By Emma Craven
“New Media and English”. I remember seeing the course name and instantly feeling a wave of relief. It involved English, which I love and know I would be able to both study and enjoy, and also Media, something that evolves and morphs continuously.
I felt as though I had finally found a course that I had a real interest in. (Rather than studying something maths or science based as they are both fields which I have never held a passion for.)
The career options are both broad and reassuring. Journalism, teaching, publishing, advertising or media production to name a few. Putting this course down as a real option felt ideal, and I looked forward to getting started.
I have met a great deal of people who have the same passion for English as me. The lectures are new and interesting (Although I’m sure Restoration & Augustan literature sounds horrendous to many people!).
But enough about me. This article is not about how happy I am with the choice I made. It is about how others feel about the choice I have made.
It’s not uncommon for those who study humanities to be thought of in a derogatory way. I have noticed that some people who do courses or have interests which are different to mine, can on occasion have this sense of superiority, an illusion of superiority almost. It is not a majority, as typically when I meet new people in a college setting, a conversation will arise about our courses and most are impartial to it.
It is a minority. A minority of people who seem to think that if you do not do a course like theirs, involving numbers or equations, then your course is lesser in comparison. What I never understood about these people is the sudden interest they have in relation to your future.
“So, are you gonna write a novel? You’ll never get a job. You can only be a teacher!”
Now 9/10 times these people are surrounded by completely different job opportunities in comparison to mine and have also got a different set of skills. I have never enjoyed working with numbers, but words are my skill. Writing, thoughts and ideas. Just like maths or equations are another person’s.
The fact that my course name doesn’t have the job description in the title of it does not make it any less than yours.
Media is everywhere! It is used in political, social, cultural and educational senses all around the world. Where would we be without it? Social media is being used every day.
And as for English. Learning the beautiful and breath-taking writings of different authors and the way in which the English language shapes the world is a spectacular thing. The skills in which you develop from studying English are not tied only to technology or marketing or writing, but to what you are most passionate about. The tools which you acquire will not lose their value. They will never be obsolete, regardless of them not involving figures or formulas.
After a while of listening to how awful some people think my course is and hearing all of the reasons why I’m wrong for doing what I want to do, I began to realise that sometimes people’s opinions don’t change, and after a certain amount of trying to explain yourself (which really you shouldn’t have to) there is no point in continuing to.
There are facts, explanations and a small amount of reasoning for everything, but only so many different times and ways of saying it.
Jokes get old and they can hurt, but my advice for anyone doing a course like mine or doing an Arts, Humanities or Social Science degree, who are being criticized for the choices the make in their life is don’t get caught up in it.
Disregard the negativity being thrown at you for doing what you want to do. The happiness I have found from being able to study this course will not be taken from me because of an illusion of superiority belonging to other people.
Everyone should do what they hold a passion for, whether that is an English degree or an Aeronautical degree. Different people have different attributes, skills and interests, but unfortunately it takes some longer than others to grasp that.
We live in a multicultural diverse world made up of millions of contrasting people, with different ideas and views. If more people could see that, then maybe we could all be equitable and not feel the need to disrespect and discredit one another.
So, if you find yourself sometimes shining an antagonistic assumption on those who are studying or are interested in something that you don’t understand or care for, maybe reconsider your judgement, it could surprise you!