Last year I wrote a blog post about studying a Cert IV and Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing (You can find that post HERE). That post was written because I wanted to talk about how beneficial the course was for me and to mention that I would be continuing my studying this year with a Bachelor degree. I started my Bachelor, and I have a lot of thoughts on it.
I definitely feel there are pros and cons to studying. It opens your horizons and opportunities, especially for jobs. But it can also be a lot of pressure. HECS debt (Aussie university debt system) is nothing to kid around with. It can be super expensive to study and the debt can loom over your head for years after you have finished. There’s also the pressure to pass and do well, which can become debilitating.
I have now completed one semester (half a year) of my uni degree and to be totally honest, I don’t know if I’ll be going back.
The year so far has been so discouraging. I’ve felt let down by my university experience and I’m not confident that it’s the right place for me to be. I definitely feel that classes on offer haven’t benefited me at all, which is so disappointing because I had such high hopes earlier this year.
For those interested, I took these classes this semester: Australian Writing and Cultural Change, Exploring Iconic Texts, Editing for Writers, and Reading, Writing and Criticism.
These classes all sounded so intriguing but in the end, they were very broad and left me feeling like I never learnt anything. I was so unhappy with the direction most lectures took and found a few of my tutors to be uninspiring, to say the least.
The university community can be a lot more daunting than that of Tafe. I definitely felt overwhelmed on my orientation day at the number of people in my course alone. If you’re serious about meeting people and creating a group for yourself, be willing to be brave. You’re going to have to put yourself out there if you want to make friends. University lectures and tutorials don’t really give you a lot of time to mingle. Clubs are probably a great option if you can find one that suits you. I found it really difficult to meet and connect with people because my classes didn’t cater to it. After my course, where I met a wonderful and inspired group of like-minded people, it really left me dismayed.
Workshopping is easily the most helpful part of writing courses. In my Bachelor course, our workshopping was only done online and this made it super impersonal and hard to connect. The workshopping was also so unhelpful and vague, things like ‘I liked this’ and ‘this was good’. These comments didn’t give feedback or constructive criticism which made it difficult to improve my work.
Personally, this semester has been hard on my mental health and creativity. My writing has been put on hold in place of uni assignments. Lack of creativity and motivation to work has also been a problem. Any spare second I had was given over to unwinding and when I would try to write, everything was stale and unimaginative. It has definitely taken its toll on me.
At this point, my game plan is to return to university until the census date and see if I feel any different about this semester. Giving up is hard. I definitely feel that I am giving up if I don’t continue, but there are pros and cons to the experience of studying and lately, for me, the cons have outweighed. For any writer thinking of studying at university, I would say tread lightly and make sure you do your research. Be really certain about your choice, expect it to be hard and if it isn’t the right place for you, it’s OK to let go. Sometimes we have to jump into the unknown to get where we really are meant to be.