First Day of School

Today I attended my first course. We don't have class, here, we take courses. Actually, I went to two different lectures. First, the Introduction to the Third-Year English Honours (note the ou). I learned that, at the University of Edinburgh, your English Honours degree is structured like this, assuming you aren't doing double honours, which would add another major-like set of courses:

First Year--English Literature 1 + 2 outside courses like French 1 or Celtic Civilization or even Chemistry. Anything you like. These students are known as "Freshers."

Second Year--English Literature 2 + 2 outside courses.

Third Year--Core Period course. First, something pre-1600. The following semester, a more recent period. Everyone must choose one. I think there are four or something.
Option course. These are seminars that meet once a week. They are more specialized. I am taking one, which is why I went to this lecture.
Process of something or other course. I stopped listening here. They all have to take the same one, it's presenting skills or I don't know. It sounded boring but probably useful in the long run.
Dissertation. They begin work on this in the third year and continue until the end of the fourth year.

Fourth Year--Identical to the third year only harder and more focused, I gather. I'm not sure exactly.

Really interesting thing I learned: in the UK, you get a more specialized degree. So when you graduate, you're super-qualified in that area. At this lecture, the careers services woman came to say that the only career for which an English degree is necessary is secondary school teaching. I had to leave before she explained what else you could use the degree for, but I left feeling good that in the US people care less what your degree was. However, there are tons of English majors so there must be tons of careers here for English majors. At any rate, I'm a fan of the liberal arts system, especially if I can take a year off from it.

Now, the only course I actually attended was Celtic Literature 2. I've been going back and forth about this course. In fact, this weekend, I decided to switch out of it into a class about Tolstoy's Russia. However, that's a history seminar and I'm more into lit. So I decided to go to the first day. The professors were so enthusiastic and the course was so small that I decided to stay put for this semester anyway. I figure I'll read War and Peace at some point, but if I don't study at one of the only Celtic Studies departments in the world, I'll never read medieval Irish and Welsh prose and poetry. I know nothing about it, but why not? Finding a good professor is often more important than what the course is about.

On Thursday, I will return to Celtic Lit. Then, I will attend French 2. I will not attend Celtic Revivals, my English seminar, unless it is rescheduled. It was supposed to be on Monday, but this Monday Edinburgh has a holiday. For no reason I can find out. It just was. To improve morale or something. Maybe to give us one more day to go outside while it's 60 and not 30 degrees (F, I haven't got the hang of Celcius yet).

I will keep you updated on the progress of my studies. In the meantime, I'm reading some Yeats and Joyce to get ahead of my syllabi. Because I am a geek.


Anonymous Tamar said...

Hi Anne-Marie,

It's your fellow Writing Fellow. =) I remembered you telling me over the summer (over HEOP!) that you were going to Scotland. I've had this endless fascination with Scotland, Wales, Ireland--hell, the entire UK--for as long as I can remember. So, as you can imagine, I'm *very much* enjoying your blog. Hope all is well!


10:46 AM  

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