“Useless English Major”

Audio Edition Coming Soon!

 

Being an English major is a little of a running gag in my family. Out of all my siblings, I have the highest level of education and (so far) the most years in school. Yet I also make the least amount of money and have the lowest expectation of career advancement. Usually it’s just good-natured teasing, the way one expects from siblings. I indulge in it myself from time to time, but even my self-deprecating humor has taken on a sharper edge. As the years roll on, it just doesn’t seem funny anymore.

I recently read an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal entitled, “Is Majoring in English Worth It?” The contents were pretty much what I’d expected: a half-mocking look at how the value of an English degree has declined dramatically even as the cost of college exponentially increases, making it “the most regretted college major in America.” But I hadn’t expected the intense wave of bitterness that swept over me, a deep sense of resentment that something I spent six years, thousands of dollars, and untold amounts of stress attaining, a skill that I am good at, can be summarily dismissed as the butt of a bad joke.

So, like a good little Millennial, I shared some of my frustration on social media:

I got some sympathetic faces in response, which was about all I had expected. But then my friend David asked a very poignant question:

“If you had a time machine, what would you do differently?”

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My Take on Writing Classes (and School in General)

I have always loved learning.

That being said, I have also always hated school.

Individual classes, individual teachers, individual ideas I have enjoyed and gained valuable knowledge from while in a school setting.  But the institution itself?  Loath it.  Despise it.  Repulsed with a vengeance.  Abhor with a passion.  Trust me, college is not for everyone.

Since school has started up again for many people, I thought it would be appropriate to broach the topic of writing classes.  I’ve had a mixed bag when it comes to writing and English classes.  My parents always encouraged reading and writing when I was homeschooled and I had a wonderful English teacher, Mrs. Ware, in middle school who was still old-school enough to make us do vocabulary, spelling, and grammar exercises.  (To this day, I can still spell “amalgamate” without help thanks to her.  ^_^)  In high school, my literary highlight was Fiction/Poetry Writing with Mrs. Turner.  I adored that class; it catered directly to my interests.  In fact, where my friends and I sat became known as “the Fantasy Corner” because we were all obsessed with that genre, and with J.R.R. Tolkien’s works in particular.  I learned about different poetic forms and took my first jab at writing short stories, so Fiction/Poetry Writing exposed me to some new writing forms and encouraged my creativity.

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