My English major explained!

Okay, got that frustrating part of my day done. Paying medical bills, or rather trying to, turns out my HSA account will only let $2000 come out in one day, so now I have to call back tomorrow. Inefficient as hell, but that will be my last call and I now know to ask for a representative from the get go.

So last week Moon texts me and says, “Hey, your writing is pretty good, did you take a writing class?”  My response was, “Well, not exactly, but I was an English major.  So every time I wrote a paper, they wrote their comments about what they liked/disliked and I incorporated their feedback in my next paper, and so on.  So no, not exactly. (I also included a bit more about why I chose English as a major, but will explain that later.)  Then I said, “Was that too much info? Or should I have just said, “No”?”  Her response was, “No. I prefer more detailed answers.  It eliminates follow-up questions.”  And that folks, is why Moon and I are such good friends!  She values efficiency as well!  Love her!

Okay, so let me explain my “college major” history.  I started out in Pharmacy, but could never quite grasp chemistry. (I could never understand why the elements interacted the way they did and how they chose.  For example: Why does oxygen sometimes stand alone, sometimes bond with hydrogen, and sometimes bond with carbon?) Never got it and gave up. Next up: Mechanical Engineering. Just didn’t like it. Next: Movement and Sports Science.  Withdrew from Purdue and moved to New Jersey, but always remembered how I hated the walk from Lambert to Lilly in just 10 minutes.  Moved back from New Jersey: Psychology.  Hated the parking garage by my classes and never went to class.  Still got a C by attending first two classes, mid-term, and final. Yep, I can learn this shit in my spare time and spend no money.

Summary of years in between: I meet a grad-student who graduates and gets a job in Illinois. We move, I live there for four years, move back to a place that makes sense to me (Lafayette) and begin to re-evaluate things.  I decide that I want to go back to Purdue.  New problem arises.  What major?  Obviously, I have a lot of different interests and needs, so I narrowed them down to five and put them in a hat.  (I already knew which one I wanted to do, but I did this for fun.)  I pulled out English (the one I wanted).  Then, I sat there and said to myself, “No need to be THAT focused. Pick another. Nothing wrong with double-majoring!” Then I pulled out Political Science. Total score because those were my top two picks anyway.

So WHY did I want English as my major?  Probably not for the reasons you would expect.  First of all, it was my worst subject.  My English SAT scores were pitiful compared to my Math ones.  Second, I wanted to know how to write better.  Third, I wanted to understand literary references. (I had read virtually nothing classic and it drove me nuts).  Fourth, I was at a time in my life where I needed to be forced to sit down and read and relax and learn.  I really just needed to slow down.  Classic literature that I was paying for, forced me to do that.  I did this intentionally. I know myself.

I have already explained how my brain works, so put this in context.  I kept getting asked, “What are you going to do with an English degree?”  I don’t know. “Teach?” Nope.  “Are you planning on going to grad school so you can do something with this?” Nope.  I could go on, but I won’t.  Here’s what I walked away with from the questions and responses:  “Well that seems like a waste of money.”,  “Well, if you have no purpose, then why go?”, and “If you are not going to make a career out of it, why not choose something else?”

Why?  Because that was never my purpose to begin with.  See above explanation of WHY I chose English as a major.  (and I have also chosen to not be particular about sentences ending with a preposition. I think it is too academic and unrelatable to do so, when this is how we talk.  Sounds snobbish to make it correct and is totally unnecessary.)  With this in mind, I will get to my point.

Don’t presume you know someone’s motivation prior to asking your question.  Everyone presumed I was taking these courses to find a new career.  I was not. I was doing it for my own personal growth. And it was worth every penny.  No one ever asked me WHY I chose this major, they only wanted to know what I was going to do with it.

So people, please check your premise.  I am a person that never thought to elaborate, because that’s the way my brain works.  Instead, I was left with a sense of self-dissatisfaction because no one understood what I was doing.  Granted, I didn’t realize that at the time.  I do now.  So that’s why I am telling you.  Ask the right questions and you may get the answer you need to truly understand.


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