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Why do all English Literature students wear berets? Discuss in 1000 words.


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Throughout today you’ve probably put at least one person into some kind of category, based on what you see. You yourself have more than likely been shoved into a fixed form by another, based on what they see. It doesn’t matter how often a debate sparks about stereotypes, it constantly happens. Even if you regard yourself as an open person, first impressions always count.

Monday morning, fresher’s week was over. My flatmate and I stumbled into our first ever English literature lecture, with permanent marker still on our heads we were practically dead after six days drinking and around three hours sleep.

Our eyes were forced opened by the array of colour and sparkling in the room. Turns out everyone was wearing ridiculous sequinned hats and pointless oversized jewellery.

Squashed between two fur coats we have never felt more out of place. As far as we could see everyone in there (90% female may I add, how disappointing) were sporting some kind of vintage clothing and a leather note book. We were surrounded by the typical English lit student.

You have the bohemian lit student, a common variety. They care a lot about their habitat, proven (after observation) to insistence on riding a bike onto campus, generally with a basket on the front. They’re normally quite easy to spot, in their bright maxi skirts and hippie scarves and hats, standing out against the boring business students.

Then there is the intellectual species; these either spend all of their spare time reading and re-reading texts or have an exceptional ability to remember everything that is said, ever. Grave faced and serious they are all about the work. A book means nothing unless it can be related to another work by Shakespeare or Tennyson. Their ability to cross reference books is outstanding. But, at times, it does make you want to hit them across the face with a tacky OK magazine. Of course, they would never be seen dead reading one of those.

Then there is the Argumentative, dare one of you try and brave making a point against the argumentative species, you will be shot down and it’ll get personal for the rest of a seminar. If looks could kill. Don’t bother trying to make a point again for the rest of the session, because the argumentative species will definitely be looking for an excuse to K.O your literature skills, followed by an affirmative nod and smug smile towards the tutor.

And finally you have the Quiet. These appear very shy and to have a lack in confidence. Do not be deceived. These are the dark horses of the class and if you steal a glance at their returned and marked essay you’ll notice they’re always achieving around 90 million percent better than you are. Hint for avoiding feeling rubbish about your work; find out in advance what question the quiet one has chosen and avoid at all costs.

Of course the above is exaggerated and we know that all subjects at university are full of various different people, all shapes, sizes, styles and of course, species.

As literature students ourselves, we have often been on the end of these misconceptions. It is often implied that those of us who study things such as Literature and Theatre are too ‘arty’, too expressive in the way we dress and far too annoying. Likewise it is often implied that those who study maths and sciences are boring and have most probably never seen the inside of sugarhouse.

But of course is their actually anything wrong with expressing yourself? Not at all, if you can’t do it when you’re young, when can you. Or is their anything wrong with taking pride in your work? Once again, not at all, you will most likely be rewarded for your hard work with a great degree. Is it not a good thing to avoid being the same as everyone else? We all know how boring life would be if this was the case.

But, there’s probably no point in trying to be less judgemental now. Everybody stop going all Lady Gaga on us and for goodness sake tone it down.

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