Is my degree worth £9000 a year?

On the surface the answer is no.

I have on average 9 hours of contact time a week with tutors or lecturers, and the rest is entirely down to my own self-motivation. Doing English Literature I have a crazy number of books that I have to read per week and the large majority of these I have to pay for myself, so my fees certainly aren’t going towards paying for those.

Yet if you were to ask me if I think my degree is worthwhile, then I would definitely answer yes. I really enjoy doing it and I can tell that my writing skills have already improved even though I’m only in my first year (still a way to go yet though!). I would also say that even the way I think has changed and I can consider ideas more analytically and thoughtfully that I perhaps would have done before. At the end of the day, the purpose of doing my degree was to learn more about a subject I love and to improve my career prospects. If completing my degree means that I can (hopefully!) get a good job at the end of it then it will have been worth the money – you could look at the £27,000 as one year’s salary then from that perspective it doesn’t seem like an unreasonable fee to pay. So perhaps this is really a question for 3 years from now.

The whole experience of university is something you can’t really get from anything else. Living in an unknown city miles away from your family and friends, who have similarly been scattered up the length and breadth of the country is a challenge that I certainly wouldn’t have faced if I’d stayed at home and tried to get a job where I am. And to be honest that would be a highly unlikely reality as I come from a little town in the middle of nowhere that seems more populated by sheep than people, and so the job prospects are pretty much nil, especially for an arts student. There are just so many more opportunites at university that I could never have imagined staying at home, even just being in walking distance from a city centre with shops, cafes, bars and clubs is a novelty! Yes, I’m a proper country bumpkin. My friends often have to remind me of the rules of pedestrian crossings as I tend to walk out into the road without thinking, needless to say I’m not used to the traffic! The friends I have made are brilliant (not least because they save my life on a regular basis) and living with them is so much fun. I have so much more independance than I have at home and I think you have to grow up fast, especially seen as I have to do my own washing now. Although I wouldn’t call myself a fully-fledged adult just yet. I definitely don’t feel old enough to be signing house contracts and sorting out my own bank account, although maybe I never will!!

I seem to have meandered quite off topic and my attempt at writing something serious hasn’t quite worked out. But I think the point of what I was trying to say is that £9000 is ALOT of money and it seems ridiculously unlucky that I am in the first year that has to pay these raised fees, yet I didn’t ever consider doing something else because I believe that a university education is something worthwhile and I knew it was something I wanted to do.

As a final point, can people stop asking me if I want to be an English teacher. Just because I do English does not mean that the only career I could possibly have is in teaching. Just to clarify, I DO NOT want to be a teacher. That is all.


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