Nina Slater, second-year English Language and Literature BA
"It’s definitely made me more confident and taught me how to articulate my ideas."
What made you choose English Language and Literature?
"It was the breadth of the course and how there were so many different avenues with it. A lot of other courses I looked at were like ‘This is literature, this is language’, whereas this course mixed them.
I have always loved literature, but I think doing the combined literature/language A level made me realise I really like language as well. I liked them both equally, so didn’t want to choose between them."
What are the main skills you’ve gained so far?
"Academically, essay writing and reading critically. But I feel like, sort of more importantly, there’s confidence. It’s definitely made me more confident and taught me how to articulate my ideas. I feel like at A level I wasn’t good at explaining my ideas, but now I can fully articulate an argument in a more confident way."
What’s been your favourite module?
"Probably one I’m doing at the moment, called Language and Society.
I’ve found that the sociolinguistic side is something I’m really interested in and something I’m actually going to do my dissertation on!
So much is analysing really structured English, but with this module it’s more everyday things that you don’t think about. There’s actually so much to say about those little interactions. I really liked that.
We did about advertising discourse and from that stemmed my ideas for my dissertation. I never would have thought about the kind of subtleties in advertising before doing this module."
How have you approached choosing your optional modules?
"There’s definitely an element of sticking to what you know and what you know you like, but I think it’s important to choose modules that are a bit out of your comfort zone.
I chose Language Development which is very kind of 'science-y', and normally science is not my strong point at all. But I thought it’s important to know all the sides of English, and how we are able to speak it, so I think it is important to go out of your comfort zone a bit with modules."
Any staff shout-outs?
"Kevin Harvey, who does the Language and Society module, is really good. He’s always attentive to any questions I have and he’s been really helpful with planning my essays and ideas for my dissertation."
Are you part of any societies?
"Last year I was in the Animal Rights Society and the Current Affairs Society as well, with was really good. I really enjoyed keeping up to date in what was happening in the news each week. It was really interesting. For me, I saw the societies as a social thing to do outside of my subject."
Do you know what career you'd like to go into yet?
"I’m thinking of possibly doing a law conversion. But I’m not entirely sure. Possibly journalism. I don’t have any strong ideas at the moment. One of the reasons I chose English is as there are so many jobs you can go into with it."
Because I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I started uni, I thought at least with English there’s all these different avenues that will open.
Any tips or advice for those considering English?
"Be prepared for the reading! The amount of reading is quite intense. I did find it manageable, though. Some of the literature modules, where it’s a book a week to read, can be quite a jump from A level, but you do adjust to it pretty quickly. And the transition of workload from first to second year felt like the reading is gradually increased."
What does 'success' look like to you?
"For me, it's balance. I feel successful when my academic stuff is sorted, my mental health and looking after myself, and also my social life. That's when I have a successful balance."