In Defense of English Majors

From the time I was in sixth grade I had wanted to become a writer so an English major was the logical choice for me. I don’t regret it. It has been very rewarding  both personally and academically. However, since my freshman year I have been second guessing its practicality. When people asked me what I was going to do with my English major I told them that I wanted to be “a writer with a roof.”

I have been taught to believe, and to a certain extent taught myself to believe, that English was impractical from a monetary standpoint. On occasion, when I’m feeling stressed, I picture myself living in a cardboard box or moving back in with my parents. I don’t think this anxiety is unique to English majors. We all worry about what we will do after college. We cringe a little when someone asks us that question and we have no clue. However, since English is such a general major we don’t have a prescribed career path. That’s good in that we have to go find one ourselves and its bad in that we have to go find one ourselves.

It’s a specific form of English and other Humanities major nerves. But it’s absolutely worth it if you’re passionate about it. First off, it teaches you how to think in ways you would never have imagined going in. For instance, in my American Literature class we’re learning about the post-modern conception of reality—that there is no reality and all there is the projection of the artist meant to fill the void. It’s a cheerful little topic. Second, you get to meet people who care about the same things you do and then have conversations about sea-monsters w/bird beaks. And most importantly, you get to do what you love.

The nerves don’t go away though. You just have to learn to live with them. Tell yourself you’ll at least get two cardboard boxes for the winter. And if need be you can write graffiti poems on the subways, give commuters something to look at besides swearwords. If that doesn’t work you can write a blog.

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About lmcginnis

I'm a senior here at UPS . I'm working towards an English major and a Spanish minor. I love any kind of creative writing; I'm president of the Writers Guild. I'm working on completing my thesis, a novella titled "Like Butterflies." It's about a witch-figure who can take away people's memories. In my free time, I like to practice karate and read Agatha Christie.