Starting my English and Politics degree
Before I began studying BA English/Politics at the University of York, I was apprehensive. I wondered about the balance between each subject, and the social possibilities when studying two courses. Yet even through the lockdowns in my first year, I found both subjects offered a wide variety of socials, events and opportunities to grow knowledge on important topics. Now I feel settled within both subjects, supported by friends, and relieved that my pre-uni nerves were almost instantly gone.
I moved to York in 2020, after a chaotic summer of lockdowns and social distancing. I was apprehensive but excited to begin my university journey. There’s a great Politics community at York, so I was keen to get involved, make some friends and learn something new.
Looking at the weekly newsletter, I decided to attend my first ‘Cheese and Wine Evening’ held by the Politics Society. I’d definitely recommend attending one of these events. They always have a specialised guest speaker, who can introduce you to so many new topics. My first event was over Zoom due to Covid restrictions, but they’re now in person. They involve plenty of free cheese and wine, of course!
I also got involved with York Vision, the student newspaper. I became the Climate Editor, which gave me experience combining my English and Politics skills. Sustainability and the environment have always been passions of mine, so I really enjoyed being able to explore and write articles. Politics has allowed me to continue this with environment-focused option modules in my second and third years.
There are so many events and socials throughout the year. Last term I attended a documentary screening on Shusenjo: The Main Battleground of the Comfort Women Issue; a Civil Service fast-stream panel; and the English Literature Society book club. There is lots going on, and the combined element of my course means I there’s greater variety.
I have made so many friends through socials and seminars. We often pop for a coffee after a lecture or when we head to the library to study. I was worried that a combined degree would put me at a disadvantage for making friends, but it’s actually widened my opportunities.
My friends are balanced between courses, and you develop a variety of perspectives and knowledge. There is a fairly equal balance between subjects, but your option modules allow you to specialise on either side.
The staff in both subject areas are exceptionally helpful whenever I’m struggling with an essay or theory. If you want a wider perspective, heading to the Wednesday coffee mornings can be an opportunity to meet new people and discuss problems or ideas.
If you’re struggling at university – as I did at first – a departmental Wellbeing Advisor can be a shoulder to lean on. When I visited, they provided advice, support and reassurance. You’ll get to chat to an external person and have a cup of tea.
English and Politics at the University of York are fascinating and exciting subjects, with non-stop events and socials happening all year round. I’ve really enjoyed my time here studying, and feel I will leave wider knowledge, experiences and friendships. There’s plenty of support and guidance, and I have never had a dull moment here. I would highly recommend my course, as the opportunities available are greater than I’ve seen elsewhere.