How to survive an alternative degree

How to survive an alternative degree

If you take an alternative degree (like creative writing) you’re partly challenging yourself to follow the dream and partly acknowledging you’re keeping your career options open. Diligence makes its mark on any degree you choose to go with in the end…

When I started university a year ago, I met a huge variety of people but noticed those taking less popular modules were considered more eccentric. I take creative writing at uni and my course is full of open minded, colourful, weird and wonderful characters. Living in halls was an interesting experience; I shared a flat with four girls taking psychology, nursing, occupational therapy and business and economics. I was said to be the ‘crazy’ one and I quite liked it that way, but I didn’t quite like that being on an alternative course was used to explain this.

Automatically people tend to put down subjects such mine because it doesn’t require any helpful or difficult skills. People taking subjects in the arts and design area especially I noticed are put down and told they’re not taking a real subject. It’s hard to be told something like this. I’m very passionate about my course despite the stereotypes that come with it, and I don’t appreciate being told I don’t work my ass off.

On a creative writing degree no one can tell you how to write just as you can’t tell someone how to understand, say, maths. I believe all courses require a certain talent, and writing is one that can’t be learned by reading a text book. My course doesn’t have exams, no, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. I am constantly required to invent new things again, again, again, do it now. What if you have writer’s block? They don’t care, because you have deadlines and need to overcome them. It’s not a case of memorising notes. See what I’m getting at?

I’m not putting down other degrees. Because I sure as hell can’t do maths, and A Level psychology mentally drained me and turned me into a shaking mess. So please don’t think I am saying my course is harder than yours. It’s not. But take into consideration that the writers, the artists, the photographers, the musicians (and so on) may see their qualification different to you.

I am not on my course for the degree. The plus side to it is it’s not specific such as a nursing degree. I have no idea what to do once I finish and have my diploma. I decided to take writing at uni for all the experience. I wanted to meet new people like me and know what it was like to get graded on my words. Will I ever produce novels known worldwide? Probably not. But it’s worth a shot.

Ignore the stereotypes. Ignore the ‘fake diploma’ and ‘no future path’ arguments. Your degree’s for you, not them. Be proud of what you can do. Everyone’s good at something.

So, you want to take an alternative course? Do it. You won’t regret it.