Being an English Lit major has its perks and downfalls. You get to discover a wide array of literature that you aren’t that familiar with, yet your brain is on constant hyper reading mode to the point where the sight of another book can make you cringe. Here’s the “shocker” : A grand majority of us who major in english lit (such as myself) don’t find ourselves enraptured by Shakespeare or the thought of reading another novel. Rather, we’re in the program for either of the following 2 reasons : a ) we want to become a teacher /librarian or b) it was our second option . For people such as myself who fit into the latter group ( aka the B listers),here’s the top five biggest misconceptions about us English Lit majors :
1. We must LOVE reading. Anyone and everyone has this big misconception. Yes ,we do enjoy a good book every now and then, but it’s not something we live for. For instance, I’m far too distracted to finish a whole novel . Unless it’s a really captivating book (aka Lolita, Middlesex) chances are my mind will wander off and a bookmark will be held captive for months on the same page. Truth of the matter, we read as much as we can, and for the amount of books we have assigned to read, we succumb to reading the ones that interest us the most, while we skim through or Sparknote the rest.
2.We’re a bunch of snobby hipsters. There’s no denying that a large majority of people in English Lit sport the hipster attire from H to T which includes : Big black rimmed glasses, brown vintage shoes, occasional tuques in summer and pastel skinny jeans . Fortunately not all of us fall prey to becoming hipster fashion victims. We don’t situate ourselves at the nearest cafe scrutinizing people while hiding behind our mac computers. Similar to a high school clique, we come in different shapes, sizes as well as types.There’s a whole variety of us,including the fashionista’s who sport the LV purses and flat ironed straight hair, the reticent tightly woven ponytailed girls, the overly laid back dudes with the messy bed hair and two week old beard, and even the 60 year old intellectuals .Some of us are even humble creatures dressed in a casual non flamboyant manner who don’t give you the bitch please stare if you sit next to us. Moral of the story : don’t narrow us down to one stereotype.
3.We’re amazing at writing essays. Holy shit, biggest misconception yet. After four years of University, my main weaknesses still lies in essay writing. Reason being? The format. So much emphasis is placed on the alignment, structure and word count that it starts to overshadow the real emphasis on the actual content and takes away from the creativity of it. Not to mention, your brain is forced to concretize and think in terms of structuring your thoughts into “3 arguments” with the big ol’ thesis at the end of your intro paragraph. Some teachers even offer essay writing classes just to properly teach us how to write an essay. Let’s face it, it’s our Achilles heels . So much damn structure, so little freedom!
4.We are the walking spelling police. Okay, I’ll whole heartedly admit, that I’m a hardcore spelling police. I will correct your ass if I see a typo, it just comes naturally (see previous blog post about my experience talking to a Netflix consultant for more details) but surprisingly a lot english lit majors aren’t. A lot couldn’t care less and will even talk LYKE DIS and speak in lingo’s. Seriously, it even baffles me.
5.We’re artsy fartsy. I love how people associate being a english major major with being artsy. There’s no denying that writing is a form of expression and a creative medium which ties itself to a form of art BUT it doesn’t necessarily make you an artsy fartsy type. For example,some english lit majors are focused on becoming “technical writers” who spend their days editing papers and looking for typo’s. I don’t see much artistry behind that!
One conception that is true : We’re conditioned to over analyze texts. If we’re reading an excerpt from a book which states that the ” sky is blue”, in our minds we’re already trying to think of the connotations behind the phrase and what it could truly imply. We dig deep and that ties into our social lives as well. I will eventually write a post about us “overthinkers” and the best methods to follow in controlling this “bittersweet” trait .