It was a pretty big decision for me. There were several reasons behind it, some of which I'll go into now:
1. Worst subject ever
The way my Honours course was structured was a little odd. Because I was going on exchange in Semester 2, they had me doing just one culture course in Semester 1 (to come back in 2014 to write my thesis). The only culture course on offer (at my level) was one on Die Leiden des jungen Werthers ('The Sorrows of Young Werther'). It is a book by Goethe (kind of like the German version of Shakespeare), and I would not recommend reading it. In fact, I will summarise the plot for you:
boy moves away from home/girl troubles; boy finds out girl he is about to meet is engaged, is warned not to fall for her; boy meets girl; boy falls for her anyway; boy spends the next half of the book raving about how wonderful she is; girl's fiancé comes home; boy moves away from girl troubles; boy is unhappy in new life; girl marries fiancé; boy moves back; boy laments that now she is married; boy complains some more (the second half of the book); boy commits suicide because he can't bear it any more.
So not only was the plot terrible (he is so whiny!), but the course was really dry too, and no one understood what was going on in lectures (in fact, a few of us used to get together after the lectures to try to piece together what the lecture was about).
|This is basically what he spends the whole book doing: OH NO, SHE IS TOO PERFECT! |
OH NO! SHE IS MARRIED AND ALSO PERFECT!
But then it got to week 5, and I realised that despite having got books out from the library, I wasn't going to be able to present in week 6. So I asked if I could do it in week 7 instead (which fell after the two-week mid-semester break). But I did nothing during the holidays. I tried! - I sat down in front of my computer, trying desperately to research for my topic... but I couldn't find anything, and I didn't know what angle to approach it from or anything.
(For anyone wondering, my topic was: Medien und Kulturgeschichte – Soziale, ökonomische und politische Aspekte im Roman und im deutschen Bürgertum der 1770er Jahre ('media and cultural history - social, economic and political aspects in the novel and in the German middle class in the 1770s').)
The night before, I was a mess. I had no idea what to do. With the help and support of my parents and boyfriend, I was able to piece together about 400 words of terribly-written German by about 2am. But I decided that that was ridiculous, and I would never be able to write 1500 (or get 18 minutes' worth of notes) by 3pm the next day. So, I emailed my lecturer and told him that I wouldn't be in class tomorrow, and that I was struggling, or something, and went to bed feeling very unsure about everything.
(My lecturer has been really nice about everything, so that is a good thing.)
2. Thesis topic
I hadn't chosen one yet. It's already May, and although I had an extra semester to write my thesis, I really should have chosen a topic in the Summer holidays. I had got a (very) broad idea of what I wanted to do, but was finding it difficult to narrow down into a tackle-able topic.
|This does not look fun at all.|
3. Delaying Real Life
The study bubble has been a pretty good place to be for the last 19 years. But if I'm honest with myself, doing Honours for a year and a half was partially just a way to put off having to face Real Life. Because I don't know what I want to do yet.
4. A way to get back to Germany
If you know me (or if you don't), you may have picked up that I like Germany by now. I don't know, I'm pretty subtle about it. While I had already started investigating Honours when I found out that I could possibly go on exchange as part of it, by the time all the discussions about exchange were happening, I honestly said 'if I can't go on exchange, I'm not going to do Honours'. Now, although I desperately want to go back to Germany, and my flights are booked, and my accommodation for our holiday beforehand is all sorted, putting myself through a year and a half of extra study just to spend five months in Berlin is not a good reason.
|Our holiday route. Arrive London August 20th, arrive Berlin September 28th.|
5. Long-term benefit?
They say that Arts degrees are useless. And sure, my degree(s) don't lead anywhere in particular. Like I said, I don't know what I want to do when I grow up. I'm just not sure that studying for a year and a half just to get some extra letters on my parchment is going to be worth it in the long-term. Granted, I now have some letters on my transcript that pretty much say 'failed at Honours', but I don't think that staying at uni for longer is actually going to help me find out what I want in life.
So, after a lot of soul-searching and pros and cons lists writing, I decided to withdraw from Honours.
My plans now
Well, I already have my flights and accommodation booked to get to Berlin, so I'm going to do that. My plan at the moment is to secure an internship at a company in Berlin and stay there for five-six months. Unfortunately, not really knowing what I want to do makes finding an internship that I'm interested in pretty difficult. Perhaps a stint in a big city will help me find that out.