To be completely honest, I was not expecting to be studying the subjects that I study. As a transfer student to UCD, I knew that I wanted to continue a liberal arts-style education, as I had been pursuing in my previous university. While I was primarily interested in the field of sociology, I was not quite ready to narrow my focus down to that one single subject.
Luckily for me, the BA Arts programme at the University College Dublin provided just what I was looking for: in our first year, students are required to select three or four arts subjects from the twenty-four available. After a year, we narrow it down to our final two to pursue our joint-major degrees in.
The system does have its benefits, whether you’re decided on your subjects or not. I, for one, initially intended to select Spanish as my second subject, but was pleasantly surprised to find that one of my most enjoyable classes was my elective in geology. By being pushed to explore other subjects, I was also able to grow a newfound appreciation for the interdisciplinary applications between my courses in politics, geography, and sociology—which in turn got me to rethink my subject selection for next year, perhaps in a way that the two would complement each other. I’m not the only one facing dilemmas such as this, and sure enough, the different subject departments offer academic advisory sessions for all first-years considering pursuing the subject for their degrees.
On the other hand, it’s also worth noting that because of the ways the programme is laid out, you may have trouble settling with a schedule. Where I intended to take only three subjects my first year, I had to add a fourth to make up for the fact that I couldn’t fill up my schedule due to my module choices and consequent timetable overlaps. Additionally, first year in arts has also proven to not be the best time for socialising in class—it’s rare to find someone you share more than one lecture with in the same semester, much less spot them in a crowd of over three hundred in a lecture hall that you visit only twice a week.
That being said, the arts programme will surely have your hands full with juggling multiple subjects. It’s a fantastic way to explore beyond your comfort zone, expand your horizons, and possibly find new inspiration and interest in something you otherwise would’ve never found!