By johan on Dec 15, 2005
This is such a relief. Now, after years of on-and-off studying, I have yet another degree: a Bachelor of Arts, also known as a BA, also known as "Bugger All", a snide comment we Engineering and Computer Science students had for Arts students who vacationed on campuses as if they were expensive dating agencies, implying that arts degrees are practically worth zilch when it comes to employment potential.
Having studied Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, I can fairly objectively say that engineering/science requires far more work than arts. However, I need to qualify that by adding that not all major subjects are equal, just as not all universities are equal. And a lot depends on aptitude. I don't think I have much of an aptitude for languages: English is my second language and I decided that I wanted to study a third language from scratch when I was 27 years old. It has been a difficult and frustrating undertaking, especially since I studied by correspondence from South Africa - where there are hardly any Spanish speakers. But not nearly as difficult as it would have been to study, say Russian or Mandarin - at least all the languages I know share a common (Latin) alphabet.
Also, I have always disliked pure theory and always wanted to practice what I learn, which is why I always scored above 80% for my programming assignments, while not doing as well as I should have in my theory exams. My entire Spanish education has been by correspondence with the aid of books and audio tapes. Now I really need to go and live in a Spanish-speaking country for a while to apply my knowledge. I've visited Spain twice so far, but I need to actually live and immerse myself in Spanish culture to really benefit.
Anyway, I'm glad and very relieved it's all over for now. I was going to read Don Quijote by Miguel de Cervantes this year to celebrate 400 years since the publication of, what some regard as, the world's first novel (La primera novela del mundo). I bought a copy of the original text a few years ago, glanced at it and gave up. Cervantes was a contemporary of Shakespeare (they died on the same day), and the Spanish of the original text is just too archaic for my level of Spanish. So, I bought a few simplified texts when I visited Madrid in April. Now that I've passed my last exam, I am really motivated to read it, 'cos this time it will be for fun, not to study for a friggin' exam!
Also, now that I have all that behind me, I shall delight in gathering together all my Spanish notes, crumpling them up page-by-page, and throwing them (roughly) into a heartwarming Irish peat fire.