I already hate my degree

Need I say more? The rest is history.

Cambridge degree disillusionment Fresher hate history Students

It’s only been three weeks, and my joyous, self-congratulatory bubble of “I got into Cambridge” has already been crushed by my degree.

The shattered remains are currently dying under the Cambridge workload. That insatiable thirst for historical knowledge I promised my DoS and wrote endless crap about in my personal statement perished at the first sight of my reading list.

Let’s start with the reading. That ‘revised’ reading list I get from my supervisor still has a shitload of books on it and some sneaky, ultra-keen fresher out there is always one step ahead and has taken out all the good ones. Trudging to the college library, history library and god forbid even the UL is an unbelievable waste of energy. Then, the tragic reality dawns that I have to actually read these books. Fuck.

Reading takes so bloody long as well. I only took History in the belief that it was one of the low commitment degrees, at least in Cambridge terms. And here I am, minute after excruciating minute, counting down the pages until the end of the chapter. Or even just the words to the end of the page. The key to hacking this may be by using a good power nap. A five minute snooze between chapters to boost concentration levels. Or even better, just go to sleep. If you procrastinate enough, surely it will just go away…

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Read, sleep, weep, repeat

An essay once a week, sounds easy right? Week 1 me, still awed by the thought of being at Cambridge, went to the library straight away, read for days, planned the essay and wrote it with time to spare. Week 3 me descended into the pit of panic writing up ’til 5am, held together only by coffee and ibuprofen. Cue the subject hate setting in and questions of why History, why Cambridge, why anything.

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The late night essay saviour

The inevitable follow up to “I hate my course” is to think about what else you could be doing. In my case, having done maths and chemistry as my other A Levels, it’s either History or being the shittest NatSci ever. Guess I’m stuck with it.

Then there’s the abject loneliness that comes from doing an arts subject. You read on your own, write on your own and even lectures (the few you actually go to, anyway) consist of sitting there bleary eyed, desperately trying not to fall asleep. It’s a life devoid of social interaction. Soon my only friends will be 18th century politicians and other people long dead.

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A different sort of party…

Yes, my degree is, to put it truthfully, fucking useless. £9,000 a year well spent to become a museum curator. It’s not exactly value for money either. Even if I made it to lectures, half the time they’re not even useful anyway, normally just some lecturer who’s got beef with another historian enforcing how he’s right and they’re wrong. With so little contact time and only one supervision a week, what the hell am I paying for?

Perhaps it’s for the architectural gem that is the history faculty building. Forget King’s Chapel, come over to Sidgwick and admire this Grade II listed, browny-red, glass monstrosity. I’m reliably informed that people flock to see this building, so much so that they actually have to restrict the entry times. If that isn’t proof that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I don’t know what is.

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Much brown. Such beauty.

History just doesn’t command the same sort of respect that something like doing Maths or Medicine gets you. It’s not greeted with an awe of silence. Quite the opposite really. Any complaints from us are with a met with sneer about how we do an arts subject, it’s so little work.

If you’ve gotten this far in the article, I sincerely thank you. This was really just an opportunity to rant about my course. But hey, no need to feel bad anymore. I hate my degree, and now you can hate yours too.