So, you're considering being an English major, huh? Before you do, there are a few things you need to understand like any other major. If you like to read with a passion, dive into details that no one else would notice, or like to write about said details or even write stories or poems of your own, this may be a pretty good major for you. If you don't like reading though, you may have a bit of trouble.
English majors are often overlooked and seen as an easy major, that one major where you're guaranteed to get all A's, or something you pick cause you "just get to read all the time." These are not correct. Like literally any college major in any university, English is not the easy way out and requires a tad bit of work. There's memorization, there's reading, writing, putting your ideas and thoughts into understandable sentences that you can actually share with others and fully provide evidence to support your own ideas. For some, these things come naturally but for others, it's just as much work as any other major you may consider. So, you want to be an English major? Make sure you're ready to expect these things.
1. You're going to read A LOT
This should go without saying but you shall be reading A LOT for MULTIPLE classes. Depending on how many literature classes you take at a time, you may be reading anywhere from 3-8 books A WEEK! Your homework consists of reading 120-500+ pages at a time. If the book is short, you'll probably finish it by the end of the week. And if not, prepare yourself accordingly.
2. (And you have to ACTUALLY READ)
Most of your classes will consist of going over what you read, so, you will have to actually read the assigned pages so you can succeed and get that "easy" A! And take the advice from me that once you miss that one homework of reading and decide to make it up later, you may find yourself falling further and further behind and may not be able to catch up no matter how hard you try!
3. Plus, you need to pay attention
Sometimes reading can just be looking at the words on each page but not actually taking them in. You need to PLEASE make sure you actually absorb the words! I know, I know, you're reading a lot and sometimes it's just too much to take in. But you gotta! Take notes, make comments, do what you need to do to pay attention to what you're reading instead of just putting your eyes on the paper. Because this brings us to the next point of...
4. You're going to make your own thoughts and ideas
Part of being an English major is that what you read can be turned into opinions, not just science definitions and fact. What you think can be endless. Sure, Sparknotes can tell you what's a metaphor and that ivory is symbolizes the greed of the Europeans in "The Heart of Darkness," but anyone can just google the simplest ideas. As you read, you need to think for yourself and not just go off what the internet has said, because everyone already has heard it. You'll never learn that way, and when you're ready to talk in class or write an easy, you'll get stumped. Pick out all the figurative language, make comments and notes on what's interesting, whats symbolic and meaningful, and what works well, because that brings us to our next point.
5. You need to prepare for conversation in class
Unlike most classes where you sit in a boring lecture and only answer one or two questions when asked, English classes are based a lot on discussion. For those who are on the shy side, this may be a rough part. Most classes will consist of going over the readings together, sharing ideas and comments, and, unfortunately, major participation questions. You will have to prepare to talk in class and have actual conversations with your classmates, it's not all about taking notes and reading textbooks! Because you'll have to read and keep up with all your work, you may need to get used to.
6. You have to get used to staying up late
Listen, you'll be reading a lot, and writing a lot, and you may be wasting your afternoon at during your professor's office hours talking about whatever shocking happened in that Jane Austen novel. So, late nights are very expected! Just make sure you don't fall asleep while reading at your desk, and never read in your bed or you'll be soon asleep! But in the end, it all may be worth it because you can really expect...
7. You're going to grow as a writer
Lastly, expect to grow! Your mind, you as a person, your ideas, and more. The more you read, the more you write, the more you discuss in class, the more you grow! You'll learn words you never bothered to use, or grammar mistakes you've never caught before, and you may find yourself finding writing easier and more natural, as well as reading more details in real life. You open yourself up to see and think for yourself, and you may find yourself evolving into a version of yourself you didn't see coming.
And no, you don't have to just go on to be a teacher.