10 things I learnt in the second year of my English degree

  1. Spending time with yourself is good. Not the suffering-in-the-library kind of spending time with yourself or the moping-in-bed-rewatching-PeepShow kind of spending time with yourself. Like, dating yourself kind of shit. Take yourself out for coffee, take yourself for a romantic walk along the river, take yourself to the cinema. Be nice to yourself. Time spent alone when you’re at university generally has negative and lonely connotations, but it doesn’t have to.
  2. Use the library. You are essentially paying £9k per year to use the library, so maybe, I don’t know, use it. You are literally doing a degree in books. Why haven’t you been using it.
  3. Get involved with stuff. Write the thing. Go to the thing. It’s not easy, but just do it. Do the thing. If nothing else, please just write the thing.
  4. Tupperware is your friend. Batch cooking is the only way forward. You’ll be eating the same veggie chilli until you graduate.
  5. You still need to moisturise your face even though it’s oily. Writing essays about seventeenth century revenge tragedies will cause you to break out anyway, but you can still moisturise and have nice skin for a few days of fragile bliss. At one point, you will make it to approximately four consecutive days of nice skin. Never give up.
  6. Anything pre-eighteenth century is not for you. Yeah, those seventeenth century revenge tragedies? Stress-induced bad skin is pretty much all you get out of that. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad English student. It doesn’t mean you’re stupid. The essay grade? Perhaps. The actual non-enjoyment of the topic? No.
  7. Going home isn’t the worst thing in the world. Life is not going to collapse at your feet if you leave the uni bubble. Everything will still be intact when you get back. Take a break, sell your kidney so you can afford a train ticket, and go home and give your dog a hug.
  8. Imposter syndrome gets easier to quash. It’s still there, but you’re pals now. Kind of. And like any good pal, you can tell it to “shut the fuck up” occasionally.
  9. Carly Rae Jepsen’s seminal 2015 album E•MO•TION is a pop masterpiece. Sad? Listen to E•MO•TION. Stressed? Listen to E•MO•TION. Happy? Listen to E•MO•TION. Hungry? Make toast. Then listen to E•MO•TION.
  10. Sometimes, it’s not you. Sometimes, academics are truly just chatting shit.

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