Tuesday, 13 December 2016

5 Things Lit Students Should Never Do

NaNo's over and the Christmas holidays are just around the corner. 

(Hopefully, that means that, even with reading and essays, somebody will be able to get back to blogging on a proper schedule.)

Schedule? What's a schedule?

(Schedule. Noun. -)

Sarcasm, Ivy. 

Whether you're new to my blog or not, you're probably aware that I'm a student because -

(She mentions it every other post.)

-  It says so in the header. So, inspired by my own failings as a student and the things that irritate me about other students, here are five things that literature students should never ever do. 

1. Enter a Bookshop

Before you became a literature student, bookshops were your haven, your sanctuary, your home away from home. Now, it is imperative that you do not cross the threshold. The bookshop is no longer your friend. 

If you go into that bookshop, you will...buy a book.

(Horror of horrors.)

The problem begins when you get home and see the ginormous stack you have to work your way through before you can read said book. Reading books for fun during term time requires perfect time management. You do not have perfect time management. There is no such thing as a student with perfect time management. Just give up now and resign yourself to only reading books for fun (as the benevolent sky dragon intended) during the holidays.

2. Underestimate the Pain of Referencing

Three things you should know about referencing sources -
  1. It will take longer to do the referencing than it will to write the actual essay.
  2. Every format is referenced differently. It is embarassingly easy to mistake a journal article for an essay from a book.
  3. Sometimes, it's difficult to know whether you need a source or not. For example, the statement 'Middle class Victorian society was patriarchal and forced men and women to conform to strict gender roles,' is general knowledge, but would still require a source to substantiate it. It doesn't matter if you know you're right, you have to find a source to prove it.
Anybody who goes into a literature essay thinking that the only text they'll have to reference is their primary source is going to need smelling salts. And chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate. Personally, I recommend Malteasers.

3. Think You Can Read a Book in a Day

You have a book that's less than 200 pages. Think The Great Gatsby. Of Mice and Men. Season of Migration to the North. Maybe the books set for your other modules are longer. You've read over 400 pages in a week for one of them, and written the first 2000 words of an essay for another. You go to bed on Saturday night thinking, 'I can get that read tomorrow.' 

Well, I'm here to tell you, no you can't.

You don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. Aliens might invade overnight, the zombie apocalypse could start tomorrow, the key to survival being hidden in the pages of that book you didn't read, or you might have to take your flatmate to the hospital. Sunday is not guaranteed to be free, even if you've gone out of your way to make it so. 

4. Write on a Book You Haven't Read

First of all, of all the books to write on, why the one you haven't read? No, the lectures will not be enough. No, not even with Sparknotes, if you can even find the book on there. A minority of people can miss books, lectures, and seminars, and still pass highly. These people, surprise, surprise, have no friends. 

(Do I detect a hint of bitterness?)

More than a hint. This drives me absolutely batty. I am a minor goddess of bad decisions, but how anyone can think that writing on a book they haven't read is a good idea is beyond me.

Sometimes, books do get skipped. Maybe you were ill, maybe your seminar leader decided to cut it out (yes, it happens), maybe everything got on top of you and you simply decided to give it a miss. It doesn't matter why you skipped it, all that matters is that you pick a book that you did read to write on for your essay. If a book is compulsory for an essay then for the love of God, read it, and read it in plenty of time. Even if you are in that irritating lucky minority, reading the book can only push your mark up even higher.

5. Be the Last One to Go to the Library

If there's an exam to pass or an essay to do, the relevant library books are going to go and go fast. You know this. I know this. We both know that we will still end up going the week before when the only thing left is half a volume on iambic pentameter. 

Thank God for online journals.

Raise your hand if you've ever made one of these mistakes. 

(If you've committed the sin that is number four, you might not want to mention it.)

Do you have anything to add to the list?