student life

Why I chose my degree: English with Creative Writing

student life, English, writing, writing, Carrie Cairns, Kettle Mag
Written by CarrieJennifer

When I was a little girl, I spent most of my time reading and occasionally writing. One of the first stories I ever wrote was by far the most horrendous piece of fiction anyone anywhere has ever written. It involved a story of me and a friend walking my dog (I didn’t have a dog) and we got lost in a forest (there are no forests near me). Conveniently although we were ‘lost’ I had a bag which contained a tent, sleeping bags, camping chairs, spare food, bottled water and a mobile phone.

I was around 9 at the time of this story and I’m sure my Mum didn’t even own a mobile phone at this point. But hey, I was pretty well prepared for a dog walk don’t you think?

My mum poured over this story, told me how amazing it was and pinned it up on the kitchen cupboard where it stayed until the corners curled in. Seeing my work displayed for the first time was a wonderful experience and at that age I knew I wanted more!

The more I read, the more my imagination expanded, the better my stories got. The better my stories got, the more my confidence grew. The more my confidence grew, the more I wanted people to tell me how amazing I was. It was an addictive cycle.

At the age of 16 I was in 5th year at school. I didn’t want to stay on for a 6th year. I wanted to leave, to go to college and to study sound production. Music was a huge part of my adolescence and I wanted to help have this same profound impact on others that I had experienced.

Best and worst decision

However my short-lived dreams were cut even shorter by my Mum, who decided I was staying for my final year at school.

This was both the best and worst decision she could have made for me. The worst was that I used this year to socialise more than work. I spent my time in the library (talking to the librarian) in the medical room (talking to the admin assistant), in the office (talking to the office assistants) and in the common room (talking to the other 6th years). Unfortunately talking was not one of my 6th year subjects and as a result I failed all 4 subjects I ‘studied’.

The best part about my Mum’s decision was that at the end of this year instead of going into music, I studied a National Certificate (NC) in Media, followed by a Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Journalism. I wanted to be a writer of some sort. Creative writing was my forte, however I did have a certain way with words.

After this lots of things happened in quick succession leading me to have a total change of heart and I began working in a nursing home. I studied for my Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) level 2 in Health and Social Care, and moved from nursing care to care at home. From here I studied for (and failed) another HNC this time in Social Care, and ended up working at my placement for 2 and a half years.

Excited for my future

In August 2015 I landed a full-time permanent nightshift contract, tying me to the place for an average of 37 hours per week. A short 15 weeks later the company announced they were closing down the unit and we would all be made redundant.

In the weeks between landing my job and getting my risk of redundancy I had been considering my future more. I’d kept up my writing, albeit only for myself, and although I hadn’t been reading quite as much I’d still been reading a little.

I made the huge decision to apply to university.

I applied to five different universities, two for Journalism courses and three for English courses. I decided to leave this decision up to fate to determine what course I would end up doing, although I was secretly hoping for the English degree.

Six very short days after sending in my UCAS application, my first reply came back. I had been accepted for an English with Creative Writing degree. I waited until I got all my replies back from universities and five months after receiving it I accepted my first offer.

At the moment I’m still working in a nursing home. It’s a job I absolutely adore however I want to go no further than the level I am at. I feel as you go up to senior and management roles, there is far more paperwork and much less person centred working. Nursing was a career path I wanted to follow for a long time, but again the person centredness of the career is being taken away.

For the first time in a long time I’m really excited for my future. 

What do you think? Are you an English with Creative Writing student? What excites you about your degree? Have your say in the comments section below.