People always ask me what my major is and when I tell them it is English Literature, they almost always tilt their head slightly and say, “So…what are you planning to do with that then,” or they may make a joke of it and say something like, “Oh but don’t you already know English?”……..
English, just like most humanity “College of Arts and Sciences” subjects seems to get the short in of the stick, being perceived literally as a blunt ending to a lot of money spent at the University and yet in the job world today companies continue to desire more interpersonal and written communication abilities from their workers or potential highers. Companies put a lot of weight on the kinds of skills studying English gives a person, yet the field still is not typically thought of as being as important as ones like engineering.
In my experience, having English literature as my major has benefited me in more ways than I can count. The critical analysis skills required of someone studying in this field are tremendous and such ways of viewing literature and one’s own writing inevitably gets transferred to the way they view life. This not only makes for a person who does not take the world for face value, who questions conventional wisdom, but it also gives that person a way to articulate what they see in a professional and intelligent way.
Studying in this field promotes empathy, understanding and compassion because each literary text read demonstrates in some way the capacity of human lives, the struggles that exist in those lives, and simultaneously begs questions like what it takes to overcome adversity in a world such as ours. Reading literary text makes the reader part of a world they may have never known existed for a short while and asks of them to only truly see.
English is my passion, my love and it is what drives my ambitions and makes me feel whole. It forms my ability to understand the world. In writing I have found my voice, but in reading I have developed my ears, I have developed my inner sight, and I have found no better way to understand who I am in relation to everything else.
This is why I study in this field. This is why I would promote taking English courses to anyone who asks about them and I hope that you will discover the same amount of passion in these classes as I have. I guess the moral of this story is…well don’t count English out just yet!
Thanks for reading,