On English and Uncertainty

The other day, a girl in my speech class asked me what my ‘plan’ was. I said “I’m an English major.” She looked at me like I had just told her I was going to clown school. Maybe that would’ve been a better decision in her eyes.


Girl: English?

Me: Yep. English.

Girl: Oh, well, I’m a Business major. So I’m like, guaranteed a job. English is like, not a guaranteed job. Doesn’t that like, freak you out?


At this point I’ll spare you the pain of this whole conversation. But basically, English is not a guaranteed job. Which is fine. Does it freak me out? Yeah, a little. But I feel like it’s worth it. I’ve never been able to picture myself doing anything else. I’d never do Engineering, Science, Law, definitely not Math.

Do I know exactly what I want to do with my English degree? No. I don’t. But to me, that’s the beauty of the degree. You don’t need to know. There are a ton of different paths that you can take.

You wanna know how I know I’m destined to be an English major?

  1. I annotate books even when I don’t have to. I can’t help it. It’s in my blood. Close reading is an important tool! And it’s half a book’s beauty a lot of the time. East of Eden would be nothing without symbolism and themes. NOTHING.
  2. I believe in life symbolism. There are some things that are not coincidences. They’re just not. Think Great Gatsby and the green light. Things like this happen in the real world, people! I swear by it.
  3. I do character analysis of people in the real-life world. This is more of just a human thing than an English thing, but I think about it every time I meet someone or learn something new. How did they get this way? What did they mean when they said that? I’ve seriously written out character descriptions and developments for people I know. This is not a joke.

So aside from being born to annotate books like a crazy woman and trying to force life to be a big huge symbolic thing, there’s a lot you can realistically do with an English degree! You can edit (dream job), write (2nd dream job), work in PR, Human Resources, Marketing, Customer Service, there’s so much! SO. MUCH.

*Side note: I had an English teacher tell me once that you should never write in all caps because it’s ‘unbecoming’. Well, screw it, I’m unbecoming in every other way, why stop there? Just a thing I think of every time I do it. Anyhoos.*

So listen, fancy Business major. I appreciate your dedication to your major and your future life’s work, but gimme a break, okay? I’ll figure something out, and if I don’t, I have a friend who’s studying fancy science and will let me live in her attic or something. So I’ve got this all figured out.

Also, another point: why she cares so much about what I do with my life is a mystery to me. If it’s out of genuine concern, then thank you very much, Business major. I appreciate your heart. If not, go learn how to build an empire and be a CEO or something.

The point of this post in particular is this: Do whatever you want. You will meet a lot of naysayers who will let you know exactly how stupid they think you are. They’re going to tell you that you’re not being ‘practical’ and that you need to ground yourself a little more. And I’m going to say that while I think it’s important to use your brain and work out the logistics of whatever you’re doing, there’s no shame in doing something that isn’t guaranteed! Actually, I think this could be more important than doing something guaranteed if it’s something you feel in your heart of hearts is right. Cliche, I know. But it’s true!


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Look here at this girl. Let’s use her as a model for life-living. She has no idea where she is (I know this because I was there and we were crazy lost), she has no idea what could be down the road, she has no idea all of the things that could happen and/or will happen. But she looks like she’s enjoying it. What a concept, right?

DO WHAT YOU WANT, FRIENDS. WRITE IN CAPS. BE AN ENGLISH MAJOR. BUILD A BUSINESS EMPIRE. OKAY?

A short, cliche post for Monday, but so be it.

Share your success stories with each other. With me, too, if you have them. I know some pretty successful people who were not guaranteed that success. Take a risk, take a chance, make a change (you finish the song lyric).

You know whose success wasn’t guaranteed? Kelly Clarkson’s. She did it tho. YOU CAN TOO.

Okay friends, goodnight. Have good sleeps. Have good tomorrows. Have good lives.

Thanks for reading!

-Aub

 

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