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.