Four years and a BA

Five years ago I was an eager 18 year old ready to embark on an exciting adventure – university. I did all the research, went to numerous open days, wrote my personal statement and went head-to-head with UCAS to complete my applications. I chose music and German, not because I want to be a ‘German musician’ or because they actually do compliment eachother quite well – I’m just a naturally indecisive person and could not decide.

So I was going to, I mean am going to, graduate with a BA – or, to every other graduate not getting one of these, an ‘arts degree’. Now, unlike most language students I sat intently listening to my college tutors telling us about how studying languages gives you numerous transferable skills (true), you get the opportunity to live and work abroad for a year (true) and all companies want language graduates (well…) I was also told by my music tutors that musicians have the best social lives, have very few lectures so therefore drink a lot and if nothing else you’ll have a really fun four years (true, true and true).
Every student moans about their degree course at some point: ‘I have too many lectures’ means ‘it’s not fair all my housemates are going out and I have my third consecutive 9am’, ‘I have too few lectures, what am I paying for?’ Means ‘please can I have some more lectures because in order to fill time I am spending too much money at the pub and my overdraft is almost maxed out’. However, amongst language students in our final year the phrase ‘four years and I’m only getting a BA’ has been too common and is one that I’m ashamed to say I’ve used, because looking back now I whole-heartedly believe that this has to be one of the hardest degrees going. I know the science and maths people are shaking their heads saying ‘dream on’ all you do is talk about Hitler and play a bit of Beethoven – not true!
I’m going to say right now that like all music students I spent years practicing and learning music theory so I know that most would not be able to do that aspect. However, there are two moments in the past couple of weeks where I’ve realised that the language aspect of my degree is actually difficult. The first of these moments was when helping my youngest brother with his German homework and seeing how confused and perplexed he was with simply translating personal pronouns. It takes consistent practice to learn a language to a degree of fluency, this level of constant practice is not required in many other degree areas. The second moment was when trying to teach a friend (who claimed he was ‘good at languages’) the simple phrase ‘I must wash my hair’ which is ‘ich muss meine Haare waschen’. Not a difficult phrase, in fact phonetically they are very alike, yet 10 minutes later we had ‘ich muss’ and I’d reached the end of my tether so that was lesson over!
By no stretch of the imagination am I saying maths, science or engineering degrees are easy. I struggle with basic arithmetic so would struggle immensely with aspects of the above. But I am proud to say that I have completed my ARTS degree and the graduates of the aforementioned disciplines should be aware that ‘arts’ does not mean painting by numbers – I wish it did, then maybe that 1:1 would not have been such a far-reaching goal! 

About maryv1990

Wandering graduate, working her way into adult life whilst making some detours to Europe and other countries...
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