Why I'm Majoring in English Literature

My grandma has this tendency to start making small internal groans when she finds fault in something someone else says. Most recently, this occurred when I told her of my plans to major in English Literature. “But.

..” she said, treading carefully around the subject, “…will you get a job with such a degree?” I see her point.

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What companies see the value in a student who’s spent several weeks studying the epistolary narrative of the eighteenth century? The juxtaposition of Darcy and Lizzie? The didacticism of Catholic authors? “I don’t know,” I said, finally. “However, it’s something I’d like to do, and, at this point, I think that’s all that matters.” I think that people should try to apply this doctrine to the choices they make in life. Do what you want to do; do what makes you happy (within ethical reason, of course)! In school, I’m constantly faced by people with amazing talent in a certain area, often non-academic, but all are reluctant to admit their passion in fear of future implications of taking on such a ‘dilly-dally’ major. It’s silly, really, how little attention we pay to what we really want to do, and instead choose to take on something that might not be our favourite option, but something that appears more ‘prestigious’, ‘safe’ and ‘intellectual’.

I myself used to consider taking a degree in Law. I wanted to have career options, I wanted to be well-paid, I wanted to be taken seriously… could I seriously achieve all that with a ‘measly’ degree in English Literature? Truth is, I don’t know.

I take this blindness as proof for my passion. Really, I think that’s all one needs, when going into choosing areas of study. Choose something that you are eager to learn about; to challenge yourself on the premises of an interest. After all, you’ll most probably end up doing something you enjoy. I’m hoping that with a degree in English Literature I can end up doing what I enjoy doing best: reading and writing. Whether this be at a publishing house, a news publication or bent over a blinking word document at a desk hidden under toppling stacks of manuscripts, books and magazines.

.. I don’t mind. Why? Because I would be happy knowing that I chose an area of study that let me go deep into epistolary narratives, character ties and double entendres.