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The Perks of Being an Arts Student

Manahil Bandukwala is a second-year English student.

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The Perks of Being an Arts Student

Manahil Bandukwala is a second-year English student.

After saying your name, the next thing one would say in introductions is their department – and when you say the words “I’m in [insert Faculty of Arts department here],” you will most likely get an apprehensive look from the person in question (if they’re not in the arts as well, that is). What those not in the arts don’t realize is that being an arts student is wonderful.

Firstly, the workload is relatively small. Sure, we have to write essays often, but the amount of essays to do also depends on the course and the professor. For the most part, the arts students I’ve interacted with have had a handful of essays due in the first semester – unlike the engineering students who have to submit even longer labs every couple of weeks. As an English major, I expected to have to be churning out essays … there has not been a single word written down in that class.

Not having much work to do means that there is an ample amount of free time to go around Ottawa and explore, especially if you’re new to the city. It means that, on a Sunday when everyone is struggling to get the week’s work done, you can go around Parliament Hill with other Arts students and take pictures with all the statues (and not feel guilty about it).

Despite being an Arts student, the majority of my friends are engineers. While they are either off at class or a lab or a tutorial or studying, I have a light enough schedule that there is time to be a member of a multitude of clubs, and the best part is that I don’t feel it affecting my studies, my sleep, or my social life. Carleton’s campus is teeming with interesting activities, and having the time to actually be able to attend them is a huge perk.

Moving away from that, another amazing perk is the amount of room for electives. In most departments, there is only one mandatory course for first years. This leaves room for nine electives – the time for exploration isn’t just limited to sightseeing around Ottawa!

You might be required to learn a language as an Arts student. Some might ask, ‘is this a perk?’ Well, learning a language is difficult, no doubt, but it is also incredibly fun, and a great way to broaden the way you think and perceive the world around you. And, since the workload is much lighter, there’s a lot more time to practice said language too.

And lastly, the best part about being an Arts student is that you’re in the program because you’re passionate about it. Unlike so many other programs, there is little third party pressure into going into the arts, and so, being an arts student means that you (most likely) have autonomy over your university path.

2 responses to “The Perks of Being an Arts Student”

  1. Emily says:

    I’m happy you’re enjoying your program and have had a good experience been thus far. However this article is not what I would consider an accurate representation of life as an arts student. Lets not generalize. For one, arts degrees vary, as well as the classes and the workload reflects this variation as well. As a third year arts student my experience has been far from “easy”. Even in my first year I was pumping out one to two essays minimum a week. I am concerned that your comments give a false impression of the arts and contribute to the inaccurate stereotypes that many people hold towards the value of arts degrees. I am merely sharing my opinion to demonstrate that my experience has varied from yours, and generalization serves no benefits to the arts, or any degree. Best of luck with your degree.

  2. Lulu says:

    Manahil,
    As a fellow arts student, I am sincerely happy for you that you are enjoying your program and having fun in Ottawa. However, please realize that your experience is not representative of all arts students. I, for one, am currently buried in a pile of readings and assignments. It’s ok though, I’m glad to be working hard — that’s what university is all about. I am certain that as you progress through your program, you will be putting in a lot of work as well. You’re only in first year…there is a lot more to come.
    It’s also important to note that some of my classmates, and probably yours too, are experiencing mental health issues because of the stress of their (arts) degree. So please, let’s not trivialize their efforts by implying that any degree is easy to get.
    If I were you, I would take this piece down.
    Thanks and best of luck with your studies.

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