Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Remnants of 24: Being a Reader, a Writer... & an English Major

It's been about 8 months since I've returned to English as a major.
And, I guess maybe the most important part is that I'm doing fine, grade wise.
But maybe that's not the most important part.

I always felt like I was home when I was in English class in elementary & high school.
I was that kid who always carried a book around & used big words in conversation, just because I knew the definitions.
I used to read the dictionary every night before I went to sleep, for god's sake.
When I was in 9th grade, my English teacher realized how much I loved to read, & took an especial liking to my writing.
She stole a copy of The Catcher in the Rye from the English department at our school, & made me promise to give it back after I read it.
That was 10 years ago, & that same book is laying next me in my bed right now.
I'm pretty sure it was that book that made me decide to be a writer, or at least commit more time to my writing.
But I think that's another story for another day.

I can remember laughing at my peers in high school because no one knew what they wanted to do with their lives.
For me, it was easy: I was going to be an English major, write some books & live easy.
Maybe I'd even get a PhD while I was at it.
Anyone who has kept up with this site knows nothing in my life has gone according to plan.
And that's okay because I made it full-circle, back to being an English major.
But now I'm struggling again, & this time, switching majors is totally & completely out of the question.
So what went so wrong?

Being an English major can be really shitty, depending on what your interests are.
I didn't know that until two semesters ago when I took my first theory class.
All I care about is creative writing.
I write a lot of short stories & poetry.
And then, of course, I have whatever this site is.
Since becoming an English major at the university I attend, all I've been doing is learning grammar & theory.
Grammar is fine, but I did all that shit like 6 years ago when I was an English major the first time around.
Theory is a fucking headache & it makes me want to drop out of college all together.
I used to be a sociology major & I hated it.
For those who don't know what literary theory is, it's sociology.
When I was in community college, straight out of high school, every English class I took allowed me to express myself through my writing.
To this day, the best class I've ever taken was a 6 hour creative writing course offered by that college.
The school I'm in now has no creative options for undergrads or graduates, & it's making me wonder if I should even stick around any longer.

Like I said, my grades are fine.
I got a 4.0 last Winter semester.
But when I think about it, it's because the one class that was offered required me to write a ton of short creative pieces, & my professor really enjoyed my writing.
I understand theory.
I just hate it, & because of that, I feel like I'm wasting my time once again.
If I had stuck with sociology, I would've had a bachelor's degree two semesters ago.
But I chose the path I thought would make me happier.
And it's not.
And I don't know what to do.

Being an English major is hard because you spend all of your time doing what people assume you live for: reading & writing.
But you don't get to choose the books you read, & writing research papers can often feel like you're raping the literature.
I hate when people assume I enjoy writing research papers, or reading 35 page scholarly articles about Shakespeare.
I don't.
I like to read books I'm interested in & create alternate worlds of my own.
Being an English major leaves so little time for both of those things.

I feel like I end every semester by saying "I don't know if I'm going back".
I have this terrible fear that I'm wasting my life doing things that don't make me happy.
The only time I feel stupid is when I'm at school or doing school work.
That shouldn't be the case.
Especially since this has always been my major.
I think what this ultimately comes down to is taking responsibility for what it is I want to do for the rest of my life, and how the fuck to get there.
I can't spend the rest of my life chasing a degree that clearly has no interest in me.
Time to start goal setting.

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