very odd experience doing my degree. i only had six or eight classroom hours a week, which was great considering the science lot like @Mr. Tea had hours and hours of lab work and stuff. the first year was a load of literature units, one for each century up to the 19th, taught by the old school who'd done these classes since they were our age and didn't give a bollocks about what we thought of any of it. the books weren't balzac or big names or whatever though - obscure stuff in old french, montesquieu, etc most of which i didn't read, certainly don't remember anything about. there was also a unit on french history ie the revolution which i got my best mark in, despite zero interest or effort, much better than the literature ones i supposedly liked.
the rest of the time i suppose you were meant to make your own way through the library shelves or something? but i didn't, i read whatever i wanted, top selection of burroughs and bukowski, UCL library is great, going to gigs etc more of the same in the second year but there was a new american lecturer in the department who ran her unit on even more obscure french texts mentioned by foucault. the theory stuff still seemed quite sexy in those days but the lecturer in question was not only eccentric but very dogmatic about her terminology-infused agenda, like some kind of academic trump. so i struggled through all that and tried to make some sense of it. there was a cinema unit too which was like those lessons at school when they put a tv program on instead of teaching you anything.
in the third year i was sent off to the south of france and left to my own devices / survival for the year. another story really
back to london for the fourth year there was a new unit called "gender, race and class". there'd been a hint of this in the second year but now it came in in full effect - camus was a racist, not a great writer as i'd previously supposed, the lecturer shared his own personal stories of picking over scrapheaps with his dad in algeria, the name of the game was no longer how does x writer achieve effect y show with close reference to the text, but problematise the representation of suffering bodies in the work of z and so on. i couldn't get my head round it and i'd lost interest in the degree completely while on the third year so i graduated with a not very good degree and emerged with no noticeable increase in my employability. now i wonder what it was all about really. my spoken french is shit hot though.
it struck me when visiting france that anyone will ask you for a fag in the street anytime which never, ever happened in lancashire, but it doess happen all the time in london. the other day someone wanted a fag and i said no and he said why not?
I've had this (before) in France, thought it was piss, the tequila adds a note of washing-up liquid.
my experience of university was quite mixed.
i couldn't wait to get out of lancashire and down to london, mainly 'cos of the music scene. i also imagined that i'd meet loads of interesting cool people when i got there but that was a bit optimistic.
doing french we had a ridiculously low number of teaching hours, like 6 or 8 a week, which at the time i thought was great. loads of time for reading whatever i felt like and hanging around art galleries, going to 3 gigs a week or whatever.
in the third year i went of on a year abroad to france, teaching english in a village school (well officially a town but really a village in nowhere) which was not the best experience but i saw out the year anyway, mostly in solitude. as a result of that when i got back for the fourth year i'd more or less given up on the course completely and lost interest. so i got an indifferent degree
then found when i graduated that i was literally unemployable - i could have done more certificates to do law or whatever but that was the last thing on my mind, cue hundreds of people saying what about teaching, what about translating ad nauseam forever
the saga continues