What if I don’t want to take minor subjects in my first year?

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Billed as a unique opportunity on Open Days, the chance to take on an additional subjects during your first year at University is used to attract students to venture to Lancaster. Yet in the height of the exam stress, with last minute crams of revision being squeezed in by all, I have grown to question the actual benefit of this rare offer.

The first year introduces us to our courses, giving us a taste of our degree, slowly easing us into University life. I understand that Lancaster is trying to give us an opportunity to spend a year embarking on something else we may be passionate about but would not have the opportunity to pursue at other Universities. We are able to sample different aspects of the curriculum, giving us the chance to possibly reevaluate our original choices. I for one have encountered numerous students who have made a change to their intended major after having the opportunity to study something they hadn’t considered before.

However, this most definitely isn’t the case for everyone. Which makes me wonder if the compulsory element for all students (with the exception of certain degree schemes, for instance Law students) to pick at least one minor, most often two, is a step too far, and is it possibly a hindrance when we have already carefully chosen a subject to study?

Having spent two years doing at least three A-level’s the time came to go to University and centre our focus on one field, honing our skills and overall specialising in a certain subject, one that assumedly we either enjoy studying or need for a desired career. Yet many people I have encountered are spreading time and effort thinly over compulsory subjects they originally had no intention of studying – and are expected to pass these in order to continue with their original degree. Granted they only need to gain forty percent, but personally I feel it is too reminiscent of A-levels in structure.

Yet there is a clear divide. Some people, like me, have enjoyed the opportunity to study more than my intended degree, while others have not. Therefore my reasoning is that this opportunity is not an overall consented undertaking, and that is why I feel its compulsory nature should be removed to allow a more optional stance for prospective students. This way those eager to spread their first year studying more than one subject, keeping their options open if they are not completely sure about their chosen degree scheme, can do so, while those confident about their original choice and eager to progress can also do so with more modules on offer.

Overall Lancaster’s unique opportunity should be more open and available to those who want it, but passable for those who wish to concentrate on their intended scheme. If most Universities don’t offer this chance, then surely Lancaster should be more open to the wants of their own students instead of imposing what some perceive to be a good thing, while others clearly do not.

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