When I first chose to study English at Trinity I encountered the question almost every humanities student will face ‘what are you going to do with that?’ It’s a fair question to ask, although it can get a bit wearing when it is asked for the seventh time at a family gathering. Taking it at face-value it does appear a little ludicrous to spend four years studying a subject which doesn’t lead directly to a job, however I believe that there is so much more to your degree than the job it leads you to.
Studying English has introduced me to concepts and ideas I would probably never have encountered, and our class discussions have ranged through issues of history, politics, religion and ethics. Tutorials have taught me how to argue my case persuasively, whilst remaining open to the ideas of others, skills invaluable for a whole range of professions. It may seem somewhat of a cliche, but English degrees really do teach you how to write. Since starting my course, my writing style has developed to the point where I can easily freelance for websites and my local paper. Although these skills may seem basic, they are cornerstones for a whole range of professions.
However it is not for these reasons that I know I made the right choice in my degree. Ever since I was able to read A. A. Milne and Enid Blyton I have been fascinated by literature, and the way in which it is created. When I was looking into universities, Trinity’s English department jumped out at me not only for its international ranking, but also due to the dynamic academics which filled it. My course has allowed me to travel to Canada on exchange, and has helped me secure internships and writing jobs.
Although I love my course, my memories of Trinity go far beyond my studies. So far, during my time here, I have been involved in a number of societies and tried out various aspects of Trinity life (including acting with Players, and making the most of the sports centre’s facilities). Entering my final year I now have friends from all over Ireland, and consider Dublin a second home.
If you’re trying to decide what to study at university, I would say follow your gut. If, like me, you want to do a course for the love of it then go for it! A humanities degree can be a way of keeping your career options more open, and you can use internships and placements to focus in on a specific sector. Ultimately it’s four years of your life, and you’re more likely to do well if you are passionate about your subject. So pick the course that makes you excited to go to college and, trust me, you won’t regret your decision.
Jess is an Ambassador in the Global Room about to enter her final year at Trinity studying Single Honors English.