So, you’re a History student (congrats on being awesome!). There are loads of issues and annoyances that all historians can relate to, as well as a whole host of (sometimes irritating!) perceptions and ideas people have about what it means to study History. That's why the History grad on our team has put together a list of 12 things all History students will understand.
We have very few contact hours when we begin our degree (woohoo!) and they only become fewer and further between as time progresses. The main problem is that you expect to have loads of free time, but return to earth with a bump when you understand just how disciplined you have to be to get your work done!
Aren’t you just so bored of people thinking your degree is easy and ‘flimsy’ because of your contact hours? It would be great to make them try it for a week - it wouldn’t seem so easy then! And what is it with people thinking all we do is learn dates all day long? We wish it was that simple!
Is there any pain known to mankind to match that of a debate in your 9am seminar with your overly-enthusiastic lecturer? It's a strange and unusual form of torture indeed!
Don't get me started on the reading! It seems impossible to get the balance right. Sometimes you miraculously manage to complete all the reading (go you!), but then your lecturer decides not to mention it once. More commonly, you leave your reading until the last minute, fall asleep two pages in, highlight everything on the page in a last-minute frenzy and then have to spend the whole seminar utterly confused and praying the lecturer doesn’t ask your opinion.
Is there anything like that feeling of combined relief and pride when you exit an exam having remembered every single date, as well as the names of every single historian, that you needed to create a coherent, super-intelligent-sounding argument? Did somebody say genius?
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
It’s practically impossible to have your own interpretation of something when you study History. Some pain in the neck historian somewhere out there has already thought it, said it and published it...and now you need to reference them! Ugh!
Please tell me I’m not the only one who still doesn’t totally understand what a historiographical essay is?!
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY
Where did our fees go? We have no field trips and we often have so few books from the core reading list available in the library that we could literally cry when sources are available online. They must have been spent on the swanky new science buildings. Not that I’m bitter or anything…
“Why did you study History? Isn’t it totally irrelevant?” I don’t even know if I can be bothered to get into this debate with you. Firstly, I really enjoy it. Secondly, Churchill said that “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it” - it’s numpties like you dismissing the past who are so flipping frustrating to us historians!
Historians are a nightmare to watch historical films with. It’s so hard for us to contain all of our fascinating knowledge! And it almost physically pains us to see something portrayed in such a terribly historically inaccurate way! For us, these conversations mid-film are really fun...for our friends? Not so much!
Why do people think we should know about every single event that has happened in every single society since the beginning of time? It’s kind of necessary that we specialise, guys - we are clever, but our brains aren’t that big!
It’s so scary thinking about what life holds for us post-graduation. And it certainly doesn’t help matters when people keep asking us what on earth we plan to do for a career. It’s so boring having to explain over and over that no, I do not have to work in a museum, and that I do, in fact, have plenty of transferable skills that will make me useful in the workplace!
So there you have it; 12 things all History students will understand. What do you think? Do you agree with us? Do you have anything else you think History students will relate to? Can you relate even though you study a different subject?