17 Reasons Why Being a Comparative Lit Major is The Best Decision Ever

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Imagine that you’re walking through a busy street in Paris. It’s an average day of watching tourists speak in broken French, when suddenly, you lock eyes with the gorgeous Parisian man in front of you. More importantly, you notice the book in his hand, L’Étranger (The Stranger): one of your favorites by Albert Camus. You immediately strike up a conversation and spend the rest of the day discussing Camus’ ideas about existentialism. If this is you, chances are you’ve studied Comparative Literature. Still not convinced that this is the major for you? Read on and see all the reasons why you should hit the books.

1. You make connections

As a Comp. Lit major you spend so much of your time finding connections between literature that relate to all the classes you take outside of the major. That psychology class you’re taking? Yeah, you can totally see all of Freud’s theories present in all of William Faulkner’s characters. If these connections don’t make learning more fun then I don’t know what will.

2. You become a film snob

After all the film classes you take, you’ll feel like you could be an actual film critic for The New York Times. Watching movies will never be the same again because you’ll notice EVERYTHING from the soundtrack down to the play of light in certain scenes. Bonus, all your friends will come to you for recommendations (and you already thought you were cool). It’s hard to watch Justin Timberlake movies after being introduced to noir cinema.

3. You know how to pronounce everything on the menu

Should you ever find yourself in a fancy French restaurant you’ll no longer have to ask for an English menu…awkward… Chances are, with all the language classes you take you’ll impress everyone around you with your mad pronunciation skills. Yes, two strozzapretti with provencal terrine and don’t forget that expensive French wine.

4. You have a way with words

If there’s one thing you’re good at, it’s knowing how to create well formulated sentences. This makes you a prime candidate for winning every argument. More importantly, your favorite guy Shakespeare taught you how successfully woo the object of your desire. “I love you more than words can wield the matter, Dearer than eyesight, space and liberty.” Not bad, Willy.

5. You develop communication skills

Most people think Comp. Lit majors just sit around reading books and writing. Though partially true, discussion is also a big part of what we do. You learn how to actively listen to others and defend your ideas in a constructive environment through discussions of literary works, films and art. Throw that on your resume.

6. You travel the world

Both figuratively and literally. Comp. Lit majors focus just as much on history as they do literature. Your classes allow you take a trip around the world. Plus, we have some of the coolest study abroad opportunities. London and Paris are swarming in literary landmarks. Stratford-upon-Avon, Jane Austen’s house? Excuse me while I fangirl.

7. Your class sizes are smaller

I don’t know about you but nothing gives me more anxiety than walking into a 400 person lecture and struggling to find a seat. Most Comp. Lit majors share the classroom with no more than 30 other students. It’s much easier to voice your opinion without dozens of blank eyes staring in your direction.

8. You find new meaning in your favorite books

The Great Gatsby has been one of my favorite books since the 10th grade, but it wasn’t until college that I realized how much I missed during my first read. You could read that book 5,783 times and find a new detail every time. F. Scott Fitzgerald, you are a genius.

9. You learn to analyze everything

And I mean everything. The Great Gatsby isn’t the only thing you evaluate. More than once I’ve scared my roommate when I go all Dr. Phil and try to analyze her behavior. Sorry, I can’t help it.

10. You become a philosophical mastermind

Much of what you learn in Comp. Lit courses is centered around philosophy and questioning the world around you. We get to discuss the hard-hitting questions like, “What is reading?” and “What makes literature literature?” It’s almost like uncovering the secrets of the universe.

11. It’s completely innovative

Comp. Lit intersects with so many other media and disciplines like film studies, art, history, philosophy and anthropology. Unless you want to be in school for the rest of your life, you can’t possibly major in all these subjects. The major allows you to taste-test all of these fields and have the chance to relish in all their glory.

12. You get a cool nickname

Complitters. Yes, that actually is our nickname and yes…we like it.

13. Bookstores are your home away from home

I’m 100% convinced that I could spend the entire day in Barnes & Noble and never get bored. I go there so much that the employees know me by name. Nothing gets my heart going more than walking into a bookstore and being surrounded by hundreds of books. I’m like an addict and my drug of choice is books. Books…not drugs.

14. Your friends will love you

Friends will always know who to hit up when they need help editing their papers or coming up with ideas. I mean, why spend time in an overcrowded writing center when they have you around to help them? You can also introduce them to new things like your favorite books and movies.

15. Binge-watching is actually an assignment

Gone are the days where you’ll dread homework. In film classes, your homework mainly consists of watching films and writing down your thoughts. It’s great, especially when they’re films based on your favorite books. Oh, you want me to watch the entire Pride & Prejudice mini-series with the ever handsome Colin Firth playing Mr. Darcy? No problem.

16. You become culturally aware

The major exposes you to literature from a variety of different places and cultures that are more exotic than Green Eggs and Ham. Through these courses you learn how to understand other people who are different from you and how to embrace these differences. Since the real world requires you to be around different people, these are pretty good skills to have.

17. You discover yourself

Comp. Lit is more than reading and writing. Success in the major means immersing yourself into the world we live in by opening your mind to new ideas and perspectives. Whether through literature, film, art, philosophy or history, everything you learn in Comp. Lit courses forces you to understand yourself and the way you think in ways you’d never done before. As cheesy as it sounds,the major forces you to find yourself.

Elizabeth is a junior at University of Washington majoring in Journalism and Comparative Literature. She's always trying to be less sarcastic and always fails miserably. One time she met George Clooney and everything in the world made sense for those precious three seconds.

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