Humanitea: Life as a BA student in the Next Couple of Weeks

So, the start of your new academic year is here. Pending covid-restrictions, we might all be back on Leeds’ sunny campus soon, gazing at the beautiful enigma, or monumental task (depending on your persuasion), that is the Roger Stevens building. Equally, if we’re in person this time around, you’ll be at the Great Hall, looking down at your post-night out student ID photo. So where does one start a year as a BA student?

Once you arrive at your hall of residence and have met your seven sciencey flatmates (don’t be alarmed), you will begin to realise you have approximately 0.1% of their scheduled contact time. While they are all bundling away to their lectures at 9am after a night out, you will have plenty of time to synthesise your thoughts and contemplate another argument for that 1,500-word essay that is not as far off as you first thought – simultaneously taking a much needed-nap in the process. 

But the evident scheduling disparity between you and your flatmates is all good – because you have unofficially allotted contact hours. What does that mean, you may ask? Lots of independent study, whereby you extraneously sift through the many books that Brotherton  and Laidlaw have to offer, as well as searching for the elusive holy grail that is your tutor’s office. Equally, if you’re not at one of the libraries reading up on Jstor for a book review or essay, you are definitely about to pick up the ASDA order. Win-win.

This brings me to one of the great many love languages of the Arts student, the library. Get your chilly’s bottle locked and loaded hun, because you’re gonna be in here for the long haul. In terms of choosing your fighter, you may opt for Brotherton, with its art deco aesthetic and silent study vibe. Laidlaw may be on the cards, where the sounds of Café Nero are but a minute away. Or, if you are a social butterfly, Eddy B is the one for you. Either way, you will want to inevitably escape the confines of the library to get a Bakery 164 for lunch. 

The alluring interior of Brotherton Library (Image Credit: University of Leeds)

Your housemates and indeed the rest of uni may try and make fun of your degree prospects. If you’re an Arts student with studio time you can just shove that back in their face. They’re great and no one else has them. However, if the perpetrators take the invasive career planning route, you can fire back with potential teaching, a Shakespeare quote, museum tour guide or just simply a Masters. Either way you’ve got transferable skills, and no one can take that away from you, any day of the week. 

So, as you’re staring down at the inevitably awful photo implanted onto your ID card which will remain with you for at least three years, you might question the pros and cons of becoming a humanities student as well as an automatic camera’s cinematographic skills. Sure, there aren’t nearly as many contact hours or exciting sounding laboratory sessions, but you will begin to know how to critically analyse and develop lucid arguments (even if this means reading your flatmates’ write-ups at 11pm). So, rest assured that your degree is actually secretly appreciated by them, your wider family and the current Conservative government as you begin on the path towards not only getting a well-rounded degree, but one where you to get to go to the pub more. 

Image Credit: University of Leeds