In our last Major Monday post, Mrs. Ducharme wrote about her own college major (psychology…read about it here!). I decided to follow her example by writing about my own major in this post, and how I came to choose it. This entry tells of my experience as an English major! Hopefully it speaks to those of you who are considering English, and provides a little inspiration to those of you who are still undecided.
English was not my first major, nor was it my second. First came psychology, then art. Neither major really fit me, though. Both subjects interested me, but I wasn’t passionate about either one of them. English should have jumped out to me as a obvious choice for a major since I always loved to read and write, but it didn’t. How come? I didn’t realize all the job possibilities out there for English majors. True, a prospective employee may not care that you read The Canterbury Tales in its original Middle English text, but he or she will certainly appreciate your ability to analyze important documents and write well. The possibilities for what you can do are limitless.
My English major led me down a path that included reading for hours in the library, visiting Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon, seeing plays at The Globe Theatre in London, and being invited to write a 40-page thesis on a topic of my choice. I loved every minute of it (well, almost!). So, my advice to students who are undecided on a major would be to study what you love. It will lead you somewhere! When I decided that I wanted to go to graduate school to become a guidance counselor, I wondered if I’d wasted my time studying English. Shouldn’t I have stuck with psychology? It turned out that my coursework in English lent itself well to the counseling field. For four years, I had been studying characters, stories, and looking for themes – things that a counselor does on a daily basis!
Most colleges offer an English major, but you should check to see if their programs match your areas of interest. Here are a few schools that offer the major: Gettysburg College (my alma-mater! Gettysburg, PA), Brown University (Providence, RI), Boston University (Boston, MA), Kenyon College (Gambier, OH), University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA), Amherst College (Amherst, MA).
To learn more about majoring in English, check out https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/english-language-literature-english