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Image courtesy of Stanford University
Going to university has recently become a normal stage in life. Throughout school it is encouraged to go. However, the majority of subjects that are mentioned are the traditional degrees such as English, maths and the sciences. So what about the more creative or ‘less’ traditional subjects? Are they ‘easy’ degrees?
For previous generations, university was for specific careers, such as a doctor or a teacher. It was not an accessible route for everyone to take. The Office for National Statistics compared data from March to May 1992 and May to July 2016; this showed a large increase of people aged 18-24 in full time education. In 1992 there was 984,000 in further full-time education compared to the 1.87 million in 2016. The Department for Education released a chart in September 2019 showing the participation rates in further education; the academic year 2017/18 reached 50.2% compared to 2006/07 which was 41.8%.
This shows a lot of people going to university, studying a wide range of degrees. So, why is there still the stigma of some subjects being more important or harder than subjects like drama, photography and media?
As a media studies student, I have had the comments of “oh, not a real subject then” or “how can you study media?” There’s a lot more that go into these non-traditional subjects then you might think. In fact it shocked me. There’s more independent work to be done, weekly assignments, exams in the summer and, like all subjects, reading. The university also has different editing software that the students are not used to and can’t practise at home because of how expensive it is. It’s hard having to readjust to new equipment and software in only one term, in order to produce the best work we can, especially when we have to create a 5-minute video essay in a week barely knowing how to use it.
I feel like anyone who took a gap year, like myself, will agree that going back to education is not easy. Getting back into that learning mindset and having deadlines is a shock. This is another way that all degrees are hard, only understandable if you have been through it.
When I spoke to someone about this topic, he said “degrees are not designed to be easy”. That really stuck with me; if they were easy everyone would do it and you wouldn’t be learning anything new. However, if it is easy that probably means you’re enjoying it and you’re open to new challenges to get the most out of the degree. Also, it depends on the type of person you are, assignments could be easy and exams hard or the other way around.
I can’t speak for every subject, but there really isn’t such a thing as an easy degree. Your degree is what you make of it. Some aspects might be familiar or ‘easy’ but other parts will be hard. Those three years at university are such short amount of time and it’s most likely going to be a rollercoaster of a ride for all students in all subjects.