A First in Muppetry? Harder than you think

It appears that a couple of Universities in the UK are treading carefully when choosing their applicants. They are trying to avoid those students who have done “soft” A-Levels like drama or sports studies and instead are picking those students who have done the big strong butch A-Levels like The Classics or Latin.

Far be it from me to suggest that the selection process for some of this countries exclusive universities may be entrenched in a draconian interbred elitism, but in my school we didn’t have the opportunity to select A-Level “The Classics.”

It takes a particular type of school to provide one with A-Level “The Classics.” One of those schools that the exclusive universities like, where the students have boating in the curriculum and no idea what a jump lead is.

The kind of schools that produce well-mannered kids who like to graduate and bum around Kensington trying to be bohemian whilst owning three West End flats and a hybrid Audi… I imagine.

There is a real misconception about soft subjects because the title of any subject does not denote the amount of work that goes into it.


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This follows on through to university courses. There are a plethora of degrees to choose from, unlike the good old days when it was just knitting and fire, so there are more creative choices. Some of them get a very unfair time.

Media Studies gets a lot of hassle, mainly from people in the media oddly enough. It seems that those who want to work in media have to study media, then get a job in media and part of their job is to begrudge anyone else who starts studying media with the ambition to work in the media.

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It’s an enormous back-stabbing fraternity of trendy, flat-cap wearing iPod listeners purposely dismissing other people’s hard work to make themselves look better.

Which is a bit like working in the media actually. But media studies is such an enormous discipline, the work involved would test the most fervent media executive.

IT courses used to be sneered at by the butch degrees. Everyone assumed it was students turning a computer off then on again to see what happens, after morning break everyone gets a 1st and a cookie.

But IT has always been one of the hardest degrees to do. My University offers computer games design as a degree and initially I looked on it with disdain – laughing my stripey scarfed head off as I ran away to read another canonical book I couldn’t understand.

But it isn’t a group of layabouts playing Mario Kart all day. There is an unbelievable amount of theory involved and is more akin to an IT degree than arts, yet you need to combine both disciplines to move forward in the subject. Sports science, performance art, even zoology are all sneered at.

But if you want to work in a zoo, I can’t think of a better qualification. With my English degree I might be able to work in a zoo but when Simba the lion is roaring in agony from an unknown foot infection, all I could do is sit there and explain the nuances of Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons until he bites my face off because of the pain in his leg or the agony of boredom.

If a degrees worth is based on what we learn when we are there, the big butch maths and physics are probably the easiest ones to do. If you were not already good at maths or physics there is no way in a million years you would choose them. Therefore, by the very nature of choosing maths or physics you already know more about it than most and are an appalling cheat.

When I decided to go back to university I was conscious of the “soft” subject stigma, so I chose English and sometimes I regret it.

I do enjoy English but you would never read the books I’ve had to read in a million years unless you were trying to impress someone in a caf�, but there are some really interesting courses my university offers.

If I could give anyone advice about what course to choose I would always say do the one that interests you the most and ignore the soft degree stuff. It’s better to have a first in The Muppets than dropping out of a law degree with nothing but debt and a bad goatee.

Anyone who decides they should take on further study in any field deserves credit. Anyone who judges someone’s chosen field because it doesn’t sound hard enough should give it a go. That Muppets degree is probably harder than it looks.

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