6 Misconceptions Everyone Has About English Majors

6 Misconceptions Everyone Has About English Majors

No, we are not all wearing glasses with our heads buried in books.

English majors are many things—writers, people swamped with books, sometimes grammar nerds—but more importantly are much different than most people perceive us to be. We are not all automatically bookworms, nor are we all “grammar nazis" (many of us actually despise them, like you do). We may read and write quite extensively, but many of us have passions on interests completely outside the writing field, such as I, who enjoys broadening my profound interest in science and computers. I am writing this because I have seen many people judge English majors to be literature-obsessed bookworms, living very introverted lives writing on our typewriters–just as much as I feel inclined to represent a certain overture to a future career.

1. I am not a Shakespeare Geek

English majors dread whenever they get asked something regarding Shakespeare after declaring that I'm an English major, whether it’s which book they like best, what they think of his writing, or some bizarre question about him as if majoring in English is synonymous to majoring in Shakespeare. We recognize his importance, but we wouldn't all say that we're the biggest Shakespeare geek. While I do enjoy the uniqueness of his writing, Shakespeare’s work is quite irrelevant to what I am trying to master—writing with modern day grammar, editing, and researching--and I can only fixate so much on old English. Although it's interesting to learn how much our language has changed, reading Shakespeare, or any other old-age books for that matter, my English degree does not indicate an unlimited knowledge of Shakespeare.

2. English Major Does Not Mean Master of the Dictionary

As English majors, we naturally have a slightly more extensive range of vocabulary. However, this does not mean we know every single word in the dictionary, especially the most bizarre and uncommon words such as “Impignorate,” “alcazar,” or “umbriferous,” (all of which do exist), and all of which my own computer did not recognize, nor will they ever need to be in my vocabulary or the vernacular. A 60-year-old English Professor might offer a vast knowledge of such vocabulary, but certainly not us undergraduates. English majors strive to learn as much vocabulary as they can, and they can only absorb so many new words--many of which are nearly redundant to use in even research essays--so please, do not expect us to be a talking dictionary.

3. No, I am not learning a language I already know

Most English majors have heard at least a few strange responses about their major, and how some people think of it as being an extension to a language they already speak, as if it's somehow a foreign language. Although we all speak and know English, there's a lot more to grammar and writing style than we think we know in high school. In college, I have learned facts about the history of English that I never learned throughout school and which changed my view of English; I have learned how to restructure unfathomable sentences; I now understand how complex writing can be; and I have also been taught how to maximize your writing style. English majors are taking what they already know, and really expanding on it in every way they can.

4. I am not the "grammar police" either

Some people take “I’m an English major,” as ‘oh no, I have to impress them with perfect grammar,’ or 'they're probably going to think my writing is awful.' I have had some people jokingly apologize for making a grammatical error in their speech, do so on purpose, using advanced vocabulary incorrectly, or even making up a word. I am not going to dictate your every word; I do need a break from all the editing I already have to do. Although my brain does feel almost wired to like proper grammar and be disturbed by a horribly-written sentence, I will not freak out at a mere online message or expect everyone to be able to write as accurate as an English major.

5. Sorry, I cannot write your essays for you

Any English major will get the occasional (in a joking manner) “oh you should write my essay for me,” and truthfully, even if students were actually allowed to do that without getting in trouble, we have far too much writing of our own to do. Hence, this imaginary suggestion gets a bit tiring, mostly because it’s never a possibility. If they are serious, I don’t fancy the idea of doing work that will be credited to someone else, nor am I interested in getting in trouble and risking my college career.

On the other hand, it doesn’t always ‘suck,’ to have to write as many essays as I do, knowing how to write well. Telling me that it must ‘suck,’ to do that much writing doesn’t help the situation, but I really don’t mind the practice. After all, I am an English major because of my passion for writing.

6. It is absolutely not a boring major

People think of English as just perfecting your grammar, but I can assure you it is far more than that. Yes, we are taught to master grammar, but that is only one of many, many skills we learn. We are also taught how to decipher all kinds of writing, reading in between the lines, and how to interpret difficult text in an easier way. We learn to communicate the best way we can, whether by email, documentation, or interpreting information, and we learn how to perfect emails, resumes, proposals, and speeches.

Being an English major has taught me so much about communicating and further understanding even the most complex writing, and I've come to realize that studying English will help me way more in life than just with a job. We might have more reading than the usual extensive load all majors have, we might have to learn some boring grammar, and we might have a harder career path, but we work hard to achieve our dreams and make it as writers.

This article serves as a joke; none of the above truly annoy me, they are simply things I notice upon saying that I am an English major.

Cover Image Credit: pexels.com

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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