Doing a degree in English and Creative Writing is probably the best thing I have ever done. Of course, two years ago when I switched courses from Chemistry with Nanotechnology to English there was debate and arguments over whether it was the right thing to do. “You could have been a scientist. You could have cured cancer!” Unlikely.
But I switched anyway and I’ve never been happier. This, my second year, has been the best. I used to suffer from anxiety quite badly. I can pinpoint the day it reared its ugly head and vowed to torment me for the rest of my life. It was my GCSEs, before an exam. I was more nervous than I’d ever been as we sat in the cafeteria and I was choked by the smell of toast. It made me feel sick. I almost was. I’ve only just started eating toast again. It grew to a point where I couldn’t eat before ten o’clock without feeling ill. I hated it and I hated myself.
But this year, things have changed. I’d like to say that my anxiety is gone, but I’m not sure you can just be rid of it. Regardless, I don’t suffer from it any more and my confidence has increased by tenfold. Seminars have helped me talk to people and I’m no longer terrified by the thought of presentations. Hell, I actually want presentations. I’m still a bit awkward around people, I’m afraid to talk to one of my tutors. I don’t know why, I just really don’t want to talk to him. But I’m better than I’ve ever been.
It’s also improved my writing. I don’t know what I ever did without proper feedback. Sure my friend used to read over my work (she took English at A-Level, I didn’t) and give me feedback when she felt like it, but it’s not the same as having two or three students plus a tutor look over it and give feedback. It really gives me direction for my pieces. Sure, some people are better at giving feedback than others. Having not done English since GCSE, I’m not very good at it. I know what’s good and what could be changed, but I can’t put it into words, whereas a guy in my class gives very clear, almost tutor-esque feedback. But feedback is feedback and I’ll take what I can while I can, because when the course is over it’ll be back to little old me staring at the page and wondering why what I’ve written is shit.