Every time I was asked what I wanted to do with a B.A. in English, I wasn’t able to give a straight answer. Mostly because I knew the answer wouldn’t sound practical enough or give off the impression that I wanted to land a lucrative job immediately after graduation. I was also afraid of sounding unsure of myself or of where my future was headed because of all the things that I haven’t yet planned, but if you really think about it, who is ever certain about anything?
When it all comes down to it, college is about figuring things out and discovering the real you.
Now, I’m going to be completely honest about why I chose to be an English major.
Ever since I could remember, at least after I got past my problems with comprehension back in the Building Blocks days, I loved to read. In elementary school, I frequently read the Dr. Seuss books as well as many others, from 'The Rainbow Fish' to 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar.'
In middle school, seventh grade was all about the 'Hank Zipzer' chapter books that I had breezed through like they were nothing, and by eighth grade, I got myself into a handful of Stephen King novels (novels meant for adults) along with countless books mainly suited for young teens.
This was around the time when I had a healthy relationship with my nearest library and picked a few Zipzers out every time I went there! However, this relationship was short lived right when I got to high school and started to up my reading game when I was taking an Honors English class.
Though the class didn’t require this, I decided to buy my own copies of the books we were covering in class, and that was when my relationship with Barnes & Noble was born and still exists to this day.
Throughout high school, I was going through book after book, from fiction to science fiction – all the way to my now-main genre, Young Adult! My love for reading definitely spanned from and spilled into all the English classes I took over the years, so it was no surprise to anyone I knew when I told them that I decided to major in English upon entering college.
Now, when I say “it was no surprise to anyone I knew,” I mean that everyone who personally knows me knows that I love reading, given how on my best days I would be seen breezing through a book, maybe two, a week.
However, when people ask me why I’m studying English at college, as in what I wanted to do with my B.A. degree, I usually give out a short, vague answer along the lines of “I want to be a writer.”
The other person would assume I want to become an English teacher or pursue something in the publishing industry or journalism, and I would leave it at publishing (though I would be open to journalism as well). During these uncomfortable times in trying to present myself as an English major, I didn’t want to give out the whole answer, scared that someone would shoot my dreams down or even steer me towards something that I never wanted in the first place.
But now, here I am, about to reveal my true end-goal, the real reason why I wanted to major in English: I ultimately want to become a professional writer; I want to write for my living – from writing stories, poems, plays, screenplays, and, above all else, books; I want to be a novelist, first and foremost.
There, I said it.
Aside from getting to read new books in college, learning how to approach them and think about them critically, I also want to write creatively, learning about the different ways that my favorite authors have written, so that I can develop my own writing the way that I want it.
Ever since high school, specifically sophomore year, I have accumulated so many ideas for stories and characters that have always stuck with me, and taking these courses in English, paired with Creative Writing, will help me bring them out the way that I have ever wished to, the way that they deserve to be brought out.
My characters deserve to have their stories told, and before I can do that, I need to have my story told first.