From hopeless to romantic: how to romanticise your degree

romanticise /rə(ʊ)ˈmantɪsʌɪz/
verb: romanticise
deal with or describe in an idealized or unrealistic fashion; make (something) seem better or more appealing than it really is. (Oxford Languages)  

Valentine’s may be over, but that doesn’t mean the romance is dead! Sometimes our degrees can be a source of frustration, anxiety, or just plain boredom. When you’re halfway through a seemingly endless bibliography or struggling with exercises that you just can’t seem to get your head around, it can be really hard to love (or even like) your degree. However, if you can learn to romanticise what you study it can go a long way towards helping you achieve degree satisfaction. Check out the tips below, and start falling in love with your degree again!  

1: Books, books, books

If your degree requires a lot of reading, books can seem so exhausting. However, a good step towards romanticizing your degree is to romanticise what you’re reading. If your textbook sounds like it was written in the 1800s, then put yourself into that mindset. Become an old-fashioned student surrounded by dusty tomes of academic literature, as opposed to someone who is sick to death of long sentences that they can barely understand. If your textbooks are more modern, linger on the words and the writing style. If you’re a STEM student, your textbooks might not be in prose at all. Pencil notes in the margin or start using post-its to brighten up the pages.

Reading fiction that relates to your degree can also be very rewarding. As a Classics student, I’ve been reading The Secret History by Donna Tartt this week. Reading about students studying what I study in the most romanticised way possible has really inspired me to start thinking about my degree in a more idealised way. 

2: Create some atmosphere

Feel like you’re burning the candle at both ends? Start burning some real candles (rental-contract permitting, of course). Use a desk lamp and fairy lights for cosy lighting, wrap yourself in a blanket and make yourself a cup of something warm. Stack your textbooks aesthetically on your desk and settle down to your readings or exercises. You can also try finding a quiet study playlist that gives your room an air of concentration. It’s much easier to romanticise your degree if your desk setup goes some way towards looking Instagram-able.

3: Notes worth taking

Everyone has seen those people on social media who go viral for their amazingly artistic notes. Not all of us are quite that creative, but writing your notes out in a way that looks beautiful can help you feel like your degree is beautiful too. If you’re a STEM student, try assigning different coloured pens to different equations or formulae. You can also use colour to add some interest to otherwise boring graphs or diagrams. If you write copious amounts of notes by hand, invest in a fountain pen to give your work a touch of class and elegance. Don’t worry if you prefer typing up your notes; get yourself a bullet journal or planner and use that to structure your week in a creative and colourful way.

4: Listen and Learn

It’s important to remember that even if you aren’t studying the part of your degree that you find the most interesting there will be someone out there who is, and they are probably talking about it. Find some of the most well-known scholars in your field and put their names into Spotify to see if any podcasts come up, or have a look at this post to find something related to your degree. You can also do a YouTube search for talks on topics that interest you, or find a relevant documentary on iPlayer. Listening to people who love what you study can really help you learn to love it too.

5: A fresh perspective

Now that the warmer days are coming and the trees and flowers are starting to blossom, it won’t be long before we are able to start studying out in the sunshine. Take a picnic blanket into your back garden with some snacks and a thermos of tea and do your studying in the fresh air. If your housemates are joining you, ask them questions about what they study and why they are interested in it. If you’re staying at home rather than at university, start up a conversation with a family member about university life and what you study. Sometimes all it takes is someone asking you about your degree for you to realise how much you actually enjoy it.

Need help falling in love with your degree? Tweet us at @warwicklibrary, email us at libraryblogs@warwick.ac.uk, or leave a comment below.

by Rebecca Preedy

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