on attending a college literature class.

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a literature class at a college I’m applying to soon. The class was an advanced literature class that lasted two hours and was about Jonathan Swift and Alexander Pope.

When I heard that I would be attending this particular class for a day I realized that I had never read anything by either of these writers. I quickly checked out Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels from my local library so I would at least have some idea of what one of the writers was like. I personally thought the book was just okay, and you can read more about my thoughts on it in my recent review.  Fortunately, the class was in the middle of discussing this very same novel on the day I attended the class! I could not believe my luck, because I could actually relate to what they were saying and they presented some really interesting perspectives and insights that made me appreciate this novel more.

What really struck me about this class was the way it was conducted. It reminded me a lot of how my current AP English class is run: there’s A TON of reading and work to do outside the class, but the atmosphere of the class itself is actually very relaxed and informal. The students were so enthusiastic about what they were reading and discussing, and the teacher just let everyone say what they thought, occasionally asking guiding questions. There is a huge difference between this and my experiences in literature classes in ninth, tenth, and eleventh grade. In those classes, the teachers basically just lectured about the book the entire period and we just stared blankly back at them. No one showed any interest in what we were reading, and it drove me absolutely insane. I doubt that half of my classmates even read the books we were assigned to read, and it frustrated me to no end. I wanted to stand up and be like WHY ARE YOU GUYS EVEN HERE???

So you can imagine my delight when I sat in on this college literature class. It was such a great experience, and now I’m even more excited for college!

For those of you who are currently in college or have graduated, what have your experiences been like in literature classes? Or if you’re still in high school like me, what are you English classes like? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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10 thoughts on “on attending a college literature class.

  1. My lit classes are some of the best I’ve ever taken. They’re pretty much what you described, too. Everyone is so interested and we all have completely different ideas on the same book and that makes for really great discussions. High school English is so general because it’s geared to so many people, but it’s much more focused in college and I love that.

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  2. I’m still in high school as well, but sadly we hardly ever cover literature in English. I don’t know if pretty much all the schools in The Netherlans don’t really focus on literature or if it’s just ours. It’s really disappointing though!

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    1. Really? That’s terrible! Almost every English class in my high school is based on literature, and I do wish they had more variety. Like maybe just a writing or grammar class? Something different would be nice occasionally, but I do like how we focus on literature. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

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  3. As an undergraduate English major, I definitely agree that English courses are some of the best – you have to do a decent amount of reading to prepare, but professors know how to ask guiding questions and keep the atmosphere friendly. The intellectual stimulation is superb. Good luck applying to the college and it makes me glad you had a great experience. (:

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  4. My senor year English/Lit class was like yours too! Since it was advance it worked so much better because people actually cared about the work instead of acting crazy. I have taken 2 English/Lit classes so far. The first wasn’t that laid backed because it focused on terms and how the department was set up and the rules. But when i got into a higher level class it was really cool and laid back. The atmosphere is so cool and relaxed! With that being said most of the classes I have taken in college have been pretty lax and controlled which is probably my favorite change from public school!

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    1. I agree- there’s definitely a difference in atmosphere between a regular and advanced lit class. It’s so much better when people actually care about the reading and want to be there. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

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