For joint honours students, there are two myths you will hear from your fellow students: you’re either doing double the work or you’re doing barely any of the work for two subjects. As a third year English and History student, I can promise you neither are true.
Joint Honours degrees are both intertwined and well-balanced. So for those freaking out about having to read the entire works of Shakespeare followed by the entire written history of the Spanish Civil War, I hope your minds are now at ease. Here is a day in the life of an English and History student at York, from morning until evening.
Now here is where I break some bad news. For those hoping to wake up in the PM, that isn’t going to work. Although 9AM starts aren’t mandatory (unless you have a lecture or seminar, then OF COURSE THEY ARE), they are strongly advised for a joint honours student who both wants to get the most out of their degree AND get their work finished so they can enjoy their day.
A typical morning could be anything from a lecture on the Cold War followed by reading two chapters of a text with notes, to losing most of your morning overanalysing the peculiar titles given to ALDI-brand cereals (I mean what is a ‘wheat bisk’!?). You’ll soon start to notice that, whether you’re physically working or not, the mind of an English or History student never really switches off.
For first year, if you don’t have any early contact hours, you’re best finding a balance between getting a head start on your day’s work and being social with both your flatmates and people from your course. Trust me, seminars are so much easier when you’re not blindly guessing everyone’s name.
For the afternoon, this is a chance to take advantage of York’s brilliant contact hours and out-of-hours service. Whether you need to ask your lecturer about a certain point they made on your chosen text, participate in a lively debate with your fellow students on the ethics of Winston Churchill and Clement Attlee in a 90 minute or 2 hour seminar or even just fancy discussing Shakespeare’s worst character (it’s either Romeo or Helena by the way), the University staff are more than happy to accommodate. Both the English and History staff are some of the finest in the country. They make sure that the money and hard work that goes into getting into the University of York doesn’t go to waste.
Also, there are dozens of societies and activities open to all students to occupy your afternoon gaps. From joining your college’s sports team to a society dedicated entirely to Taylor Swift (seriously) and everything in between.
During your time at University, you will probably find that your evenings are mostly left to fill for yourself. Since most lectures and office hours finish at 6PM, any questions to teaching staff can either be done over email or will have to wait.
Evenings are sometimes the best time to get your work done. Like I said, English and History students never switch off. So before you take advantage of York’s fantastic and quite frankly heavily underrated nightlife, its best to use that brain of yours. This can be anything from taking a trip to the always-open JB Morrell library and getting out some useful texts or simply sitting down in your room and preparing yourself for your next lot of lectures and seminars. If I can give you one tip for this course, it’s BE PREPARED.
For those wanting to enjoy their evening, whilst mingling with like-minded people, course-related socials are the way to go. If you fancy having a drink with other budding historians dressed as a Viking, then History Society could be just what you need. Or maybe going to regular events to discuss or meet with fellow Literature enthusiasts is more your thing, in which case the Literature Society will welcome you with open arms. Occasions like these may take you around campus, as well as to some of York’s best and oldest pubs and its lively clubs, of which I heartily recommend Salvation for a great night. Alongside regular social events, History and English also host regular gatherings and drinks receptions, particularly at the beginning of term. These can be a great way to relax after a long day of lectures and meet some great people.