You know that one question that gets asked constantly when someone mentions, “I’m an English major?” To answer that question: No, I don’t plan on teaching. In all honesty, when I chose my major the thought of teaching never even crossed my mind. I’ve met a lot of English majors who always knew what they wanted to do with their career and writers who began writing during their childhood, but I didn’t start until my last year of high school.
Flash forward a couple years later and here I am, an English major.
I took my time making the decision to become an English major because I never imagined I would. I’ve always had a passion for taking care of animals, no matter the species, so I had planned on going to veterinary school. The moment I first fell in love with animals stems from the most vivid memory I can remember from my childhood, during a trip I took to Mexico with my family.
As a child, I had befriended a stray dog. I stood outside our broken down RV on our way to our campsite when I saw a Rottweiler a couple feet away from me. His fur appeared patchy, and he wore a scratched-up silver chain around his neck. He roamed the streets freely, no leash to restrain him. I approached him. I felt very brave at eight. I stood only inches away from him as we stared at each other, never breaking eye contact. At that age, I stood only an inch or two taller than him, but still I hadn’t hesitated to extend my arm and pet him.
Over the next couple of days, he would come visit me for food and water. My grandparents didn’t grow so fond of that once he started to bring more of his stray friends around, but in that instant, I knew I would go to veterinary school.
That thought started to change in my sophomore year of college. I went to my advisor and told her that I planned to study biology. When she handed me the list of classes I needed to complete, I felt discouraged. I didn’t want to take chemistry, physics or calculus. In all honesty, I can’t do math to save my life. I still use my fingers to count every once in a while. Now ask me to write 10-page paper in one night and I will live to see another day.
In that moment, I remembered a quote someone once told me which really made an impression on me. They said, “If you pick the right major for yourself, you will find all the classes enjoyable.” Looking at my schedule, I knew for certain my next semester and the rest to come would only make me miserable.
When I got home that day after meeting my advisor, I slumped down on the couch for a few hours, deep in thought with a sense of defeat. I knew whatever I decided, it would make a huge impact on the rest of my life. I asked myself, did I really want to learn about a certain animal’s anatomy, or did I really just love animals?
On the other hand, I liked English because I enjoyed all of my classes and met some amazing teachers and professors along the way. I always found myself wrapped up in a book and unable to get away because, as cliche as it may sound, creating my own stories and using it to express myself through beautiful prose makes my day brighter.
One of those professors I had met made us watch The Dead Poets Society. A character from that movie said, “Medicine, law, business, engineering; these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life but poetry, beauty, romance, love…these are what we stay alive for.” This made the decision to choose English as my major easy.
The next day I went back to my advisor, slammed my schedule on the table, and told her I wanted to major in English. I haven’t regretted it since.
I still struggle with what to do with my major in the future. However, now I know you can do a lot with an English degree. It applies to such a broad spectrum of potential jobs opportunities, that it makes it difficult for me to pick only one.
Just as I struggled to choose a major, I also can’t decide on a career. Lately, I have thought about writing a book and transforming into the next J.K. Rowling, but every day I also find myself more interested in journalism. Like Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and The City, I’ve always had a fire for fashion and trends. Who doesn’t dream of living in the Upper East Side of Manhattan with a closet full of the most expensive shoes, from Louboutins to Prada, and joining the exclusive glitterati scene? Maybe it will happen, and I’ll write for a big and glamorous fashion magazine, perhaps even Vogue.
Then again, I might end up getting a job as a teacher. I guess I’ll find out eventually.