I’m now midway through my time in York as an English trainee, and I’ve been delighting in every minute of it. Here’s some things I want I ‘d known about the course prior to starting uni:
You discover that there is a whole wide world of literatures (Yes, with the plural’s’!).
One brilliant feature of the York English Lit structure is that it exposes students to English Literature throughout time periods and across continents, and enables you to discover writers you have actually never heard of in the past. In your very first year, you’ll start with a module that consists of texts from the 15th century all the way to the modern. In readings, lectures and seminars, conversation of these texts also necessarily involves conversations of the major historical events of that duration, how life resembled in that era, and of course, essential philosophical and cultural readings of the text (something which I have actually grown to truly enjoy reading).
In another module, York’s English programme exposes us to international literatures, centred around styles such as post-colonialism (the Literature of countries who were ex-British colonies, for instance). Personally, I discovered that to be an incredibly enhancing experience that broadened my worldview and prompted me to think about the relationship in between Literature and Politics, and to question the purpose of a literary text.
This may sound a little overwhelming, however it actually isn’t really so! You absolutely can expect to find studying English at uni to be significantly different from the way we did it at A Levels, and while I did feel rather stressed in the very first couple of weeks of term, I ultimately found my footing and grew to enjoy the volume and speed of work we have at uni. Likewise, it gives you a big sense of achievement when you recall at the end of the term at all the poems, plays and books you’ve gone through in simply 10 weeks!
The broad exposure to several durations of literature makes you find interests in subjects you never ever engaged with before. For me, post-colonialism was my newfound love.
Flexibility, versatility, versatility!
Something I didn’t expect was just how much versatility the English department offers us. Studying English at York is awesome because the course offers you a great deal of independence to direct your research studies. The English course has fairly few contact hours (a.k.a. time invested in lectures and seminars) as compared to other topics. This indicates that a lot of time spent at university is devoted to independent studying and taking the initiative to find tutors in their workplace hours to engage them in conversations about a text/idea that you’re actually passionate about. The coolest feature of the English course would be that you get to choose exactly what you wish to compose you essay on– there are no set concerns (save for the written examinations in summer season term)! This implies that from each module, you get to select the texts that you were most thinking about to compose your essay on, and you get to choose exactly what vital readings you wish to read for your essay, and how you wish to structure your essay.
Having more flexibility with your timetable also indicates that you can use the time to join more societies or even use up a term-time internship, which was exactly what I did! Through the York Careers Portal, I obtained a term-time internship lasting for 12 weeks in Communications, and invested roughly 12 hours a week at the internship, which relates to about three days a week. This assisted me gain work experience and employability skills, and also some additional earnings on the side.
We have movie screenings.
We see movie adaptations of some of the texts in our reading lists (side note: I love how these sessions show up on our timetable as legit required lectures to go to)! Who ‘d have believed that studying English at uni also includes being in a dark lecture theatre and viewing a film predicted on to the big screen? Consider it as a Netflix movie date … but with a whole bunch of people.
In my first year, I remember enjoying A Midsummer’s Night Dream and caring how the motion picture represented the characters of the play a lot that I wrote among my essays on the play! And just last term, seeing Samuel Beckett’s Endgame throughout a movie screening made me see the play in a whole various light, triggering me to borrow three different books from the library about Beckett and his works.
They’re not going to let you be puzzled and stressed all by yourself.
We’re assigned an individual supervisor at the start of university, and this manager will be an academic from your department– in our case, English– and you ‘d satisfy him/her frequently throughout your 3 years of research study to just talk about how you’re discovering the course and how you’re feeling, if you’re coping well or if you’re having an issue about module choices, and so on.