The English Major’s Guide to Life.

Over the years, I’ve realized that being an English major is not an easy business. For your reading pleasure and for the sanity of English majors everywhere, I present The English Major’s Guide to Life.

1. Forget about watching movies with the family. You’ll spot a sustained metaphor throughout the film, mention it, and then everybody gets mad because you “read too much into it.”

2. You won’t spend a dime on new clothes or groceries, but you’ll spend with reckless abandon in a bookstore.

3. You’ll start using literary insults. My favorite: “You’re as common as the highway.”

4. The mention of the phrase “refrigerator box” will conjure images of your luxurious future home.

5. If you’re seeking work in the academy, the fact that tenure-track jobs are few and far between doesn’t dissuade you. In fact, you’re pretty certain you’ll land a job.

6. Money doesn’t matter. All you need is books and a loaf of bread.

7. Sleep doesn’t matter. See #6.

8. You will begin close reading everything: advertisements, billboards, wallpaper colors.

9. You’ll look outside and start repeating “I hear America singing.”

10. If you fancy the Medieval era, you’ll consider becoming an anchoress. No one will try to dissuade you.

11. “If only I had more bookshelf space.”

12. Oh, and everything’s a metaphor. Everything.

What would you add to the list?


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