I believe Language and Literature have always been in my blood, even though very well hidden. My mother used to tell me that when I was a toddler I would not eat unless I had something to read in the meantime, and I was introduced to the beautiful language that English is at the very young age of six. From that moment, a bond was formed between me and my second language, and I am happy to say that it’s still going strong after 29 years.
Quite the same can be said for my love of books. From picture books to middle grade stories about two long-lost sisters, from chick-lit novels about finding love on a cruise to vampires and Anita Blake. With a strong English background (my middle school English teacher’s method was to make us learn texts by heart—sometimes even 5 or six pages long— and then copy them ten times, and I had six hours of English lessons a week in high school), it wasn’t long before I started reading books in English.
However, I was very different back then, and when I graduated from high school fifteen years ago I went straight into work because I was sick of studying. I never lost my love for literature or English, for instance. On the contrary, the study-trips I made during high school consolidated my feelings, especially the trip I made to Dublin in 1997—which had a huge impact on my life.
When I moved to England in 2008, it was a dream come true. A place where I could speak English 24/7? Hell Yeah!
Of course, I’ve never been happier of my decision, and in 2011 my passion for books brought me to start a book blog. My love for books got me to discover a whole new world and thanks to that I was introduced to a lot of new opportunities.
In 2014 I enrolled The Open University for a BA in English Language and Literature. If fifteen years ago somebody told me that in the future I would have enrolled to get a degree, I would have laughed in their face, because studying for a few more years was something that I would have absolutely not done in a million years. I suppose growing up also means that priorities and interests change, and I am very happy about my decision.
At 35, studying part-time with a full time job—and a bunch of other things—is a lot more hard work than one could think. I struggled quite a bit at the beginning, as getting into textbooks after fifteen years was not easy at all. I owe everything to my best friend for this—she’s been a great support, a great friend and a saint for putting up with me—and I know I would have never done this without her help.
Fortunately after a while things got better and studying again had opened my mind to newly found interests that I did not know I had. Philosophy, for instance, was one of them. Plato was very hard, but in the end I had fun studying that. Also, I discovered how much I enjoyed theatrical plays, and Doctor Faustus helped me acquire a fancy for Shakespeare as well.
I am about to delve into Level 2, meaning that I will finally start learning topics specifically related to my degree. Worlds of English, for instance, focuses on the study of the English Language, enabling me to observe and account for how language varies between individuals and also in different institutional, cultural and national settings.
It truly looks as hard as it sounds, and although it is scary because it’s going to be a lot difficult, I really can’t wait to start.
I don’t regret my decision and if I could turn back time, I would do exactly the same. If I wanted to continue my studies when I graduated from high school, I would not certainly have picked this degree. First, because I was still in Italy back then, and second because—even though I did love both English and Literature—my interests sat in tourism and the hotel industry, and I would have probably never moved to the UK.
As they say, it’s never too late to study, and how true this is!
Are you getting a degree in English Language and Literature? What do you love about it? Have your say in the comments section below.