I’m a self-proclaimed bibliophile. My earliest memories are of my mother reading to me out of Dr. Seuss or the Bible. Often, people tell me I have the “look” of a person that loves books. Maybe it’s the thick glasses or the limited wardrobe. When I was in high school, I knew I was meant to be an English major. Some people just know these things, and thankfully, I was. Now, as I enter the final weeks of my undergraduate career, I can look back on my time as an English major and smile thankfully.
Despite my love for books and the written word, many others have deemed the selection of an English major as frivolous or even unnecessary. Though I participated in my college’s department of education, and received certification to teach 5-12 English/language arts, it was for my love of learning, not because I’m an English major. All too often, English majors get wrangled into the “wannabe teachers” column, and anything short of a career in education is viewed as silly. However, I believe that the English major offers students much more than a foundation for education, but a foundation for life.
1. Read better. This is a no-brainer, but the more you read, the better you become at it. I’m not the same type of reader I was my freshman year. Now, I’m better prepared to detect metaphors and deeper themes within texts. I firmly believe that people who read well do well in life.
2. Write better. Thanks, Sarah. We know this. Of course you do. But once again, the more you write, the better you become. The other day, I read an essay from my senior year of high school. I won the “Senior Writer of the Year” award for this paper, and quite frankly, it doesn’t reflect the writer I am today. I’ve come a long way in my writing skills, and I still have a way to go before I achieve a scholarly level.
3. Discuss better. As an English major, I’ve learned that because of my avid reading, I have lots to talk about. Though many of my friends are not English majors, we all enjoy discussing books with comparisons and contrasts. A career as an English major provides excellent conversation.
4. You can be anything you want. You don’t have to be a teacher when you choose an English major (contrary to popular belief). You can be a doctor. A lawyer. A seminary student. Name it, you can do it. English is also an interdisciplinary major that can be found in almost every other subject. Try to find it next time you’re in a non-English class.
5. It’s dang fun. Let’s be honest, the life of an English major is enchanting and fun. On a daily basis, English majors read of far-away lands fantasty or of the perils of modernism. You can become and anchoress or someone utterly frivolous. Perhaps that’s the best thing about the English major: the opportunity to be placed in a different world for a short period of time.
Of course, there are many other reasons why the English major is important. If you are or were and English major, what do you think is important about studying English?