You Call it B.S, I Call it BA

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed belong to our diverse range of talented writers, and don’t represent the views of Wessex Scene as a whole.

Whether you are learning to save lives, be the next Stephen Hawking, find a renewable clean energy source or simply meming your way through university, it cannot be ignored that there is a clear divide on which type of degree is ‘superior’. The BSc versus the BEng, the MB versus the BS, yet the BA seems to rank the least useful in this lineup. Why?

Whilst the Government gives a lowdown on the non-monetary benefits of obtaining a degree, research suggests that:

– Graduates enjoy higher quality jobs than non-graduates.
– Graduates enjoy better health outcomes, by being less likely to smoke, more likely to exercise, and less prone to depression.
– Graduates’ children also benefit from the educational success of their parents: graduates tend to have a greater involvement with their child’s education.
– Graduates are more influential in the community, by being active citizens who are more likely to vote and participate in voluntary activities.
– Graduates show positive attitudes towards diversity and equal opportunities, such as on race and gender equality issues.
– Graduates, with their higher levels of skill, are a source of wider innovation and economic growth, illustrating that there should be no divide in the Bachelor degrees.

People may see language degrees as pointless, or even English and History degrees for that matter, yet they are just as important as any other as without them, society would cease to exist… Well, maybe not quite, but we would most likely regress.

History teaches us about political, scientific and social failures which will inform us and future generations on how to make the world a better place. Likewise, History students can analyse and spot warning signs about these failures even before the rest of us could. Maybe these students are secretly superheroes with a sixth sense? Anyway, the point here is that BA History teaches a lot about the past world and informs the current one, so potentially these students could go on to be very important people in politics, or teachers or historians – the world is their oyster.

Bonjour! Mon petit croissant… oops, I’m a little rusty with my French! For many, the dread of being forced to learn a language has put us off from indulging in other nation’s vernaculars, but do you not think it is cool to speak in a different tongue? The government made it mandatory for pupils in secondary school to learn a language as it is a skill which (let’s be honest) the British lack. According to a survey published by the European Commission, ‘the British are officially the worst language learners in Europe… [as]62% of people surveyed can’t speak any other language apart from English, 38% of Britons speak at least one foreign language, 18% speak two and only 6% of the population speak three or more’… no wonder we have a bad reputation for being ignorant abroad. It is statistically proven that learning a language while you are young is easier, but it should not mean that we stop attempting to learn them as we grow older. It is hard, no doubt about that, but we must give credit to BA Modern Foreign Language students who tackle a degree that requires a different set of skills to the rest of us. Like History students, they have an endless possibility of job prospectuses after their degree and they should be proud of their achievements.

Just because people study English, it does not mean that they all wish to pursue a career as authors, teachers or journalists – please stop stereotyping them. Whilst English students learn critical and analytical skills, they also are immersed in our history, as well as branching into other subjects such as Modern Languages, Psychology, History, Politics etc. It is not as ‘basic’ as you may think. This degree does give students a lot of ‘free’ time, but it requires a lot of independent reading as well as needing the self-discipline to meet deadlines, research wisely and organise your time – something which many struggle with. Furthermore, many believe that English students receive a lot of guidance on how to write essays, but surprisingly, they do not… all students are in the same boat (that is if this boat was the Titanic).

Do you not appreciate literature? Or film? Or art? Or the ability to converse in multiple languages? Whilst these are but a few of the BA degrees, they help shape our lives daily. Without these degrees, we would not be able to engage with different cultures, or engage with our own – we would not be able to relate to one another or communicate. Other Bachelor degrees may be more practical in some respect and we wholeheartedly have respect for those that undertake them, yet BAs teach analytical skills and alternative practical skills.

At last, I leave you with this: ‘medicine, law, business, engineering: these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love… these are what we stay alive for’ – Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society (1989).

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From: Essex Studying: English Year of study: 1 Wish I could be travelling, but I'm here!

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