So I realized that I have been discussing all the reasons people should read and some information about studying literature, yet I never explained my personal experience in the matter. As a kid, my mom used to read to me. I read the typical kids books like Dr. Seuss but my absolute favorite as a child was Jesse Bear, What Will you Wear? and Baby Beluga. These were rhythmic books where it almost seemed like a song while reading. I still to this day can recite all the words to Baby Beluga. As I got older, I obviously got into more advanced books to read, bouncing here and there from series to series. To be honest, I don’t really have any extremely memorable chapter books that I can say changed my life as I usually always read for pleasure. When I was done with a book, I would pop on to the next one and the next. Though I cannot pinpoint every book I read, I can say that I was always reading.
My best subjects throughout school were always English (obviously) and math, so it came as quite of a shock when I decided to pursue a science degree for my college career. I had always had a passion for animals, bringing home every stray that I could get my hands on and begging my parents to let me keep them. Being a veterinarian then made sense at the time. I decided to pursue my degree at SIUE in biology with a minor in environmental sciences. My first semester, being a late transfer, I wasn’t able to get into any of the introductory courses for the biology major so I took a chunk of my environmental classes. I enjoyed my semester and got straight A’s (I’ve always been an over-achiever at school). My second semester came along and I signed up for all the bio classes. It wasn’t long into the semester for me to become completely miserable. I dropped out of most of the bio classes, keeping the bare minimum to stay enrolled as a part-time student. I ardently researched various majors at SIUE, desperately trying to figure out where I would fit in.
Finally, I thought I had it figured out. I met with the School of Secondary Education within SIUE determined to become an elementary school teacher. I mean, it made sense. My mother has been a teacher for over 25 years, though she was a college professor. I always enjoyed school, so why not be in school forever? After meeting with the adviser for the program, he told me the requirements. I eagerly nodded and picked out my schedule for the upcoming semester. “Now you have to pick a minor as well,” said the adviser. “Let’s take a look at something that interests you in the list here.” He pulled out a long list of minors. Though I had already started the environmental sciences minor, I wanted no part in the sciences due to my terrible meltdown giving me a trauma against them.
“What about the English literature minor? I was actually an English Litt minor back in the day and got my masters in it,” he suggested. I looked at the required classes for the English minor and agreed for that to be my new minor. Finally relieved of the misery of biology and science, I left the office with an exasperated sigh.
Later, I was preparing to officially enroll in my classes. So many of the education classes had prerequisite courses that were all full so I was very limited on what I could take. I began perusing the English classes for the new minor. There were classes like Detective Fiction, Creative Writing, and even a whole course dedicated to Harry Potter. It was hard to choose my favorites. I wanted to take them all! A crashing epiphany hit me. If I was getting so excited for the English classes, why not major in that?
I didn’t want to be stuck with an unusable major after graduation. After all, most English majors are stereotypes as automatically wanting to be teachers. I wanted to make sure I had options. A quick Google search of what careers were open doors with an English major solidified my decision (check out this link for a list if you are curious). My first semester as an English major was even more satisfying. Now I am graduating on May 6, 2017 and couldn’t be happier.
While I took the long road to find out what I wanted to do, I couldn’t be happier with where I ended up. I joke with everyone that I made a total 180 with my decision of starting as biology and ending in English. I am not saying that EVERYONE should become an English major, because I’m not going to lie, it’s actually really hard work. I spend a much longer time on my homework than when I was taking those environmental classes on behalf of all the reading and writing. However, sometimes my homework doesn’t feel like work. I enjoy writing and, most of the time, I love the novels that are assigned. Switching to English honed my passion that I had all along from my childhood and made me love what I do.