Reading this article in The Guardian of someone defending their University subject (media studies/media and communications): http://www.theguardian.com/education/mortarboard/2014/feb/03/why-study-media-studies-students I was reminded of the countless times I had to defend my interest and eventual degree in Sociology, to other people.
It’s interesting that, even before University people try and place subjects in a hierarchy. It’s usually based on what subjects are accepted by Universities but I don’t think that it makes “softer subjects” (non science and maths related) any less valuable. I remember in sixth form (college) how people used to say “Well Psychology is better than Sociology as it involves science and experiments and works with the brain” funny how when I asked them “OK, so what is Sociology about?” they couldn’t answer. When I got to University people had completely different views and were saying Psychology was the joke among subjects, which I found startling!
Speaking to a few of them (both inside and outside of work) it would seem university students compare themselves to their peers despite the fact they aren’t being compared to them in their assessments. A “mark scheme” mentality seems to be in place which appears to be due to the way in which students are used to being measured, graded or assessed before they come to university. They don’t seem to take into account the fact that no one knows who has written their assignment/exam and staff don’t have the time to hold one paper up against another and especially in more subjective degree programmes it is much more open to interpretation.
I think if students spent less time trying to point score on other subjects and more time on trying to make the most of their time at University i.e. joining societies (AND ACTUALLY ENGAGING IN THEM) getting involved with student enterprise and volunteering (and I mean REALLY doing it not just putting it on your CV) they would find themselves better prepared for the work place and more rounded as a person.
Although everyone should work hard to do their best in their degree, when it comes to finding a job there is much more chance or luck in the process. You could brag about all your 1st(70% and above) and 2:1s(60%-69%) in your assessments but when it comes to sitting in an interview how much are you going to be able to say about your soft skills? If you study Chemistry, Accounting, or Maths and think that quantitative degree puts you in a better position and don’t have any practical experience how are you going to look compared to your peers who have done a placement or internship? If you think your 2:1 from a Russell Group university is going to “speak for itself” then I am sorry but you may find yourself disappointed (I feel as though this is something I have been saying a lot so apologies if this is repetition)
So I implore you, don’t go shouting about how well you’ve done in this exam or that assessment and don’t try and act superior over people who do a degree you don’t have interest or respect in (that includes making sweeping generalisations) because when you leave university after graduating everyone is in the same melting pot and you have to do your best to stand out no matter what your background. All anyone can do is be proactive while at university, cultivate work experience and skills and make the leap into adulthood along with everyone else.
Saying all this, who knew you could take a degree including studying Beyonce now? http://uk.lifestyle.yahoo.com/american-university-introduces-beyonce-course-gender-studies-degree-141000085.html
Possibly more on all of this later if I get round to posting about making comparisons with other people post-graduation…