What I’ve Learned as a Language and Literature Student

What have I learned during these eight semesters?

Donny Setiawan
5 min readAug 2


Photo by Charles DeLoye on Unsplash


When I first decided to go to college, at first I never had or had the slightest idea that I would take a major that had something to do with education, languages, and even literature. Absolutely not.

When I was just graduating from high school or about to graduate from high school, the only thing that popped into my head was: become an artist! Painter! Artworks! Stylist and free life!

In short, I am a person who has a practical minded attitude.

If I cannot excel in formal education, then I must become an artist who has a flexible mindset, is not rigid, and has a free spirit.

For that, I REALLY want to continue my education in art! Whatever the major, the most important thing is that it has to do with things related to art (such as drawing, painting, and capturing all forms of beauty).

Problems begin to arise, when circumstances (reality) are inversely proportional to dreams, dreams, and aspirations (which are still abstract). Yes. Material problems. Studying in the arts (in particular, majoring in fine arts) is INCREDIBLY EXPENSIVE.

So that in the end I felt inferior, and never had to bother about it again because ‘not all dreams are real’. So, for a year I did absolutely nothing. Just spending time with video games, social media, and daydreaming. Yes, dream!

From my habit of daydreaming (actually this habit has been born since I was in the world, and maybe it still exists until I wear a beard and mustache like this) on the other hand, I also like to create works, such as writing.

Writing at that time call it prose. Start with a story with the theme of historical fiction or fantasy.

I started to consistently write, which at first just wanted to finish the paper.
Rooted in the sequel to The Lord of The Rings film trilogy, I finally got to know J.R.R. Tolkien, then encouraged to read his original work in the form of a book with thick pages.

From here, my bookishness began to grow, even though the first book I read was The Silmarilion.

After two years after graduating from high school, I finally made a unanimous decision, that the pleasure of writing is good to be developed again by starting from scratch.

At the same time, after my dream of becoming an artist or painter failed miserably (due to costs and physical conditions), I chose to major in Indonesian Language and Literature Education.

Even though at first I didn’t know what a major labeled ‘Education’ was, I was optimistic at that time because I was motivated by ‘Language and Literature’ there.

Plus, ‘Indonesia’. If I don’t learn Indonesian, then with what will I write later, and have the opportunity to become a writer?

In the first semester, a new problem arose. Carried back to the failure to become an artist or painter, apparently the label ‘Education’ listed in the direction is the meaning of ‘Teachership’. Ouch, I thought.

Had fallen into the same abyss, the same atmosphere, and the same failure. However, this time it was as if it had been ‘plunged in half’.
Finally, I blame myself, again. Until, then I have to fight with self-despair (dreams and reality can never be reconciled).

Until you get to the point of giving up, and leaving your wishful thinking because you feel you always lose to reality. It’s better to drop out of this wrong direction than to live half-heartedly.

Haven’t got there yet. I thought too hard at that time, and thought that ‘I am alone in this world’, so the decision seemed immature, and childish.

Then, came the people who brought me to this day, which became my reason for continuing to pursue this higher education major. Only one step left before finally getting a bachelor’s degree.

I never stop giving thanks for what has happened, and in the end, I keep writing!

Is Learning Language and Literature in Higher Education Relevant to the Dream of Becoming a Writer?

Apparently not as easy as what is conceptualized in the head. Majoring in Language and Literature Education seems like it has branches that can be divided into three, namely

First branch: ‘students are taken to become teachers (the main focus of this department)’

Second branch: ‘students are taken to understand knowledge of language’

Then the third branch: ‘students are taken to master the field of language media, such as literature.’

At first I thought it would fall on the third branch. However, thanks to Saussure’s thinking and Semiotic theory (a term in the field of Linguistics), I fell in love with the second branch, namely: ‘understanding the science of language.’

In my opinion, interesting! We learn to use language but it is language itself that is ultimately studied. Like ‘study thinking about how to think’.

Things I’ve Learned During These 8 Semesters

1. Linguistics

Why is it important and very crucial for someone working in the field of language, such as a writer, reader, or even a poet to at least know or understand the concept of the language itself?

This is because, in the fields of language and literature, it mostly discusses the study of language as the object of study.

Saussure is a gentleman figure who has explained specific forms of language. So detailed and practical.

2. Language Analysis

Mid-term in college is enough time for students to think about working on projects.

Closely related to ‘Standard Language’ which is still side by side with Linguistics.

However, students often find problems with overlapping concepts. Between linguistic concepts that are already familiar in the country with new concepts that are more westernized in General Linguistics.

Sometimes, one and the same concept can be used two or three terms. Even though the point is the same.

Both standards in language can support the author’s performance in completing his literary work. So that there are minimal errors that are very common, such as typos, spelling, and the use of punctuation marks.

3. Research

Research is the final process of a student on his way to study at a university.
The author himself is sometimes less sensitive to phenomena that occur around the environment.

Research is conducted to observe, analyze, and make reports as well as how to overcome problems that occur in society.

That is, don’t forget the tridharma motto of higher education: education and teaching, research and development, finally community service.

4. Education

Being involved in education does not rule out the possibility that students are also required to know the education system.

It’s not just about producing competent teachers, both in personality and intellect. However, also have awareness of education itself.

Why is education important?***