my closest friends, who is very intelligent, is applying to study english but she faced a lot of discouragement for choosing an 'easier' subject from many people. she followed her heart though and she is going for it now, and i can honestly see her thriving by doing english. she has applied for russell group universities, and she will probably come out with a very strong degree. she is hoping to later get into finance (as u may know this already, the finance sector does not always require specific subjects from people). employment-wise i dont think there are huge limits, you might not be able to do engineering for example, like very skilled jobs that require scientific or mathematical skills. but i do think u should do what u are best at and what u enjoy!

i completely understand what u mean by getting pressure. i am applying for a stem subject, but it isnt what my parents wanted and, by many, it isnt regarded as very useful, but i am still following my heart and i think it is what i am best at and it is what i want to do.

edit: by reading ur previous posts, it seems as though you are super anxious and confused about what u want to do at uni? what a levels are you doing? are you getting any support from ur parents?
Thank-you for this. I am glad you are doing something you enjoy. You are right that I am super anxious because I don't know what I like anymore. I don't know anymore if I want to do an English degree or if this is just because people have been telling me what a useless subject english is and how it is only for stupid rich kids from private schools. I am doing english, maths and history - english is terrible, history is excruciatingly terrible but I really like maths. I have thought about dropping out and retaking yr12 then doing a chemistry or biochemistry degree but I really don't know. And support from my parents is non existence. They are divorced so I don't speak to my dad much and my mum is cold and doesn't care about me at all - she still thinks I am doing fine and that I am happy but she honestly wouldn't care if I wasn't okay. I find it impossible to speak to her about anything so I am really alone.
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(Original post by Lily_23)
Thank-you for this. I am glad you are doing something you enjoy. You are right that I am super anxious because I don't know what I like anymore. I don't know anymore if I want to do an English degree or if this is just because people have been telling me what a useless subject english is and how it is only for stupid rich kids from private schools. I am doing english, maths and history - english is terrible, history is excruciatingly terrible but I really like maths. I have thought about dropping out and retaking yr12 then doing a chemistry or biochemistry degree but I really don't know. And support from my parents is non existence. They are divorced so I don't speak to my dad much and my mum is cold and doesn't care about me at all - she still thinks I am doing fine and that I am happy but she honestly wouldn't care if I wasn't okay. I find it impossible to speak to her about anything so I am really alone.
oh dear, your situation sounds so awful. having no moral support, and also being in a lockdown, is not sounding good.

the fact that u r enjoying maths is probably hinting u that u would enjoy stem more. have u considered further maths? it is tougher than maths, but it is currently the subject that i enjoy the most (probably because i like the modules that i am doing).

i am no way an expert, but having done a levels for a year and a half, i recommend doing the following things:

1. in the upcoming few weeks, i suggest u look through the bio and chem textbooks, videos on youtube about students who managed to achieve high grades in them, and the spec. ask your friends how they are finding bio/chem. i know some people hate bio (its very tough according to my friends), but some also love it (when i say they love, i mean they love it). my sister absolutely loves chem and it was her strongest subject, but i dislike it (i find it really boring and i find organic chem hard). it really varies from person to person, but the more info u accumulate about them, the better.

2. ask ur english teacher as soon as possible what an english degree consists of and look for videos online. see if u r willing to do what they did for the next 3-4 years of ur life.

3. prioritise ur a levels for the next few months. really work hard to bump up ur grades in ALL ur subjects. that might mean that u got to look for extra resources online, and do things independently, which sucks but i know i got used to working independently and so did many others in my school. post january is very important for yr 12s. very early next year u will be getting predicted grades for ucas, and teachers tend to look at how u strong u have finished yr 12 and any upcoming mocks u will be doing in september maybe. it seems to me as though u r lacking motivation. if u work hard for the next few months in ur a levels, and get good grades in them, it might give u that confidence that u had at the beginning of yr 12 back. i certainly realised that i started to enjoy my subjects more when my confidence has increased, when i realised that 'maybe yes, i am good at this and i can keep on doing this'.

4. research more degrees. with ur subjects, u could apply for a range of degrees, and not just english.

if by may u feel as though u are clearly not enjoying the humanities, and cant see urself doing it in the future, then i think u should talk to ur school teachers and consider redoing yr 12. there really is no rush, and u must not force urself to do something which u clearly dont enjoy.

i just want to also tell u what i would have done if i didnt choose my stem subjects, but instead chose humanities (as i told u before, i really enjoyed them). i would have gone off to do law, and be a humanitarian lawyer. i think this job is a very rewarding one and i would have actively been doing what i want to do most in life, which is to make the world a better place. (also, law is very highly paid in general, which is quite nice too). but i went with my strengths. i know i work better with numbers than words. if u ask me to write an essay, it will take me forever to write a paragraph. but if u told me to differentiate something, i would do that with more ease. i am always intrigued when my friend talks about her humanities subjects, she learns really cool stuff about society and people which i find cool. me on the other hand, i think when i do my stem subjects, i am just learning a lot of skills (like in chem, drawing a mechanism, and it maths, how to differentiate an integrate) and so i feel as though i kind of lost my creativity in the past year or so. but i know that i find numbers nicer to work with, and i know i will do well in the future if i keep doing stem.

hope this was somewhat useful!
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I honestly cannot thank you enough for this lovely post. I thought I was so alone so to know that there is someone else who feels what I feel is a real comfort. I am finding online lessons really hard as well and have cried through some thinking how I made such a bad decision with my a level choices.

I still don't know if an english degree is right for me. I don't like reading as much as I used to but I don't know if that is because I am so sad and distracted with everything else and I can't concentrate on reading. Like you I miss the logic of science and knowing that there is a right answer. I am so stressed out as well with revision because I don't know how to revise- it was so easy with science at gcse because I just did past papers and it made me feel confident to know that I could answer the questions. But with english and history I can't test myself.

I am not enjoying english a level but I don't know if it is because I don't like the subject itself or for another reason. One of my teachers is litererally useless and I am so stressed that I will fail that paper. We don't do any essays so I have no idea if I am any good and I just think I am so stupid all the time. My friends are learning complicated things and meaningful and useful concepts in science and further maths but I am just reading stupid books I too got one of the highest gcse grades so I feel I have wasted all of this on humanities that have no purpose or anything

But then I don't know if I want to so science. I am not sure if it is just because I am ashamed of myself for making such a terrible choice or not wanting to be away from my friends. I have no interest in anything anymore- I am just sad all the time and just want to lie on my bed wishing that I could go back to the summer and make a different choice. I didn't think and that makes me feel even worse. I go over everything that led me to choosing english, trying to work out which decisions could have turned me away from this misery and pain.

I thought about retaking yr12 but I would have to leave my friends and they would all move on and forget about me. I can't think about anything without crying and getting so stressed that I can't breathe. I honestly don't know how I can get through this year and just thinking about anything in the future makes me want to die. I really see no point in anything anymore.

Sorry for all of this but I have no one else. I hope you find some happiness because I don't know how I can ever be happy again.
I could hug you. I'm so sorry you feel like that. I still quite like English and am doing well in it at least- I'm just unsure that I'll like it at university. I completely understand where you're coming from about the sciences feeling easier to revise for because there's always a correct, definitive answer, but essay subjects like English and History are more subjective. I understand what you mean about not being sure if it's regret or a genuine decline in interest in English that is making it difficult to enjoy the subject.

Let's take it slowly. The people above have also said good things. Maybe take advantage of the time we have now (I have more time, at least, during periods of online school) to start looking at A-Level Biology and Chemistry textbooks, flashcards, exam questions, etc. I've already done this and decided that I do like Biology (but not enough of Chemistry to see it through at A-Level, so I've already ruled doing it out) and, just to really make sure, I'm doing some online medical work experience to see if I really like Medicine. Also look into modules in Biochemistry degrees, maybe find some A-Level preparation for a degree in Biochemistry and some reading in areas of Biochemistry- maybe you'll find a niche area that you're really interested in. Then compare how much you enjoy learning Biology and Chemistry to English and History. This might help you decide if it's regret that's making you not enjoy them as much or if it's a genuine decline in interest in them and a genuine growth in preference for Biology and Chemistry, if that makes sense.

I guess it gets more difficult from here on. I don't know if it's possible to catch up in both Biology and Chemistry to reach the same point that current classes are at right now (my friends say it's possible for me and Biology since their classes move really slowly, it's just one subject in comparison to two and consists of more memorisation than having to learn concepts). I think it would at least be a good idea to experience some of these subjects via self-study before you make any changes. As for moving schools, I'm not sure. Firstly, do you think it's possible to restart the year in your current school next year? Apparently funding has a part to play in this, so I'm not sure (I don't know if this is possible for me either). If it's really not possible and the only option is to move to a college, then maybe you need to weigh up the positives and negatives? Yes, you might have to leave your friends, but you'd be doing this for yourself and your future, not theirs. If they were really good friends, then they would try their best to stay in contact with you, right? Besides, it's likely that you and those friends would all be going to different universities anyway, even if you stayed in your current school, and some would inevitably move on and some may stay in contact with you. Moving college/sixth form now would just be doing the same thing as going to different universities would lead to in terms of friendships, I guess.

You have time. A-Levels aren't the end, not even A-Levels that are done in Y12-13- you can always do more A-Levels after those years and take time out to save up for university alongside self-study before going. It might just take a year or two longer, but it's better than rushing into a degree you're not 100% sure about head-first and letting £27,000- £36,000 support from Student Finance go to waste, right? (That's what I try to tell myself to feel better, at least.) I'm sorry if this isn't the best of advice as I really don't know how the outside world works either, as someone who is the same age as you and who is stuck in a very similar position. Maybe make a start on having a proper look into Biology and Chemistry now as we still haven't reached the halfway point of Y12- perhaps starting earlier will at least be better than the self-torment of wondering what could be different and of regret. I hope you can be happy too.
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I could hug you. I'm so sorry you feel like that. I still quite like English and am doing well in it at least- I'm just unsure that I'll like it at university. I completely understand where you're coming from about the sciences feeling easier to revise for because there's always a correct, definitive answer, but essay subjects like English and History are more subjective. I understand what you mean about not being sure if it's regret or a genuine decline in interest in English that is making it difficult to enjoy the subject.

Let's take it slowly. The people above have also said good things. Maybe take advantage of the time we have now (I have more time, at least, during periods of online school) to start looking at A-Level Biology and Chemistry textbooks, flashcards, exam questions, etc. I've already done this and decided that I do like Biology (but not enough of Chemistry to see it through at A-Level, so I've already ruled doing it out) and, just to really make sure, I'm doing some online medical work experience to see if I really like Medicine. Also look into modules in Biochemistry degrees, maybe find some A-Level preparation for a degree in Biochemistry and some reading in areas of Biochemistry- maybe you'll find a niche area that you're really interested in. Then compare how much you enjoy learning Biology and Chemistry to English and History. This might help you decide if it's regret that's making you not enjoy them as much or if it's a genuine decline in interest in them and a genuine growth in preference for Biology and Chemistry, if that makes sense.

I guess it gets more difficult from here on. I don't know if it's possible to catch up in both Biology and Chemistry to reach the same point that current classes are at right now (my friends say it's possible for me and Biology since their classes move really slowly, it's just one subject in comparison to two and consists of more memorisation than having to learn concepts). I think it would at least be a good idea to experience some of these subjects via self-study before you make any changes. As for moving schools, I'm not sure. Firstly, do you think it's possible to restart the year in your current school next year? Apparently funding has a part to play in this, so I'm not sure (I don't know if this is possible for me either). If it's really not possible and the only option is to move to a college, then maybe you need to weigh up the positives and negatives? Yes, you might have to leave your friends, but you'd be doing this for yourself and your future, not theirs. If they were really good friends, then they would try their best to stay in contact with you, right? Besides, it's likely that you and those friends would all be going to different universities anyway, even if you stayed in your current school, and some would inevitably move on and some may stay in contact with you. Moving college/sixth form now would just be doing the same thing as going to different universities would lead to in terms of friendships, I guess.

You have time. A-Levels aren't the end, not even A-Levels that are done in Y12-13- you can always do more A-Levels after those years and take time out to save up for university alongside self-study before going. It might just take a year or two longer, but it's better than rushing into a degree you're not 100% sure about head-first and letting £27,000- £36,000 support from Student Finance go to waste, right? (That's what I try to tell myself to feel better, at least.) I'm sorry if this isn't the best of advice as I really don't know how the outside world works either, as someone who is the same age as you and who is stuck in a very similar position. Maybe make a start on having a proper look into Biology and Chemistry now as we still haven't reached the halfway point of Y12- perhaps starting earlier will at least be better than the self-torment of wondering what could be different and of regret. I hope you can be happy too.
Thankyou so much for this. I wish my mum was as sweet and considerate as you are. Your advice is very good as well - I just get so stressed out over everything that is going on that I can't focus on anything or work out a sensible thing to do. I will definitely start researching chemistry and biology a levels and uni courses- I think biochemistry sounds fun but I will do a lot more research and see if I really like it.

I don't think I could catch up on a whole terms worth of content for both chemistry and biology, and I would like to take further maths as well and the further maths class are a long way ahead of our maths class. If I do decide I really want to change a levels I will have to re do yr12. I have thought a bit and I don't think leaving my friends would be that hard. I suppose we are not really close, I mean I haven't told them any of this - but I find it hard to make friends so that is why moving schools would be so hard for me I think. But I might be able to stay at my school - once I have decided if I want to change I will talk to my teachers and see if it is possible.

I wish this wasn't happening to me. I just think about when I was happy with my a levels and I just start crying because I don't know how my life went so wrong so quickly. And my mum just shouts at me and tells me to stop crying because I shouldn't cry now I am 16. And all my friends are so happy with their choices and I wish I could just be one of them because I really hate myself so much sometimes, and I hate all the stupid decisions I have made. I hope I can be happy but it just can't imagine myself ever being happy or content ever again. Things just get so complicated after gcse- I thought it would be a really easy change but you are forced to plan out your whole future and I just didn't give it enough thought. And there is so much more work you have to do. I don't know if I am just being a pathetic little girl or if it is because of lockdown or I don't know what but I just want it all to end and go back to how it was last year. But thankyou for being there for me- it really means a lot.
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giella
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No you’re not. It’s stupid to study a subject you have no real interest in for the sake of being respected.
You just have to go into an English degree with your eyes wide open. Gone are the days when an English degree was enough to get into publishing, journalism, advertising or PR, the supposed preserves of English graduates, or even any generic graduate role. You need more than just your degree to get your feet in the door of those and I think most people know it.

Remember that for many sectors a degree is a degree is a degree and you’re often no worse off for doing an English degree than you would be for doing an accounting degree as you can effectively apply to do the same training positions on graduation! That will even be the case for law soon enough. Doing a subject that you love will sustain you for your whole life. But it can’t and shouldn’t be the only string to your bow. You’re gaining generic graduate skills by doing this degree: learning to turn big projects in on time, giving presentations, presenting an argument, hold constructive discussions and showing you can progress and develop over a three year period.

But the specialist knowledge you gain is only going to be relevant in a handful of careers and arguably some subjects equip graduates with more of that as well. I’ve sadly known English Literature graduates progress very little over the course of three years from when I set them loose into the world after tutoring them. One or two have come back to me and said that what they learned from me at A level was the standard they were expected to be at by the end of their third year, which they found baffling. I’ve reviewed third year university essays and dissertations for English and been puzzled that they contain so many grammatical mistakes and factual errors. Where is the progression in skills that, for instance, a nursing student or a chemistry student would be expected to demonstrate?

It’s just something to be aware of: English departments often don’t nurture skills development in quite the way you would hope at university level, not compared to other disciplines. You’re not necessarily going to tested to your absolute limits. It’s possible to self select your way through an English degree, picking only topics, texts and authors that you’re interested in and the core stuff isn’t necessarily challenging. Compare this to the very rigorous curricula of other disciplines and you realise that the threshold for progression in an English literature degree is fairly low. I’ve done a humanities degree and a science degree and I’ve faced barriers to progression in both of them. But in the humanities degree, it was a personal barrier I had to push through, never the subject itself. In the science degree – a vocational healthcare degree – it was the skills that I had to master that represented a potential cap on my ability to progress. There was no selecting what I wanted to do: it was sink or swim, all the way.

If you want something that really challenges you, you may want to give really careful thought to your subject. English degree content can be very much self taught (I’m living proof of that). My friend from school did an embarrassing U turn to medicine after her English degree after initially resisting parental pressure to do medicine straight from school. We talked about it and she said she loved doing it but realised that she had learned very little in her degree that she didn’t think she could have learned on her own and we both credit the fact that our English department at our school was beyond outstanding (we both achieved 100% in 4 out of 6 papers that we had to sit back then and could have effectively got Us in our other papers and still got As). It was from her that I got part of my idea to study speech and language therapy because she said the only things she really learned on her degree that stuck were the more linguistic sides of things that led her to take on an SLT assistant post after graduation.

I love English, I really do but as I said, go into it with eyes wide open.
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V℮rsions
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Dude STEM sucks, forget about STEM - bunch of nerds! :cool:
Do whatever degree you like, as long as you can see yourself sticking it out for 3/4 years and you think it wont be a waste of time and money then for sure, go for it
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(Original post by giella)
No you’re not. It’s stupid to study a subject you have no real interest in for the sake of being respected.
You just have to go into an English degree with your eyes wide open. Gone are the days when an English degree was enough to get into publishing, journalism, advertising or PR, the supposed preserves of English graduates, or even any generic graduate role. You need more than just your degree to get your feet in the door of those and I think most people know it.

Remember that for many sectors a degree is a degree is a degree and you’re often no worse off for doing an English degree than you would be for doing an accounting degree as you can effectively apply to do the same training positions on graduation! That will even be the case for law soon enough. Doing a subject that you love will sustain you for your whole life. But it can’t and shouldn’t be the only string to your bow. You’re gaining generic graduate skills by doing this degree: learning to turn big projects in on time, giving presentations, presenting an argument, hold constructive discussions and showing you can progress and develop over a three year period.

But the specialist knowledge you gain is only going to be relevant in a handful of careers and arguably some subjects equip graduates with more of that as well. I’ve sadly known English Literature graduates progress very little over the course of three years from when I set them loose into the world after tutoring them. One or two have come back to me and said that what they learned from me at A level was the standard they were expected to be at by the end of their third year, which they found baffling. I’ve reviewed third year university essays and dissertations for English and been puzzled that they contain so many grammatical mistakes and factual errors. Where is the progression in skills that, for instance, a nursing student or a chemistry student would be expected to demonstrate?

It’s just something to be aware of: English departments often don’t nurture skills development in quite the way you would hope at university level, not compared to other disciplines. You’re not necessarily going to tested to your absolute limits. It’s possible to self select your way through an English degree, picking only topics, texts and authors that you’re interested in and the core stuff isn’t necessarily challenging. Compare this to the very rigorous curricula of other disciplines and you realise that the threshold for progression in an English literature degree is fairly low. I’ve done a humanities degree and a science degree and I’ve faced barriers to progression in both of them. But in the humanities degree, it was a personal barrier I had to push through, never the subject itself. In the science degree – a vocational healthcare degree – it was the skills that I had to master that represented a potential cap on my ability to progress. There was no selecting what I wanted to do: it was sink or swim, all the way.

If you want something that really challenges you, you may want to give really careful thought to your subject. English degree content can be very much self taught (I’m living proof of that). My friend from school did an embarrassing U turn to medicine after her English degree after initially resisting parental pressure to do medicine straight from school. We talked about it and she said she loved doing it but realised that she had learned very little in her degree that she didn’t think she could have learned on her own and we both credit the fact that our English department at our school was beyond outstanding (we both achieved 100% in 4 out of 6 papers that we had to sit back then and could have effectively got Us in our other papers and still got As). It was from her that I got part of my idea to study speech and language therapy because she said the only things she really learned on her degree that stuck were the more linguistic sides of things that led her to take on an SLT assistant post after graduation.

I love English, I really do but as I said, go into it with eyes wide open.
This sounds awful - which university did these people go to (the ones whose essays hadn't improved)? I would like to be challenged and I suppose that is why I am falling out of love with it - I don't mean to sound arrogant because I really am not particularly smart but there is nothing complicated about english, not like to concepts you learn in chemistry or physics. But I don't know if it is genuine dislike for english or some inferiority complex of mine because all my friends are doing STEM a levels and I am always comparing what I learn to what they learn. I like reading but I don't know if it is worth doing a whole English degree. But I still don't know what else I would study. I would like to improve my speaking skills because I find it really hard to have conversations with people and to speak out loud to people so would an english degree help with this?
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username5568728
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(Original post by V℮rsions)
Dude STEM sucks, forget about STEM - bunch of nerds! :cool:
Do whatever degree you like, as long as you can see yourself sticking it out for 3/4 years and you think it wont be a waste of time and money then for sure, go for it
Thanks for this - everyone seems to make stem out to be the only point to education and if you don't adhere to it you are automatically a failure. I suppose all my friends are stemy students so I feel really isolated when I am around them. But thankyou anyway
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tsaxoxo123
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Hey, I'm currently in Year 12 studying Biology, English Literature and Psychology. i have a real passion for English and I plan to do it as a degree. All of my friends are doing STEM subjects for A- Level and want to medicine at Uni. I feel like a failure whenever i'm around them.
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Keele Postgraduate
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(Original post by Lily_23)
I feel like an english degree isn't as important or respected as a STEM degree and I won't be able to get a well paid job at the end of it. Also you don't get a lot of teaching time (lectures and classes) so is it a waste of money? I really don't know any more I used to really want to do an English degree but all my friends who are doing STEM make me feel so stupid. What's your opinion. Is it worth it
As someone who did a BA in English Literature then spent 11 years working in a variety of business environment, I can assure you that the skills taught during an English degree remain highly valued by many employers.

Certainly in the UK the study of STEM subjects has become very trendy. And if you have a specific discipline that you want to get into (such as engineering, computing, medicine, tech etc), a STEM subject would probably be the way to go. But Humanities and Social Science (HUMSS) subjects - including English - teach you a huge amount of interpersonal, creative, and critical skills that, crucially, can be applied to multiple disciplines and career pathways.

In my previous role (I was a manager in an estate agency before returning to university to do a PhD in English Literature and retrain as an academic), my employer valued my degree because of it had equipped me to think critically and imaginatively both about and around a problem. When you're used to thinking about literature from a lot of different angles and perspectives, it's pretty easy to adapt that way of thinking to real-world problems (and to be empathetic to situations that are outside of your own - you'll have read literature from many different perspectives on your course).

My degree also taught me to write in various modes and for a variety of audiences, to manage my own time, to manage large projects and work to deadlines, to read and digest large amounts of information and then apply it, and to communicate both verbally and in writing with a variety of audiences. All of these are extremely valuable skills in a variety of job roles and career pathways.

It's also worth bearing in mind that English is an excellent interdisciplinary degree for entry onto a number of postgraduate pathways in the Humanities and Social Sciences. So you're not locking yourself into a particular career pathway at degree stage. There is also a lot of current research being done in areas such as Digital Humanities and the Science Humanities - areas that combine interests in humanities subjects such as English with academics working in the Natural and Life Sciences. Academics in STEM and HUMSS subjects are both beginning to increasingly see the value in working together and utilising the best of both disciplines on a really varied range of projects - at Keele, for example, we have the Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences that run a range of interdisciplinary events, and we also have some interdisciplinary degree programmes (https://www.keele.ac.uk/ilas/).

I am sorry that your friends don't value your interest in studying English. Whenever I get asked about why I am studying for a PhD in English, I always say that STEM degrees are very valuable but being able to think both critically and philosophically about a subject - and to then express that thinking to others - is valuable too and studying a degree that will teach you to do that is, in my opinion, neither stupid nor a waste of time.

Hope that helps!

Amy Louise
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giella
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(Original post by Lily_23)
This sounds awful - which university did these people go to (the ones whose essays hadn't improved)? I would like to be challenged and I suppose that is why I am falling out of love with it - I don't mean to sound arrogant because I really am not particularly smart but there is nothing complicated about english, not like to concepts you learn in chemistry or physics. But I don't know if it is genuine dislike for english or some inferiority complex of mine because all my friends are doing STEM a levels and I am always comparing what I learn to what they learn. I like reading but I don't know if it is worth doing a whole English degree. But I still don't know what else I would study. I would like to improve my speaking skills because I find it really hard to have conversations with people and to speak out loud to people so would an english degree help with this?
Well, my friend went to Leeds a few years ago. Of the other people I mentioned, at least one went to Nottingham and another went to one of the London universities, although I don't recall which.
It's not that my students didn't improve at all. They obviously got better at presenting information and their vocabularies improved. But they felt that the challenge that a lot of people on their courses seemed to be facing was one that they'd already met at A level and that was analysis.
Now I'm good at analysis and I'm good at explaining it generally. I don't really differentiate between the skills I teach at GCSE or A level and I have a way of making it simple to my students, giving them a toolkit they can apply to almost any text. Once my students master this, they generally find that there's not that much more to it other than practice. I treat texts as something you can encode and then effectively manipulate like coefficients and variables in mathematical equations and formulae to get your meaning. Or maybe you start with your meaning and work backwards to get your component factors. This method can be applied to any text because English is ultimately a set of code with variables and place value etc. Don't get me wrong, it's fun and I love teaching it this way and analysing this way and my students generally do as well. But when you realise that the ability to do this is something you're not really expected to have mastered until or even beyond year 3 and you've already had a couple of years' head start, where's the real challenge?

To me, it sounds like you'd actually enjoy studying something applied rather than a core academic subject. Maybe something in the health sciences like OT or SLT. If you enjoy English, SLT may be something you'd want to take a look at. You certainly would have an opportunity to develop your speaking skills because it's a vocational degree and you're obliged to engage with the public as well as give presentations etc. It may hit that sweet spot between sciences and humanities for you, whilst you're also studying something you know you have some interest in.
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(Original post by Lily_23)
I feel like an english degree isn't as important or respected as a STEM degree and I won't be able to get a well paid job at the end of it. Also you don't get a lot of teaching time (lectures and classes) so is it a waste of money? I really don't know any more I used to really want to do an English degree but all my friends who are doing STEM make me feel so stupid. What's your opinion. Is it worth it
doing an English degree is not stupid at all- it actually requires a lot of intelligence, but the intellectual skills needed are different to that of stem, such as analysis, language capabilities etc. it is generally true that, on the whole it is easier to get into a high paying job with a STEM degree but that shouldn’t be the reason anyone chooses a certain degree. you can get really good jobs with an English degree because of the skills it teaches u, and a degree is a degree at the end of the day. what should inform your degree choice is what you enjoy- what you’re passionate about and will enjoy studying is the most important, i would say, because not only do you need passion to study it for 3 years (minimum) but also because it will likely be linked to your job (so if u don’t like STEM as much, then you won’t be satisfied in a STEM career)- and what you’re good at and will succeed with. if a job is important to you then that’s fair enough, but you shouldn’t choose a completely different degree just because of that or bc of your friends. and sadly the teaching time is a sad truth about all degrees, the money is huge for a small amount of contact but that’s just what university is like in the current climate
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I think you need to study what's right for you and not what your friends pressure you into. But it sounds like English may not be the best degree for you personally just based on your own doubts about whether it's something you want to do a whole degree in.
Do something because it's right for you, not for someone else. And take your time. There's no rush.
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