I am approached often with questions as to why I chose to become an English literature major. I've always been fascinated with books and writing comes as naturally to me as breathing. Because I find it tedious to answer this question often, even if someone doesn't have ill intentions for my answer, I decided to explain exactly why.
Books are, in a way, magical because they can transport a person into another world without leaving their own world. With the turn of each page lie words created and used to state facts, teach lessons, and tell a story. Many students groan when their teacher tosses them another reading assignment due at the end of the month. I was one of the few students who’d snatch the book off of my desk and read the back cover immediately. I walked around high school each day with a book tucked under my arms, ready to continue where I left off whenever I could spare a few minutes. The school librarians knew me and always let me know when new shipments of books were in. Every time I returned a book to the school’s library, I’d walk out with three more books to read (we weren't allowed to take out more than three books at a time. At my public library, I usually leave with four to six new books to read). To use the stereotype, I’m a bookworm, and it’s been this way ever since I could remember.
My mother influenced me to start reading at a young age. She herself read books as an adolescent, and still does regularly with a full-time job and being a mother to three teenagers. Wanting to be just like my mother in any way possible, I began to read books for leisurely fun when I entered middle school, just like she did. Upon my mother’s recommendations, I started reading a few of Judy Blume’s novels. The way that a book would come to life in my head fascinated me. The details in which an author set to describe the physical appearance of a character, to arranging words properly to express a character’s emotions, to a simple rainstorm, stimulated my mind, leaving me wanting to expand my horizons in the world of literature. Noticing my growing appetite for a story, my mother recommended me her favorite novels by Jodi Picoult, Stephen King, and many other popular authors. We bonded over our mutual love for books, and I’ll never be able to thank the authors of all the books my mother shared with me enough.
Shortly after my reading frenzy began, I started to write stories of my own. I had many ideas floating around in my head that I felt needed to be written down. When anger or sadness filled my soul, I took out my emotions through writing minuscule or complex poems. With each book that I completed, I gained new skills to better understand the art of writing. When my teachers assigned an essay to be completed, either in class or at home, I took that opportunity to show them how capable I am of writing properly. I never handed in anything that I didn’t put all my effort into. Receiving these essays back with nods of approval, I realized that reading and writing is something I am truly decent at and what I enjoy to do.
The moment of my high school career that made me realize that I had a talent was during my honors English class in my sophomore year. My teacher put our quarterly grades up on the smart board and because high school is such a competition, my class immediately examined all of the grades listed to see who got the highest grade. I wasn't paying attention to their chatter; I saw my grade and moved on. But then the entire class went silent and said, "Emily got the highest grade" and all eyes were on me. My initial reaction was shock because I considered myself an average student. Not a student that has the highest average in the class. I felt myself flushed with all the attention and kept my head down, making it seem like it wasn't a big deal to me. But in reality, this was my lightbulb moment, my huge revelation that I love English. Not only did I love reading and writing, but I was actually good at it. Could this be my niche? Most definitely, and this moment set it in stone.
Going through the application process of college, I had to think frequently of what I desired to major in. I had other interests in mind, but nothing as strong as what a good book made me feel like. Shortly after my tour of Elmira College, I decided that I wanted to major in English literature. Nothing makes me more content, relaxed, and at ease more than a beautifully written story. I hope that these stories that I currently call “recreational” will turn into something that is adored by many others. I dream of walking into average households, glancing at their shelves, and seeing my written works sitting neatly upon it. My muse is to become a writer that impacts young adults to succeed as writers themselves.
That is why I chose to pursue a bachelor's degree in English literature.