I've written way too many articles about my major and I have some conflicting things. I also want to mention that I wrote an article titled "I Didn't Pick My Major, It Picked Me", and while this is still true and I still love my major, I'm just not sure or happy with everything. Let me explain, and start out by saying
I have mental illnesses.
I'm not going to go too much into detail about what, but the biggest one is depression. I get depressed about a lot of things, pretty much everything, so it's no surprise that college can be depressing for me as well. A big hit to my depression when it comes to college is that
I do not think I am smart enough to be here.
What do I mean by that, you may ask. In short, I feel really lost. But you're not here to read the short version. The long version is that I'm a junior in college, which means that I'm in my 3000 level and 4000 level courses. I feel incredibly behind my peers. For example, I'm currently in a class called Critical Theory where we study theorists such as Freud and Derrida. My peers and professor have these incredible discussions about ideology, interpolation, phenomenology, and ideas of post-truth. I can't contribute in the slightest because I have no idea what is going on. Obviously, I had classes leading up to this course but I still feel as though I went in blind with zero preparation. Is this the university's fault? Is it my fault? Regardless, I feel this guilt of it being my own fault. Most of my classes this semester are like this. There are references to Derrida in required reading and assignments that need me to use a theorist's eye to assess novels. I still feel so incredibly lost.
This may be the lamest reason for choosing to be an English major, but I picked it because I love books and I love to read. I'm currently reading "The Marriage Plot" by Jeffrey Eugenides for a course and it says "English was what people who didn't know what to major in majored in" (pg 21) and I found myself thinking "Am I one of those people? Because I can't do math and science is boring and history is too dry? Am I fooling myself into thinking I am more than that?" Maybe I am, but at this point, I don't really have any other choice. I've been at this university since 2015 with graduation looking like it could be in the summer of 2021. Switching again isn't a viable option because I have spent too much time and money becoming an English major. Even if I could switch, there's nothing else I could even fathom doing.
Sometimes I wonder if I should drop out.
It's not because I'm not motivated; the fact that I'm still here pushing through these thoughts should prove that, but I can't help questioning it. I've questioned it a lot the past year, especially after losing so many people in my life this past year. I think of the people I graduated high school within the sticks, seeing them stuck in a small town with no job opportunities and living awfully, and I try to convince myself that I'm doing this to be better than being stuck and I remind myself how incredibly blessed I am for this opportunity. However, it's really difficult to stay most days.
This may be cheesy or possibly idiotic, but the thing that honestly keeps me going through this doubt is my mom. I watch her sacrifices, her struggles, and how she overcomes the impossible. I see her working her butt off for me and for her. I see her being the most selfless human on this crumbling planet and I keep pushing in college. I want to succeed and get a well-paying job so that I can make sure that she's taken care of since she's always made me her priority. Maybe it's dumb to force something I don't feel is working, but I don't care at this point. I'm too determined for her to give up.
Another thing is that I think about "What in the world am I going to do with this degree?" I'm an English major, what am I going to do? I have no idea, I have zero plan. I keep wondering what my options even are. I keep telling myself "Well, I like my classes so I must be on the right track." This was true, until this semester. My courses this semester are sucking that optimism from me but they're required so I don't really have a choice. I'm just... lost.
You may have guessed it, but I was selfish and wrote this article to vent. That's the purpose of Odyssey: It's a place to share your voice. I know some friends who are in the same mindset, so maybe this will help them feel less alone. Maybe there are others that I don't know/ aren't that close within the same boat. Whatever it may be, I'll keep pushing on.
I know I'm very fortunate to be in college getting a higher education, I know this. I try not to take that for granted, but I know I fail. I know that this is just my path in life, even if I don't understand it right now. I also know that I've worked harder for this degree than most of my peers, due to my mental health. I know that, when I graduate, it'll feel so sweet and so worth it. But for right now, I'm in this mental pit. I'm trying my absolute best through it all and still trying. I still write my papers, complete my homework, and go to class. I allow myself to skip my classes one time a month to keep myself mentally sane and my grades up, and so far it works for me. All will be well one day, I just have to tell myself to take it one day at a time.