As you might remember from your own time as a new student, starting university is a uniquely exciting and challenging time.
The staff on the YSJU English Literature Programme have put together a very special farewell video for the Class of 2020. The video is introduced below by Third Year Level Co-ordinator, Dr Jo Waugh.
It is a truth almost universally not acknowledged that sometimes endings can feel a bit anticlimactic. This year, however, that feeling must be especially powerful: this was never how it was supposed to be.
We’d have liked to be doing this in person, but we’ve tried our best to express in this video how proud we are of you, how sorry we are to see you go, and how much we hope you’ll carry with you the things you’ve learnt during your time as a Literature student at YSJU.
So let us take you, just for 43 minutes, to a place of virtual celebration. If you want to recreate the atmosphere, you could place some pizza and chips nearby, but forbid yourself from queuing for them until the speeches are over. Pour yourself a glass of wine, grab a bottle of beer, or whatever you might have been drinking. When you’ve finished watching, you could play some jungle music (Fraser’s playlist last year), and imagine you’re either hiding when the camera comes near you or posing for it with your arms round your friends. Endings are important, and you should mark this one while you also think about the new beginnings that are opening up in front of you.
Every day right now, something is happening that requires – demands – you to use the skills in critical thinking and analysis that we hope you’ve honed in the last three years. There are narratives circulating all around us, many with holes, gaps, and ambiguities that desperately need people like you to question and interrogate them.
This is what a degree in English Literature does for you, and this is why the world really does need you, a Literature graduate, so urgently. Recognize and embrace your power and your privilege here: as a critic, as someone who’s read about historical precedents for some of the dynamics we’re seeing unfold right now (cough Sick Novels), who’s studied the ways in which forms of power and oppression intersect, and been invited and encouraged to question everything – and keep on questioning, arguing, thinking, critiquing, all your life.