Studying Geography is more than colouring images of Abercromby Square
You’re talking to someone who has a ‘recession proof’ degree here
Being a first year student you are bound to be subject to a whole host of criticism and passive comments such as ‘oh you don’t have any work to do you are in first year’. Well imagine what it is like to be a first year student who studies Geography, you are host to a whole new level of comments and ‘funny’ jokes about how much colouring we have to do, well trust me that is not the case Geography is a real degree and possibly the most important one you could study.
Geographers really have a tough time with their peers: we’re made to feel like we’re at the bottom in the hierarchy of degrees. And we all know the connotations that come along with the word ‘geography’. As soon you say the word people’s faces change and they instantly think you’re at university to sinmply ensure you can colour between the lines. Well listen up Jim, tat is not the case. FYI I have not coloured in since Year 11, and I intend to keep it that way to prove a point (even though I just recently had to create a brochure for one of my modules, but let’s move past that).
The truth is people see Geography as an easy ride, a subject that’s for the unintelligent. But Geography students have the same entry requirements as more ‘prestigious’ courses, including Law, Psychology and Maths. We still have exams to sit and they are haaard. Especially when half the time the question is so long you have to read it about 40 times to understand what the first half of the question is actually asking, before you even worry about how you could even write 4 sides on the topic.
And before you even pull out the old contact hours card, don’t. Yes it may be true that on average I have about 8 hours of contact hours a week (about a solid 4 of which I attend) but for each of these lectures I am expected to read about 3-4 articles or chapters that amounts to about 10-15 articles per week (which trust me does not happen). Not to mention that these are between 10 to 30 pages of tough, treacherous text, at about size 10 font could easily take the slow readers amongst us (including myself) a good hour to read and we haven’t even got to writing up lectures and prep work for seminars yet.
Half the time, people don’t really understand what Geography is and just assume we study a map for three years to find out where places are in the world. Obviously this isn’t the case. We study content bridging across the whole realm of subjects from Business to Biology, we even have to do Maths using stats such as standard deviation or T-tests. Geography is not one subject, it’s a conjunction of all subjects through the study of human-environment interactions it is basically everything on this planet, bringing a wide spectrum of unanswered questions with it. See, I told you it’s not all about felt tips and gel pens.
Geographers are given the chance to become the ‘jack of all trades’ developing skills in IT, numeracy, business and communications. We tend to progress on to successful careers, (including geography teachers). We find careers in government, environmental planning and various business functions including HR, Marketing and Finance. News flash, people, Geography is a degree that has been identified as ‘recession proof’. Tell me that’s not useful.
Our degree is the study of the whole world and everything encapsulated within it. It’s the most important degree an 18 year old could set their lives up with, and it ain’t going anywhere anytime soon.