How I Chose My Major: English Lit

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How I Chose My Major: English Lit

I love the spoken word and the English language. I love writing almost as much as I love reading, but, alas, they do not love me back. I’ve learned words I’ve never dreamed existed, from oxter to quidnunc to macadamize. I’ve learned to deal with my unrequited love.

After graduating with an English Lit degree, which my parents NEVER wanted me to get in the first place, I found myself without financial backing and with job prospects consisting of article writing on bidding websites and for content mills for little more than a penny a word. I couldn’t buy a new toothbrush with what I was earning.

After floating around aimlessly for a couple of years trying to make it in New York, I decided that waitressing while trying to build up to something was getting me nowhere. The expression in for a penny in for a pound almost fits what I did next: I went to grad school to study English Lit some more, not because I thought that I could make a living that way, but because student life beats the hell out of serving people pizza and at least I could hold my head up a bit while telling people that I’m earning a graduate degree.

I once thought that the rough and tumble life of a struggling young person trying to make ends meet in New York would build character and give me the kind of life experience necessary to write convincingly from many different angles. I’ve learned to be more independent, and I realize now how privileged and sheltered I’ve been all my life, but I’m still the same person, just a bit more anxious all the time.

Who knows, maybe one day I’ll find that that anxiety is exactly what I needed to push the truth out of my pen and really speak to people. Or maybe I’ll realize that it’s just making me age more quickly for no good reason at all. I still don’t know what I’ll do after completing my master’s. I didn’t get into any of the Ph.D. programs I applied to, so that’s out of the question. Maybe I’ll end up teaching English in high school, although I might need an education degree for that – I think it differs by state. If not that, I can always teach English abroad. I’m not sure that I want to expatriate myself (yes, I’m using that as a verb), but I’m not sure that I’ll have much of a choice, either. I suppose only time will tell.

english lit

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