The Struggles Of An English Major

The Struggles Of An English Major

Even when we hate it, we love it.
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Like most English majors, I chose the subject because it is what I'm good at and what I'm passionate about. Since beginning my studies, I have already gotten a taste of the worlds of literature, journalism, and editing. An English degree is a multifaceted tool to have, and it gives you the option of various career paths. I have never doubted my choice for a second, but there have certainly been times where the countless projects, essays, and readings have almost gotten the better of me. Here is a list of struggles I think all English majors will be able to relate to.

Pleasure reading is no longer an option.

Despite the fact that pleasure reading is how most of us discovered our love for English, it is unfortunately something we barely have time for now that we are students. When you have to read 100+ pages for more than one class each week, the occasional Cosmopolitan article is the extent of pleasure reading you have time for.

The work we do outside of class

It's safe to bet that class assignments are not the only writing we do. Most English majors have multiple pieces they are working on outside of their course load, like regularly writing for student newspapers, blogs, or online publications. This means we are not only under the pressure of our academic deadlines, but other weekly deadlines as well.

The need to take full advantage of random bursts of inspiration

I'll let you in on a secret -- I wrote most of this article during an afternoon class. If you see me furiously scribbling in a notebook during class, as much as I'd like to say I am taking notes, it's more likely that I'm jotting down ideas for a story. Sometimes the ideas just don't come to us for days at a time, and sometimes when they finally do, it's when we're totally zoned out at a lecture.

We regularly edit our friends' papers.

We will always be the go-to friend when there's a paper that needs editing. Perfectionism is part of the job description-- we literally take classes on how to read manuscripts, edit for punctuation and grammar, and give writers constructive feedback. We really don't mind this much, either-- Sometimes reading someone else's paper is a welcomed break from re-reading our own work for what feels like the thousandth time.

Our laptops are almost physically attached to us.

English majors are arguably the most technology dependent group of college students. For one, all of our projects and writings are saved here. Just the thought of losing those sends us into borderline hysteria. Because news and journalism is such a huge part of our lives, social media is another obsession of ours. It is how we attempt to stay up to date on current events everyday. Basically what I'm trying to say is if you try to take away our laptops, expect us to put up a fight.

We don't just specialize in English.

We as English majors wear many hats, and have full belief in our skills in all subjects, not just English. Need your dreams analyzed? An English major's got you. I mean, we have studied the psychological approach, after all. We're basically psychology majors too. We are also knowledgable in the areas of history and different cultures. You don't just read To Kill a Mockingbird and various Shakespearian works without at least a little historical background. But don't worry, the one thing we won't even pretend we can do is math.

Being asked what we are doing with our degrees

We'll have you know, it is not a pointless degree, and no, we're not going into teaching. English is the degree for many important jobs in today's world, including journalism, publishing, and public relations. Although it may take some of us more time than others to find our place, we all eventually discover where we professionally belong with our English degree in hand.

The best and the worst part of being an English major is that as soon as we finish reading or writing one piece, it's time to work on another one. As tiring and frustrating as it can sometimes be living the weekly grind of an English major, it's our passion for a reason, and we could never picture ourselves in any other area.

Cover Image Credit: hercampus.com

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31 Reasons Why I Would NEVER Watch Season 2 Of '13 Reasons Why'

It does not effectively address mental illness, which is a major factor in suicide.
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When I first started watching "13 Reasons Why" I was excited. I had struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts for a long time and thought this show would be bringing light to those issues. Instead, it triggered my feelings that I had suppressed.

With season two coming out soon, I have made up my mind that I am NEVER watching it, and here is why:

1. This show simplifies suicide as being a result of bullying, sexual assault, etc. when the issue is extremely more complex.

2. It does not effectively address mental illness, which is a major factor in suicide.

3. The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention has guidelines on how to portray suicides in TV shows and movies without causing more suicides.

"13 Reasons Why" disregarded those guidelines by graphically showing Hannah slitting her wrists.

4. It is triggering to those who have tried to commit suicide in the past or that struggle with mental illness.

5. It glorifies suicide.

6. It does not offer healthy coping solutions with trauma and bullying.

The only "solution" offered is suicide, which as mentioned above, is glorified by the show.

7. This show portrays Hannah as dramatic and attention-seeking, which creates the stereotype that people with suicidal thoughts are dramatic and seeking attention.

8. Hannah makes Clay and other people feel guilty for her death, which is inconsiderate and rude and NOT something most people who commit suicide would actually do.

9. This show treats suicide as revenge.

In reality, suicide is the feeling of hopelessness and depression, and it's a personal decision.

10. Hannah blames everyone but herself for her death, but suicide is a choice made by people who commit it.

Yes, sexual assault and bullying can be a factor in suicidal thoughts, but committing suicide is completely in the hands of the individual.

11. Skye justifies self-harm by saying, "It's what you do instead of killing yourself."

12. Hannah's school counselor disregards the clear signs of her being suicidal, which is against the law and not something any professional would do.

13. The show is not realistic.

14. To be honest, I didn't even enjoy the acting.

15. The characters are underdeveloped.

16. "13 Reasons Why" alludes that Clay's love could have saved Hannah, which is also unrealistic.

17. There are unnecessary plot lines that don't even advance the main plot.

18. No one in the show deals with their problems.

They all push them off onto other people (which, by the way, is NOT HEALTHY!!!).

19. There is not at any point in the show encouragement that life after high school is better.

20. I find the show offensive to not only me, but also to everyone who has struggled with suicidal thoughts.

21. The show is gory and violent, and I don't like that kind of thing.

22. By watching the show, you basically get a step-by-step guide on how to commit suicide.

Which, again, is against guidelines set by The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.

23. The show offers no resources for those who have similar issues to Hannah.

24. It is not healthy for me or anyone else to watch "13 Reasons Why."

25. Not only does the show glorify suicide, but it also glorifies self-harm as an alternative to suicide.

26. Other characters don't help Hannah when she reaches out to them, which could discourage viewers from reaching out.

27. Hannah doesn't leave a tape for her parents, and even though the tapes were mostly bad, I still think the show's writers should have included a goodbye to her parents.

28. It simplifies suicide.

29. The show is tactless, in my opinion.

30. I feel like the show writers did not do any research on the topic of suicide or mental illness, and "13 Reasons Why" suffered because of lack of research.

31. I will not be watching season two mostly because I am bitter about the tastelessness.

And I do not want there to be enough views for them to make a season three and impact even more people in a negative way.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Cover Image Credit: Netflix

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A Theater Geek Takes Their Final Curtain Call

My last drama performance, another sad goodbye.
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As someone who has been in plays and musicals since first grade, it was hard to do my final curtain call. At my school instead of a spring sport you have the option of doing drama, so for the past four years I have been in Drama led by my favorite teacher: Mr. Eder.

Mr. Eder has been like a mentor to me for four years. Admittedly, my freshman year I was intimidated by him, but that was just because he takes no one’s crap. Sometimes now i look back on that and question it, how could Mr. Eder ever be intimidating?

He is a big softie. Four years with him and I am now almost one hundred percent sure of it. This year he decided that our play would be, “Ashland Falls." What a wonderful play for my senior year.

“Ashland Falls” is a comedy and a murder mystery all wrapped into one, an interesting combination. I personally asked for this play to be chosen solely for the plot. It was about teenage drama and I felt that we all could connect to it well.

Mr. Eder had chosen me to play the character Ava, she was very extroverted and a little crazy. She always expressed herself loudly and left some characters confused. I played Ava really well, maybe a little too well if we’re being honest.

Ava’s character was someone I could relate to, because of this there was a running joke going on that Mr. Eder type-casted me. My mom even joined in on the joke, once she saw the play she said there was no denying it.

I’m just as “dramatic” at home she says. I personally don’t see it. Though I will admit my mom has always said I had a flare for dramatics. The play is shown at my school for three day; Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:00

The first two nights were amazing, the audience was laughing so hard, it seemed like all our hard work was paying off. After each show my friends would tell me how interesting and hilarious it was, and how I did a good job playing my part. That was all I could ask for, I wanted to know that the story was depicted right.

Before every play we had a show circle, Mr. Eder would say some inspiring words while we all held hands. After that he would squeeze someone’s hand, and they would squeeze the next person in the circle. This would go on until the person on the other side of Mr. Eder would squeeze his hand too.

It was like sending energy on some sort of pulse around the room, my heart would pound in my chest everytime we did this. I had been doing this circle squeeze for four years, but nothing would prepare me for my last one. So Saturday has come, it is pouring outside, not as many people are there, but I still feel nervous.

It being mine, and a couple others last show, we were arguing on who got to squeeze Mr. Eder’s hands. There were three of us who really wanted to; Jordan, Linnea, and myself. Mr. Eder had a simple solution that made Linnea and I both happy, he held both Linnea and I’s hand in one and Jordan’s in the other.

After his final speech, he squeezed our hands for the last time. All of a sudden it felt as if the world was stopping while he spoke. I opened my eyes to see everyone else’s closed with their heads bowed.

My ears were ringing, my heart pounding, and Linnea was shaking next to me. Then as if I’m finally realizing what is going on, my emotions hit me like a ton of bricks. My eyes began to water and my throat feels dry, this is really it.

I am about to take my last bow, this is my last show. My last show on the last night of my last year. In a couple days, the people I had been spending all my time with, the people I had gotten closer to for a little over two months, would never see me again.

I was leaving, I am a senior, and graduation is two weeks away. This is goodbye, I’ll never get to squeeze Mr. Eder’s hand again.

My eyes were overflowed with tears as I sat backstage, my heart ached. Nevertheless, I smiled. I went out into the blinding stage lights and became Ava one final time. So sad, and yet so normal, this is goodbye. A Theater Geek Says a Final Goodbye.

Cover Image Credit: author's picture

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