The Pros and the one major Con of being an English major
English is what you make it
I finally took that big step last year: declaring a major. Unlike others who attend Emory, I chose to pursue my bittersweet relationship with English. English was not something I easily chose because of the frustration it caused me, but it seemed like one of the few things I had potential in to succeed.
As I have delved deeper into the world of English, I have learned quite a lot about what it takes to do this and how growth is actually painful!
There are many positives and negatives of being an English major, but I have decided to focus on those that have stood out to me the most.
Your brain becomes a super analyzing machine
Close reading has really taking over my life. In high school I knew that authors used symbols in their writing, but in college it is on another level. One specific detail can consume an entire class period. Plus, a diverse classroom can have multiple interpretations of that one symbol which leads to very lively and interesting discussions.
When I was a freshman taking the freshman writing course, my teacher constantly blew my mind daily with his close reading skills. He brought up things I would have never thought of before. English has taught me , thus far, that any analytical idea is never too extreme.
If you have the evidence to back it up, you can usually persuade many to see things from your point of view. My favorite part is experiencing how others deal with literature because of our different backgrounds. English has seriously inspired me to not only look at literature differently but any situation in my life.
Connections, connections, connections
Literature is the gateway to other aspects of literature. You can read something from one author that you can connect to another author. It is crazy how many times I have read something in my classes and the author has recycled another author’s work. Authors use poetry, myths, fairy tales, and anything else that has influenced them in a great way.
For example, I am currently taking a British Literature course and the professor teaches the class where there is always a connection or similar idea from the period before. This, too, blows my mind!
As I mentioned before, learning to analyze and critically think has caused some serious growing pains for me. At one point in my life, I though my head was going to explode and I just could not clearly understand the complex ideas in literature. I have not only learned to analyze but I have improved my academic writing and public speaking as well. Gaining confidence in this one area has allowed me to be more confident in mostly anything else I encounter. If I can experience sleepless nights and long papers, I can do anything else I put my mind to.
One of the greatest things I love about being an English major is seeing my growth from semester to semester. My professors, past and present, have all contributed to this increase in confidence. They have encouraged me to keep striving and to continue to think the way I think. I remember being a scared freshman that was terrified of expressing my ideas. I remember being a unconfident sophomore that was always frustrated with how “bad” my writing was. Now I am a rising junior that is not afraid to say what is on her mind and express myself to the best of my ability in writing.
The con felt by majority of English majors
“You are never going to get a job,” “What are you going to do with English?”, and “Why don’t you just pick something easier?” have all been phrases said to me.
Most people do not understand the greatness of being an English major. English equals versatility which results in many opportunities being opened to us.
Honestly, we can choose to be anything we want and still be just as successful as the next person.