Thursday, June 18, 2015

Life as an ENG Major: 10 Things I Learned My First Year

A few months ago I finished my first year as an English major. I'm learning so much and there's so much to think about that I decided to write some posts about life as an ENG major. I really enjoy it and I can't imagine majoring in anything else, but there were somethings I had to get used to and other things that I had to just accept. Here's a list of 10 things I learned my first year as an English major.

You are not going to like every book
As much as I want to love everything I read, the truth is that I probably like less than half of it. Some of it just isn't my type, while others are just really difficult for me to understand. The main thing is that I try to get SOMETHING out of what I read. Maybe it's a quote, an idea, or another example of a certain era or archetype.

10 page essays are not hard when you know & like the topic
I am dead serious. I was nervous the first time I had to write a 10 analytical essay, the only time I had written that much was for a research essay in a composition II class. That teacher made the point that since we were students our thoughts didn't matter, we were only supposed to write other sources' thoughts and cite them. When I finally got to write a paper on what I loved, I had a lot of fun with it!

Talk to your professors
When your taking classes in your major, you're going to see a lot of the same teachers. These people know their subjects and they know their field, if you have questions then ask them. Some teachers are more approachable than others, so choose the ones you feel most comfortable around. I once asked a teacher how Bleak House was first published and she talked to me for a half-hour about serialized publication of Victorian novels. It was awesome!

Everyone is prejudice towards some type of fiction
You don't like YA? Well, I don't like poetry. We're even. Although other students may not like the same books as you, all of you have a love the written word in common.

Literature teachers & Creative Writing teachers often define the term "literary" differently
First day of creative writing, my professor talked about what "literary" fiction was and why it's the only type of short story we're allowed to write. The same day my critical approaches to lit teacher wrote a bunch of book titles on the board which included Toni Morrison, Stephan King, and Twilight. She asked us which ones were "literary". The answer was all of the above.

If you want a job go into technical writing
This is something I hear all the time. I, of course, went into Literature and Creative Writing which means that I can get a job in law. I don't know why, but that's what the Literature department keeps telling me. Seriously. The reality is they just don't know what to do with us.

Literary criticism is hardcore nerdom
It may put you to sleep, but think of how much these writers study their book(s). I think it's awesome and that's why I actually enjoy reading and writing it.

Literature is everything
As a Literature major I'm not just studying books, I'm studying: history, philosophy, psychology, politics, religion, culture, and so much more. Books contain the world, and we get to study it.

Keep an open mind
You think you won't like a book or a class? Well, you might be wrong. You never know until you try.

Have Fun
Seriously, you're an ENG major. If you're not having fun then why didn't you pick something practical? It is school, so it's unrealistic that you're going to love every moment, but always try to enjoy what you are doing and what you are learning.



  1. 1. OMG I hate poetry too! 2. It sounds like you've learned a lot of things during your first year! I'm so excited for you! My first year starts this September and I'm not completely sure what I'm majoring in - maybe Biology, maybe Neuroscience. It's no English, so trust that I'll be jealous of you the entire year haha. Here's to a great next year of college!

  2. Great post! I was a graphic design major but English would have been a nice pick for me as well. Honestly, I hated graphic design but stuck with it. History or Literature would have been much better for me. Now I want to go back to college, thanks to your post. Haha!

    Cayt @ Vicarious Caytastrophe