“What do you study?”
I get asked that a lot, mainly because I’m a university study, in a university city so it’s a common ice breaker. Once you hit third year the question gets a bit repetitive though but you stop being asked in clubs, since us 20/21 year old third years are basically hitting retirement as my lovely teenage first year friends say. But it gets better for me because then I have to explain that people do actually study Education at university. Not that I knew that before coming to UCLan of course, so I guess I can’t really blame any of the confused looks I get.
For me, BA (hons) Education is about the education system (obviously). More broadly, it’s about education in Britain and global education, how we learn and develop, how to support learners who are vulnerable such as victims of abuse or those from ethnic minorities. The policies surrounding education and why these were put in place. The history of education. The future of education. Then add in the Professional Studies part which relates to the research skills and the writing and you realise how broad the degree is. Trying to explain this in the 15 second introductory slot you get with any new person and the topic is pretty much a dead end.
It was the same when I met another friend at university. Most courses are pretty basic, Sport you study anything to do with sport, Pharmacy you study medicenes, Archaeology you dig things up, Economics you study money… Oh, no… Apparently you don’t study money in Economics. That’s the argument my friend had when I laughed at his course saying that he must love money and want to be rich. But, well, if you know me I’m quite stubborn and despite the fact he was a second year Economics student I still insisted he didn’t know what his own degree was about. He even ended up pulling out his phone and Googling it, though I can’t remember how it was defined by Wikipedia besides the fact it mentioned wealth. “Wealth” to me is money. I asked his course mate and he decided to throw some Latin term at me which wasn’t really much help.
That’s part of the fun of being at university though, being introduced to people who have decided to go into specific areas. My sixth form teacher would find it hilarious if I was to tell him I now study Education when I applied for Archaeology on UCAS back in year 13, changed it to Sport once I’d gotten accepted and then to Education and Religion, Culture and Society once I arrived at university. Thankfully, I never have to go into that when people first meet me otherwise I doubt I’d have many second meetings with people!
What have you realised is a common topic of conversation with new people at your university? Or even outside of education, since I have no idea how I’d meet new people once I can’t use this ice breaker…?!