The torment of being an English lit undergrad
You guys just smoke weed and write poetry, yeah?
Undergrads studying things like Sciences, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine have a particularly lazy view of English students.
We are the laughing stock of these logical, scientific and cooly-rational alleged academics.
Well, the English department are sick of your shit. After three years of the same looks, and the same questions, here are the most boring tropes we’re tired of hearing.
‘So you’re going to be a teacher then?’
There’s apparently only three things you can really do with an English degree.
Grow old and jaded, resorting to trying and failing to inspire teenagers who hate you, to go on and study the same thing that left you in this hopeless position.
Get an access level job in whatever and argue in the interview that your English degree has helped you learn vague but important life qualities.
Or you can be a majorly over-qualified librarian and act as guardian to books that everybody except you really hates.
You know what, maybe I will be a damn teacher and teach your kids so I can force them to study English and disappoint you forever.
‘Do you just read books all day?’
Actually no. Studying English kind of makes you hate reading. Usually we’ll buy two of the 10 prescribed novels and then just Schmoop the basic plotlines of the rest.
The more ballsy of us just watch the movie adaptations and hope the director had the sense to use the same ending as the book.
I mean have you actually tried reading Jane Austen?
‘I was going to study English actually! But then I chose a useful degree’
So what you really mean here is that you were good at English, but realised the job prospects at the end didn’t look very bright so instead chose something that pays well.
Well, you’ve saved yourself from the endless abyss of people looking at you like you’ve told them about that new job in McDonalds. Where you’re happy for me but extremely sorry at the same time.
I don’t need your sympathy.
‘I couldn’t do that, I hated poetry at school’
Everybody hated poetry at school. Literally everybody. That’s because schools don’t teach you things like Sylvia Plath and Allen Ginsburg; they don’t want you to see the dark side and have mass suicide on their hands.
Nobody really cares that much about other people’s emotions, but we have to do it. Everybody has crap stuff in their degree and poetry is a hell of a lot more interesting than balance sheets, binary codes and quadratic equations.
‘So do you guys all just get together and write poems?’
Yes, I sit in Starbucks with my extra thin, hipster laptop/tablet hybrid and work on my novellas and poems all day. We all just smoke joints and discuss our feelings at length and how nobody understands us. We’re actually a different breed of human being, thank you for asking.
‘You guys are never in class right? I’m so jealous, I wish I had that much time off’
Yeah, I dedicated four years of my sad little life to this really easy degree that you, Mr Chemical Engineer, could do in your sleep. Please! Time off? Never heard of it.
No we don’t do Monday to Friday 9-5 but that’s because we need time to go home and read novels upon novels upon novels to discuss in class. Don’t look down on me just because I don’t need spoon-fed my entire course.
‘You must love Shakespeare’
Well, if you must know, yes I do. He’s the grandfather of all great literature, how can you not love him? The man invented the word ‘fuck’ for Christ sake!
Romeo and Juliet is the basis of pretty much every perfect love story.She’s the Man with Amanda Bynes and that absolute beauty Channing Tatum was based entirely on Big Will’s Twelfth Night? Disney’s The Lion King is just an adaptation of Hamlet. Bet you didn’t know that huh?
Everyone loves Shakespeare they just don’t know it.
Really, what it boils down to is all literature is about sex in one way or another. If you’re in doubt, it’s probably an innuendo. Or something to do with gender. In this degree, all we truly care about is your genitals and what you do with them.