Two months ago I attended my University Graduation ceremony – a moment that I have been expecting eagerly for the past five years. And even though I officially ended my Bachelor’s studies a year ago with successfully taking my state exam in July 2017, I postponed writing anything on the topic until now. This “time distance” gave me a different perspective and outlook on the things and helped me evaluate truly, what I learnt during those four years. Because my experience in English & American Studies gave me much more than the knowledge of the numerous linguistic peculiarities of the English language, the difference between all the literary periods, and the skill to make well-structured syntactic trees.
For this reason, today I decided to write an “overview” post of my experience in English & American studies. In this way, I will have a reminder of all those things that made me fall in love with my Bachelor’s degree. Therefore, here are the five key takeaways from my English & American studies.
1. It is not enough just to be able to speak, read & write. You also need to think.
I haven’t counted how many times my professors have told me that critical thinking is of paramount importance when it comes to academic writing. But the truth is that the ability to evaluate every piece of information critically is not limited only to writing academic papers. It is the ability that will help you read correctly the news, assess a task from your boss, and learn to do your research by consulting different sources. It is the different perspective that you sometimes need in order to come to the necessary conclusion and decide upon your next steps.
2. What you are doing today should get you closer to where you want to be tomorrow.
The four years studying English & American studies taught me that progress comes with everyday efforts. You are not going to pass the difficult subject by just going to the exam – the journey actually includes one presentation, one term paper, and two tests during the semester. Making small steps every single day will eventually lead you to the desired outcome. Nothing comes as Bing Bang – you need to be persistent and all your efforts should contribute to your final plan. Of course, this plan may need to be changed during the journey but, nevertheless, everything you do today should get you closer to where you want to be tomorrow.
3. People always change.
Studying for the literature component of my state exam proved me one very important thing – people always change and this change is the prerequisite for advancement. It was a cultural roller coaster for me to pass through the different cultural periods – starting from the Medieval English literature and ending to the Post – Modernist American literature. Try doing this in just three-four days and you will be amazed how so many years of cultural and philosophical advancement can be squeezed into the literature of the nation.
4. Get stuff done.
Oh, I have told myself so many times that I need to stop procrastinating and get the stuff done as soon as possible. This is very much connected with the second point above – every successful project comes with small efforts that you make every day. There is no point in procrastinating. The only thing that you will achieve is to try to do everything in the last minute and usually the result will not be the one you have been expecting. And please don’t lie to yourself with thinking that there is time do to everything – at the end of the semester you will have not one project but more like 10 in a single week. This will only create you additional stress.
5. Enjoy your time
The time I spent in university is probably one of my favourite until now. If you are lucky enough to study the subject you like, you will have the time of your life. You get to meet new interesting people and read about the things you are passionate about. Yes, there will be hard times when you will be frustrated because of the unnecessary things you will have as mandatory subjects (like reading Old English texts, for example). However, in the long run these will be insignificant in comparison to all the awesome experiences you will have the chance to enjoy.
So, these are the five key takeaways from my Bachelor’s degree. What have you learned during your year in university? Tell me in the comments section – I will be happy to read all about them.
Talk to you soon.
Photography by Nikola Ivanov
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