So you’ve figured out the answer to the question “Why study literature?” and you’ve decided that a degree in literature is the thing for you. But the literature programs you’re looking into don’t really kick off until a student’s later years – sophomore, maybe even junior year. What can you do right off the bat to aid your path to becoming a literature student? Check out these tips for prospective literature students to set yourself on the right track!
Dust off those writing skills
If you’re interested in becoming a literature student, you may think that it’s going to involve all reading and classroom discussion. But you’re going to be using your writing skills too! While literature does indeed focus on the reading and understanding of English writing, a good majority of the way you will deepen your understanding of literature is by writing nonfiction essays about it. One of the best tips for prospective literature students, then, is to keep your writing skills from getting rusty even before you get into your literature courses. See if you can take a writing class or two to improve your writing prowess, or start a literature blog and focus on writing compelling, well-constructed pieces on literature.
Learn to read analytically
In becoming a literature student, you’re going to be doing a lot of analysis on the works of literature you read. You may enjoy reading for pleasure and think that you’re ready for the literature workload, but the actual coursework in a literature class involves much more intensive engagement with the material in the form of applying critical theories, genre tropes, and more to the understanding of the work. To get a head start in this skill, try reading annotated versions of classic literature that raise various questions on the writing and get you thinking!
Get an early internship
You don’t have to wait until you’re immersed in literature courses to show your interest in the career path. Look for internships in the publishing industry or mentorships with writers to help you understand the working world of literature before you even take your first class! Your professors will be impressed by the amount of practical knowledge you bring with you on your first day of your literature courses.
These tips for prospective literature students will help you get started in the right direction before your actual study of literature even begins. Stay focused and you’ll be off to a great start in your studies!