Life of an English Major

I sat in the library this afternoon writing a paper and loving every minute of it.

That’s the funny thing about us English majors. Most of us actually enjoy homework. Yes, sometimes the amount of required reading you have to do and the amount of printed pages your printer has spit out can get a tad overwhelming. But every once in a while, you remember why you like your obscure major so much.

Quiet moments in the library on a Sunday afternoon are amazing. Today I picked a table nestled in a little reading nook equipped with a couch and a view of the clock tower and got so much work done. I could just zone out, occasionally people watch, and critically analyze Henrik Isben’s Hedda Gabler and Moliere’s Tartuffe in peace. It was a beautiful day and I was passionate about my topic. Nothing’s better than your paper effortlessly coming together; it just kind of goes. These are the days that just make me so happy I chose to be an English major.

One of the downfalls of the lifestyle (yes, lifestyle. It’s not just a major) are the questions.

“So, what are you gonna do?” “What grade are you gonna teach?” “Why would any one want to do that?”

Here are my go-to responses:

  • I’m going to do whatever the heck I want. I used to think I had to have everything precisely planned out, but not anymore. While most people see no options with an English major, I see an endless amount of career possibilities and “next steps.” Life doesn’t have to be mapped out by the time you’re 22. It just doesn’t work that way.
  • Not all English majors want to be teachers. I’m not in any way ruling it out of my future, but It’s not my first choice.
  • Because I love it. I am one of the few people who chose a major because I love it so much. It’s not “practical” by society’s standards. I simply enjoy it so much that I chose to take the majority of my classes on the subject. Because of these classes, I feel so prepared for the real world–no, really, I do. I know I can write efficiently,  keep a deadline, and work my tail off to get little details just right. I also know that sometimes your work isn’t perfect, and it’s ok to accept that every once in a while. Not everything you write will get the stamp of approval–just like not everything you do will be please everybody.

To my fellow English majors: be proud of what you do and who you are. We’re a different breed of people. We love a good story, procrastinate like crazy, and always end up getting some awesome work done. We’ve overcome red-ink-stained papers, biting feedback, and picky professors. We’ve persevered through writer’s block and survived late nights. We’re diligent, quirky, and really thinky. Not a word, but it fits.

In short, English majors, I’d say we are pretty awesome. Enjoy your quiet library time and bask in the contentment that only finishing a major paper can bring. You earned it.

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