Devraj Jheet, second-year English and History BA
Devraj is a second-year English and History student. He talks about the key skills he's gained, and what he's most enjoying about his course.
What made you choose your course?
"I didn’t know you could do a joint honours degree in English and history. I’ve always liked doing English in particular, but during my A levels one day I’d like English better and then another day I’d like history better! So when I found that you could do both, as a joint honours, it was ideal. It also felt like, doing a joint honours, there’s a bigger pool of jobs available at the end."
What skills have you gained from your course so far?
"I’d say debate and discussion. It urges you to step outside your comfort zone a bit more. Also research skills. I think my research ability has doubled!"
You have to go into depth when researching and creating your essays, and that’s definitely a skill that can help me going forward.
How did you choose your optional modules?
"This year, I was looking through the module spec sheet and was looking at the weighting of the coursework versus exams. I also chose not to carry forward the older history and more medieval English options, as I wanted to keep more in the present, which is the area I do best in."
Do you have a favourite module?
"'Modern and Contemporary Literature', which was with Andrew Harrison. It was really good. There was a load of really good books to read, and I enjoyed researching them as well.
Each time I’d go to a seminar, there’d just be a really enriching discussion about a new book. It felt a bit like a book club!
The discussions flowed really well and everything was worth noting down. You can take it forward for more research and it was nice because the sessions weren’t pressured, but they still had direction."
Do you know what your dissertation is going to be on?
"I’d like to perhaps do something on British Asian representation in modern books. With the multiculturalism you get in England today, there’s always a debate about how much, proportionally, British Asians are represented in media and books. I think it throws up a debate about, would you rather be badly represented, or not represented at all. I think that’s something that deserves a bit of inquest.
Or there are more positive ideas like, even as a teen growing up, there were authors like Bali Rai, who wrote about Asian stigmas and taboos like arranged marriage and honour killings. That was a good representation to have."
The School of English is your lead department. What’s the staff support been like?
"I had Jem Bloomfield last year and I just remember he was intensely smart! He delivers a high standard of teaching and you need to push yourself and meet it. That’s a good thing to have.
Then, all the staff who teach on the drama side are really good. Sarah Grandage is really nice. We had a workshop last year with her, and everything felt like a good discussion."
I did a really good module with Chris Collins, called 'Twentieth-Century Plays'. We were a very diverse class, with a range of experiences, but he always created a safe environment for discussion, which was nice.
What are your career aspirations?
"It changes every day! I do like doing my journalism. I think I’m a good conversationalist too, so dream-wise, maybe being a media presence, breaking down news and breaking down topics, that kind of thing.
I feel like the English side of my course could really supplement something like business or media. Maybe marketing, or something that involves organising, strategizing, getting feedback and taking it forward."