Friday, 28 October 2016

The English Student.

If I haven't already said that I now do an English degree: I am studying for an English degree. Someone said to me the other day that they were torn between history and English but eventually decided that with English they didn't really see the point. 'What is the point?' they asked. 'That is the point.' I said, not really sure what I meant but thinking it sounded clever and elusive.

Thinking about it an English degree is probably the most selfish degree you can do. For three years I will swan around reading books and making grand statements about them that ultimately mean nothing whilst my truly clever friends learn how to save lives and how to solve the economic crisis and reverse global warming (hopefully). What do I give back from learning how to read?

Reading English is selfish because you're there to improve your own understanding of the world around you, of literature and of ideas and of human emotions. Here I am trying to improve my own brain, so far for the good of only me. How do I return the favour of an improved brain?

I know I'm a first year, and worrying about what comes next is futile, and I'm not even really worrying. I think I'm just wondering why I'm here. What am I getting from this for £9000 a year? Why did I choose this course? Who will it make me at the end of it?

I bloody love reading so that's the main reason I'm here. I love Shakespeare and Donne and Spark and Larkin and all of them. I love all of them even if they're rubbish. I'm here to work out if they're rubbish. I'm here to work out why I like them. I'm here to think and think and think about it all. And that is selfish, and I haven't worked out its meaning yet, but for now I really don't have to.