Hello friends! I hope you’re all well. I know that if you’ve started University this year it might seem like a pretty daunting prospect. But fear not! I have a couple of tips for you to ace your humanities degree.
I studied English and History between 2015 and 2018 – at first, I found the leap between A Level and Degree level really difficult to cope with. I’ve never been someone that’s naturally clever – I’m more of a ‘I’ll research this so much that I look clever’ sort of gal, you know? So putting in the same amount of effort as I did at A Level at University meant I was getting some pretty sub-par grades during first year. But over the course of university I managed to increase my grade from a low 2:2 to a 1st!
So to help out anyone that’s worried about starting their Humanities degree, here’s a couple of tips that I can offer you.
Get To Know Your Tutor’s:
Especially when it comes to writing your dissertation. If your tutor doesn’t know a lot about what you’re writing about, how can they give you the best possible help?
Obviously, your essay is not going to be dramatically marked down if you don’t reference your tutor’s favourite academic. But it doesn’t hurt to mention them. If there’s an academic who’s work is referenced a lot on the course reading list, you should probably be mentioning them.
For example, I put my heart and soul into one essay and got a mark of 69 (nice) – my tutor said she would have raised my grade to a first if I had mentioned a certain academic, but I hadn’t because his work didn’t specialise in what I was writing about. This might be an unfair and extreme example, but it’s just something worth keeping in mind.
Reference, Reference, Reference
Tutors love references! At the very least, it shows you’re putting a lot of effort into your research. At most, your references should be adding weight to your argument. Either way, adding footnotes to your work will make you feel ~fancy~ and super clever.
You Don’t Have to Overwork Yourself
Working an 8 hour shift at the on-campus coffee shop and then going straight to the library to spend hours translating Old Norse into English did nothing but give me a caffeine addiction.
Yes, an overnight study session at the library might seem like a right of passage to University life, but it’s not worth sacrificing your mental health for. If you find yourself running out of time, it might be worth asking your tutor for an extension. They’re people too, so they should understand.
(Although, I will say that the top floor of the Library is likely to be the best to get some research done!)
Take Advantage of Every Resource Your Uni Offers
Especially now, when ‘real-life’ resources are put on hold. There are so many extra online lectures, online journals and books and even job placement resources that your Uni will offer. It’s definitely worth trying to get the most out of your Uni – after all, you’re paying an extortionate amount.
Finally… First Year Is For Fun
And for most courses at least, it doesn’t count towards your final grade. So don’t stress it if you don’t do amazingly in your first year! This should be the time that you’re making friends with lots of different people and learning how to cook literally anything other than pasta.