My Experience Studying English Literature and Language
Written by Hannah Wyngard – English Literature and English Language Student
Studying English Literature at the University of Manchester is both challenging and rewarding. I personally feel this course pushes me to my full potential, allowing me to learn new techniques and strategies with every module. One particular strategy that I’ve had to develop is my time management. Due to my course being combined between English Literature and English Language, this means I’ve mostly had two literature and one language module per semester. For each literature module you’ll be expected to read anything from a full novel, to several articles per week. Trying to find time to successfully finish all of my assigned reading was initially really tricky for me. However, I soon found that once I managed my time effectively, allowing set hours for reading specific texts, I found it much easier to get this done.
Also useful for me in completing my reading goals was utilising the campus facilities. In between lectures and seminars, you can find yourself with a few hours to fill, and I use this time to head to the library. I find the library to be a great space to get, not only my reading, but also any essays done, as it’s a quiet place that forces me to concentrate. You’ll often be surprised at how much work you’ve managed to get done if you visit the library a few times a week and get away from all distractions! By using my time on campus as best as I can, this means I don’t have to spend all of my weekends shut in my room flicking through books.
I’m in my second year of the course now and I’m always surprised about how much my reading speed has developed. At the beginning of the course, the thought of finishing a 500 page book in one week was unthinkable to me! However, with the experience I have now of reading all sorts of texts, expanding the vocabulary I’m familiar with, and strengthening my ability to recognize the important details in any form of literature, this has allowed me to be able to quickly get through books in time for my seminars.
Seminars are a great way to discuss any content you’ve been taught in lectures, or raise any questions you might have about the material. I’ve found that by being able to communicate with other students and discuss our ideas as a group, my understanding of the modules has strengthened more than it ever would have done if I’d thought it through just by myself! My seminar tutors have always been understanding if there’s something that I’m struggling with, and been able to offer me further clarification. It’s definitely worth taking lots of notes during both your lectures and seminars, that you can refer back to when planning your essays and assignments.
Overall, my experience so far of studying English Literature has been really interesting. I’ve become much more independent in being able to do my own research and meet my deadlines. I’ve also become lots more confident in my writing abilities, and it’s a great way to begin to find your own unique voice as a writer!