Disclaimer: I study English…
1. Not all of us want to be teachers.
It’s great for the ones who do! Aston offers English Language as a single-honors degree, and as a combination with a range of subjects from languages, to sociology, politics, business, etc. – but it isn’t the calling for all of us! And we get asked “do you want to be a teacher” after every “what do you study at uni?”
2. It is not literature. It’s Language and Linguistics.
If I had a quid for every “so you do Shakespeare, and read books?” that I get in a week, I’d be able to afford to do my weekly shop at campus Tesco. Literature is great, if you like that, with lots of classics and abstract analysis of an authors’ mindset. But we do linguistics – raw language, placed into lots of different contexts. I mean, you could do both if you wanted to! But we’ll stick to what we know!
3. There is a lot of reading and essays – the struggle is real.
Our lovely friends over in the Aston Business School and School of Life & Health Sciences at Aston tell us how they couldn’t do a series of essays like we can. Don’t get us wrong, we wouldn’t be the best at conducting a science practical or hosting a business meeting knowing only what we know from our course content… But, our degree is made up of many assignments. Except for the odd exam or assessed class test, it’s all in-depth independent research, multiple thousand-word essays and large weekly readings.
4. We study some fascinating topics throughout the course.
Take out the boring / compulsory things we are forced to do (such as a whole module on what’s basically writing an essay), we’ve covered some fascinating topics. Computer-mediated communication taught us to blend technology and language use (many essays were done on dating apps and internet trolls), language as evidence (how law / police cases use language to find evidence and prosecute – with lots of graphic stories!), and language and identity (with topics such as media coverage for transgender, Muslim and BAME people covered in class).
5. English grads have explored amazing roles after graduating.
Kudos to the few who want to be teachers – here or abroad. But our English Language lot have also gone on to be speech therapists, forensic analysts (language and crime / evidence / prosecution) – as well as land roles in marketing, publishing and media creation.