A Humanities Degree: You Don’t Need to Know A Thing.

Right, I am a student of English Literature, I apologise profusely for that. I have recently finished my second year, and against all odds, I passed it. Now, let this not seem like a self-deprecating ‘oh, how did I pass, I thought I did terribly on the day’ sort of statement. I know I shouldn’t have passed, shouldn’t. Let me tell you why.

After several pieces of mediocre coursework, often written and completed on the day they were due, came the dreaded exams. For one module (and I do not recommend this) I sat the exam whilst drunk.  After one decidedly terrible essay, I concluded with the following (this, to my unending shame, is true):

In conclusion, you might say I have no idea what I’m talking about. Although there is some truth in this, I feel it must be noted that I do make a rather wonderful Caesar Salad so it all sort of works out.’ Now, that should have been enough to sabotage that exam, but just in case it wasn’t for the second section I wrote: ‘I don’t know how to answer this question, but here is a drawing of a dog wearing a party hat that I value at a 2:1.’

I then proceeded to draw said dog… I passed that module.

Another exam, I had to answer 6 questions, I answered three and a half, before writing a message to the unfortunate examiner who was destined to mark my poorly written tripe. The message was as follows:

Dear Mr. Examiner, as you can probably tell, I’ve not really read all the books I was supposed to. Let that be a secret between us two, mark what I have written generously and there is a packet of Fruit Pastels in it for you.’

I passed that module.

Now, from this several conclusions can be drawn.

1) My natural genius shined through, and the examiners thought me so clever for my witty remarks and that all the tutors love me so much that they thought I may as well continue the course.

2) The drawing of the dog was superb and I owe someone somewhere a packet of Fruit Pastels.

3) A Humanities degree isn’t worth shit.

I’ll go for the 3rd option. I genuinely feel bad for the people who put hours of revision and hard work into their exams and came out with either okay marks or near misses, just to hear that some prick like me thought he’d try to be funny and coast through.  Why are so many people throughout the world paying astronomical fees to study a subject where it is apparently completely acceptable to just draw a dog in the exam?  This follows on with my recurring theme of everything being fairly pointless. A humanities degree is worth nothing. When I finish and try to enter the world of employment what have I got? I have a qualification in wasting three years of my life and being a smart arse. I used to feel offended when people ridiculed my degree, with those condescending sneers (usually physics students) ‘Oh, some of us actually have to do some work.’

‘Some people have more than four hours a week contact time.’

‘You’re a dick and I hate you, if I ever so much as see you again I’m going to peel your face off with a vegetable peeler.’

… Okay maybe that last one was aimed specifically at me rather than my degree, but they annoyed me… now I completely understand.

This year I didn’t read any of the 17+ novels I was supposed to, I didn’t even read the synopsis  on Wikipedia, I just shrugged my shoulders, drank several Southern Comforts and Cokes (now known as the drink of despair, ’tis fun to ask for in bars and receive odd looks) and went in and drew a dog.

Passing me was an affront to justice, how can anyone say to people ‘work hard at life and you’ll achieve what you want,’ when I am living proof that you don’t need to give a shit and can just do as you please?

‘Perhaps, your coursework was so good that it didn’t matter.’

Nope, judging by the feedback I received I can tell you that that too was poor. ‘This is a frustratingly poor essay… that at some points appears to be pure waffle’ are a couple of quotes in regards to my Shakespeare essay. ‘This is an impressively ill prepared response… I can’t believe that you even admitted that you didn’t know the title of the book you were analysing.’ are a couple from my American Literature module. So all in all, I definitely shouldn’t have passed if the realms of academia has any respect for itself.

So there you have it, those currently applying to university for September, remember that a degree in English Literature, can amount to a three year holiday, it’s the one place you’ll get rewarded for acting like a pretentious, arrogant knob.


The Fuzzy Rambler.


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