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What are the pros and cons of doing Arts in UCC

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  • 08-01-2009 2:09pm
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 41


    I am a mature student and am trying to sort my preferences for the CAO application. I am interested in doing an Arts course so could current students please advise me on what the pros and cons of doing Arts in UCC are.

    Thank you
    Tagged:


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭Amtmann


    I am a mature student and am trying to sort my preferences for the CAO application. I am interested in doing an Arts course so could current students please advise me on what the pros and cons of doing Arts in UCC are.

    Thank you

    That's a little vague. It would help if you had more specific questions.


  • Registered Users Posts: 248 ✭✭bp1989


    Rule of thumb: DON'T DO ARTS! It was a stupid enough degree before the recession but now it's just ridiculous! It qualifies you for nothing, and every person I know who finished it is still doing post-grad courses!!

    I done it last year (completed 1 year of it), but changed courses last september and haven't looked back. The course is boring, stressful, and takes up way to much time!


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,477 ✭✭✭grenache


    bp1989 wrote: »
    Rule of thumb: DON'T DO ARTS! It was a stupid enough degree before the recession but now it's just ridiculous! It qualifies you for nothing!
    Goes a long way to making you a teacher.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭Amtmann


    bp1989 wrote: »
    Rule of thumb: DON'T DO ARTS! It was a stupid enough degree before the recession but now it's just ridiculous! It qualifies you for nothing, and every person I know who finished it is still doing post-grad courses!!

    I have to disagree. And the recession doesn't come into it. Many law, commerce and science students end up doing postgrad courses too.

    Arts is what you make it. Sure, a 2.2 degree isn't worth very much, but a 2.1 is and a 1.1 definitely is. It opens up the door not just to teaching, but to journalism, publishing, research positions (for TV programmes and companies), as well as senior civil service positions and editing.
    I done it last year (completed 1 year of it), but changed courses last september and haven't looked back. The course is boring, stressful, and takes up way to much time!

    The course can be boring - I certainly despised sociology for instance - but that's why you should choose with care the subjects you enjoy most.

    I took History, Geography, Archaeology and Sociology in my first year. This was a mistake on my part, since Archaeology and Sociology bored me. I didn't give all my choices enough thought.

    I did a Hist/Geog joint in second year, and finally a single in History in third year. This was very demanding - but not boring. I learned an enormous amount as an undergrad, and haven't regretted my choice one bit.

    RE Arts, I could offer some advice.

    1) Seriously consider not doing Arts if you don't like reading.

    2) Seriously consider not doing Arts if you are poor at writing - i.e. grammar, punctuation, syntax. These are all vitally important if you want to do well. It is easy to pass Arts; it is not easy to do very well.

    3) Don't do Arts if you don't have any curiosity about the world - about politics, history, animals, places, things. If your idea of an 'interest' stops after soap operas, big brother and movies, then Arts isn't for you. To do well, you need to be a curious person.

    4) Choose your main two subjects carefully. Try to make sure you'll like studying them for three years. And remember, these subjects are nothing like their secondary school equivalents - they're much more challenging, and are different methodologically and epistemologically. Take history: in school, the subject called history mostly concerns knowing about what I call 'events'. In third level, history concerns argument, analysis and interpretation.

    5) You will end up dropping the other two subjects, so don't be afraid to try something new here, such as folklore. Contrary to the rumour you'll no doubt hear, just because you take two subjects in first year does not mean you can teach them to junior cert. That is bogus.

    6) Don't go in with a closed mind. Don't categorise yourself as liberal or as conservative. Try to weigh all viewpoints in a detached way. As the lecturer once said in the first class of the Globalisation module, "If you're one of these people who thinks that Globalisation is all bad, get out now. I don't want you here." That said, some subjects (I'm looking at you, geography and sociology) tend to be dominated by left wing lecturers who, in my opinion, are more activists than scholars. Just be aware of that.

    7) If you opt for a Joint in second year, be aware that you can switch to a Single in third year.

    8) Do read some of the works listed in the bibliographies your lecturer will give you. Rather than reading whole books though, try to find academic articles on JSTOR instead. (I realise this means nothing to the opening poster at this point, but it will when s/he gets into UCC.)


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 41 comebackkid


    Thanks for the advice Furet, its been very helpful.

    Can you give me an idea of what the lectures and tutorials are like in history and geography and what a typical day and study involves.

    I wasnt aware that history would be unlike school. I thought it would be just more comprehensive and cover more areas.

    Do you mean are you are tested on the subject by argument, analysis and interpretation?


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭Amtmann


    Thanks for the advice Furet, its been very helpful.

    Can you give me an idea of what the lectures and tutorials are like in history and geography and what a typical day and study involves.

    I don't think it would be wise for me to discuss each lecturer in detail! Each has their own style. My focus has been on the late medieval/early modern period, so I don't have much to do with the modern historians. First year is regarded as being the most boring by most people, for the simple reason that choice is limited. This website might help: www.ucc.ie/history

    Second year is when all the exciting modules get introduced, so pick and choose from among those to get a 'feel' for the types of history that interest you. The day is pretty much what you make of it. Per subject you won't have more than 5 lectures per week. In first year you don't have to kill yourself with study. Just keep on top of things: attend lectures, take notes, read perhaps two articles/chapters per day from the bibliographies supplied.
    I wasnt aware that history would be unlike school. I thought it would be just more comprehensive and cover more areas.

    It is more comprehensive, and far more in-depth, particularly from second year on. For example, in a third year module on the Anglo-Spanish war of the late sixteenth century you could be asked to account for the defeat of the Spanish Armada. Or, you could be asked, "who got the best deal from the peace treaty?", and because no side clearly won, you'd have to construct an argument based on the terms of the treaty where you'd outline you point of view that, well, no one was an immediate winner, but the treaty facilitated the long term rise of England, etc.

    Or, with regard to the Reformation a good question is: "Was Martin Luther the best thing that ever happened to the Catholic Church?" A subtle question, because Luther's reformation ultimately inspired counter reform, which improved the church in many ways.

    Do you see what I mean? You need to know what happened (i.e. the 'events'), but the important thing is that you know how to interpret those events. Historians are always arguing and debating over interpretation: Do 'great men' really affect the course of history? Does history have a progressive direction? Is it possible to recreate medieval mentalities? Why were 16th and 17th-century people obsessed with witchcraft and devilry, while 12th and 13th-century people were not?
    Do you mean are you are tested on the subject by argument, analysis and interpretation?

    By and large, yes. The lecturer might disagree with your argument and interpretation, but that won't matter so long as it is well argued. Undergraduate training is about learning how to form an academic argument. I hope I'm not turning you off it - it's not as hard as it sounds. If you're passionate about history, you'll love it.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭Amtmann


    Another tip: Feel free to call to see your lecturers every so often during their office hours to discuss aspects of the course if you feel you need to. Alternatively, e-mail them. Too many people never use this excellent service during their degree.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,256 ✭✭✭Fabio


    Fair play to Furet - great info there, pay attention to that stuff OP and you won't go wrong.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,744 ✭✭✭deRanged


    Furet wrote: »
    Another tip: Feel free to call to see your lecturers every so often during their office hours to discuss aspects of the course if you feel you need to. Alternatively, e-mail them. Too many people never use this excellent service during their degree.

    Can't agree with that enough, and it applies right across the college. Talk to your lecturer/tutor/demonstrator/whatever. Even if it's only to chat about the course or look for study tips or get a heads up on what's coming up in the future.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 41 comebackkid


    thats great Furet, thanks for taking the time to do write up that info. its a real help and also an eye opener. you havent put me off at all. it sounds really interesting. all the best


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  • Registered Users Posts: 173 ✭✭Beaucoupfish


    Best of luck Comeback kid and an excellent post from Furet.
    11 years after graduating with a business degree I'm returning to study geography and can't wait to start learning.
    There's nothing like years of working in 'boring' commerce to realise a burning ambition to nourish the mind and open new doors.


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