I changed subject in freshers’ week and I have no regrets
I told my interviewer that I chose Theology because it aided my ‘understanding of my own existence’ and that John’s Gospel was the total fire of my loins
In reality the only reason I chose Theology was because my teacher told me I was too dumb to get in to do English anywhere.
In hindsight, I shouldn’t have listened to her, because even if I’d discovered the meaning of life, she’d still have told me that I was too thick, but being youthful and really wanting to go to Cambridge I did. Now, don’t get me wrong, I loved Religious Studies A-Level, and began to love Theology as a consequence; however, this changed when I got to Cambridge.
My first lectures were uneventful, and I can’t remember much about them, which might say more about me than the subject, perhaps the after-effects of Cindies and the subsequent short term memory loss had something to do with this. I do, however, remember arriving to my first class, where I looked around and discovered that the mean age was around 40.
I eyed my way round the room and tried to detect their reasoning for being there; midlife crisis in the form of a vocational degree? Or maybe one day, after an unrepentant life of sin, they decided the easiest way out of eternal damnation was to drop everything and just thought, “fuck it, I’m becoming a vicar.” We began reading the Greek, with its intricacies and excessive vowels, and I was lost. Hampton Court, The Shining, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire lost.
This went on for a week or so, until one day, I looked at Judith, who looked like she was fond of tea rooms, as she whizzed through her ABG’s, and that was when I had my first religious experience. A moment of realisation overwhelmed me, and I realised that my destiny lay not in JC and his disciples, but in nonsensical Middle English poems about jousting and green knights.
And so, like Gawain’s Green Knight, I went on an adventure, to my tutor, who told me I could change subject if the DoS agreed. I sat a test in the admissions office, and had a gruelling interview where I was asked to quote a poem, any poem. I failed to do so.
Days passed and I grew antsy. I must have fucked up the definitions of irony and satire, I told myself. And then, I received an email telling me I could switch. And I did so quickly. I binned my Theology books, (which I then regretted and took out, because I’m not made of money) and the relief that flooded over me as soon as I received the email was paradisiacal.
I didn’t have to go to lectures that didn’t enthuse me anymore. I didn’t have to waste my time on a language that is dead- both metaphorically and literally. I felt liberated. I could learn again.
I am glad I changed from Theology. Primarily because it stops people back home asking me why I’m doing it, which had grown tiring after months of people asking me if I wanted to become a nun. But also because, in all honesty, English had always been my ‘thing’, and I truly love it; I look forward to lectures, and I actually want to do the work (a true miracle).
I figure if you are in Cambridge and you dread your lectures, that’s probably an indicator you aren’t doing the right subject, irrespective of how much you loved your A Level course.
We are all people who love to learn, and if that has become apparently false during lectures, then maybe think about it, because as daunting as it might seem, a drastic change is better than three years of dissatisfaction.