As any joint schools student at Oxford will tell you their degree is more work than others. As a joint-schools student, studying Philosophy and Italian, I sometimes look at my single subject friends with a sort of envious jealousy; it seems like I always have more essays, more reading and more classes than them. And it is true - sometimes a joint subject degree can be more work – simply because you have two different tutors demanding a similar amount of work each week (depending on how your course is structured). Fairly often I’ll find myself late at night with two essays due in the next few days, having only started the reading for them (although this may be more a product of my work schedule than the course…). Joint degrees, like any degrees at Oxford, are demanding, hard work, and mental-labour intensive – sometimes it seems more so than other subjects.
Not to put anyone off a dual subject degree – but, my point is, it may seem sometimes like you have an unfair allotment of essays.
However, as a joint schools student, in no way don’t consider applying for a joint schools degree! Very often I feel a sense of reward as I make a connection from one half of my degree to an essay in the other, or the enjoyment from freeing your mind from one module to having a newer, more invigorating essay to think about. The most enjoyable thing about studying a joint schools subject at Oxford, in my opinion, is being taught in two subjects by world leading experts – in the end, graduating with effectively two degrees, and while studying, the freedom of thought learning two separate subjects can give.
Of course, the trick to enjoying two subjects has got to be effective time management…at the end of my first week in Oxford, I bought myself about two planners, and a calendar for my wall. Partially probably because of my addiction to stationary goods, and partially due to the realisation of how many classes and lectures I had going on, as soon as I was able to write it all down it started to make more sense in my head. Speaking to my other friends who were also doing two subjects, mostly in the modern languages department, the thing which we all needed to keep on top of, was essays. However, I soon realised it didn’t just seem to be us – my friends only doing one subject also had a similar number of essays set per week, and by the end of the first term the workload started to look more even to me than at first it had appeared.
In the end, it’s about getting the most out of the amazing experiences Oxford can offer, by studying what you love – if for you that is two subjects, then go for it, and enjoy the combination the two different degrees will bring to how you think and what you study. If one subject is more of your thing, then go for that – you won’t be getting ‘less’ or ‘not learning as much’ as your joint schools counterpart – every degree at Oxford is varied and deep in what it teaches. In the end, it’s about what you most enjoy – and don’t worry about the workload – with effective time management, you can fit a lot into the relatively short terms.