Maybe a BA is easier than a BSc, but it’s still better

Who’s the real winner here?

You see a lot of articles bandied about claiming that this degree is harder than that one; X has better job prospects than Y; so on and so forth. The BA/BSc divide is always a touchy subject, with each side claiming that their discipline is harder, more challenging, more rewarding. As a BA student myself, however, I must admit – my degree sounds a lot easier than what some of my Sciences friends describe.

Just look at our timetables, for starters. I have no 9ams. Most BSc students have 9ams nigh on every day, with ‘labs’ (which just sounds terrifying in itself) most afternoons. I have six contact hours a week – I think one of my other BA friends has somehow got that down to four. And it’s true, yes, a lot of my other time is spent reading; but I can’t complain when over half of my degree comprises of lying curled up in bed in a onesie with a cup of tea reading Harry Potter (yes, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is literally on the reading list for one of my modules). It honestly sounds like my idea of heaven – which is good, I suppose, considering you really ought to enjoy your degree.

I’ve never had to write up a ‘lab report’, which, again, sounds frankly painful. Yeah, I might have the odd weekly task set from my seminars – one per module at present, hardly a drudge – but it’s far easier to rattle off 500 words on the conclusion of A Tale of Two Cities than it is to fill out a maths worksheet. There’s no right or wrong with English, which is the beauty of it. You can bullshit to your heart’s content. And, you know, every now and then there’ll be the chance to write on something which actually interests you and you won’t even need to bullshit. This is probably bias talking, but I find it hard to imagine anyone anywhere getting passionate over some algebra.

We can write our own essay titles, which – contrary to popular belief – is actually amazing. Have fun dealing with graphs you don’t understand whilst I skirt around swathes of text that mean nothing to me and instead focus on a niche aspect that is genuinely interesting. You don’t like something in an arts degree, you don’t understand something? Great – just move on until you find something you do like and understand. I fear there isn’t this much room for manoeuvre in a BSc. You may not like binomial expansion, but you’re still going to have to do it.

If any BSc student now feels the need to say ‘life isn’t like that, you can’t pick and choose’ or ‘you won’t have that much sleep in the real world’ – we know. We aren’t trapped in a BA bubble, totally unprepared for ‘real life’. But why not milk it while I still can? In fact, good point: in ten years’ time, I almost definitely won’t be able to stay out til 3am on a Tuesday night, come home, sleep til midday, then maybe do some reading in bed and have that count as ‘work’. Of course I’m going to live like that for as long as humanly possible because, well, why not?

I’m not trying to ‘betray’ BAs, but rather express my love for them. Why is an easier degree seen as such a bad thing? I get to take long naps. I get to read interesting books. I get the choice of any week night to go out. English is challenging at times, yes, I can’t pretend that ‘Spectres of Marx’ made any sense to me – but BSc degrees can win the ‘more difficult’ competition as far as I’m concerned. Maybe they are harder; but you should choose your degree based on what you love, and I love my degree partly because, in all honesty, it’s not that difficult.