On my degree and why I don’t feel guilty about neglecting it sometimes

Sunday 17th April, 2011

It feels good to be returning to English soil – appropriately on the day of Manchester’s St George’s Day Parade. The Latitude Symphony Orchestra’s debut last night was a success, I’m proud – and relieved – to say, with a very convincing performance and a healthy audience. But now it’s time to get on with my life.

I’m glad that for a change I’ve got time to actually think about and plan my next two coursework deadlines, rather than throwing myself into them head-first days/hours before they’re due. While arts students are often accused of studying a ‘soft subject’, given our relatively small amount of contact time compared with other subjects, in reality we seem to have incredibly long days spent working towards our extra-curricular commitments, in societies and beyond. Having toiled for the best part of 12 hours, we finally get back to our bedrooms and start work on that essay for tomorrow.

Is it worth it? Yes, by far; and I don’t mean in the ‘spiritually rewarding’ sense. I mean that when it comes to getting a job in the Arts, I’ve been told many times that experience beats academic prowess every time. Recruiters want to know that I can pull an orchestra together from scratch and put on a concert in Glasgow, not so much that I know my way around a Bach chorale. That’s not to say that I don’t work hard on my degree – I’m just as keen to get a First as the average microbiologist or chemical engineer. My point, though, is that grades alone won’t ruin my career, and they won’t make it either.

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