5 Life Hacks for English Majors

Majoring in English is not that easy. You have hours of reading a night, 15-page essays on the regular, and that dreaded question “What can you even do with a degree in English?” Here are a few life hacks to ensure financial, academic and social success!

1) Save money on books

Fifteen dollars a book, ten books a class, and four classes a semester – you might study the liberal arts but you can still do the math. That’s one expensive bookstore bill. Luckily, there are now alternatives.

The internet is full of websites with online libraries. My favorite site for ebooks is en.bookfi.org. With a database of over two million books, I have even found most of my textbooks on this site. If you want a hard copy of your textbooks, StudentRate has a price comparison search engine.



2) Save time by downloading audiobooks

Listening to audio books is the easy way to get those assigned readings done. I listen to them while I’m driving, putting on my makeup, or folding laundry.

I subscribed to Audible.com. A small monthly fee will get you access to a plethora of audiobooks. And, with a student discount, you can get Audible for three months and pay only $3.00.

3) Get free help on essays

Odds are your school has a Writing Center in the library. Pay them a visit! Visit in the early stages of your essay writing process to brainstorm, go when your half-way through and have writers’ block, or go once you’re finished and want to get your work proofread. No matter how skilled you are at writing, using this resource will improve your grade.


4) Make flashcards the easy way

This one helps with all subjects. I like it best when I’m trying to study names, terms, and titles. Get the app or go on the website studyblue.com. You can make decks of flashcards and then study them in several ways. You can type in a term, and Studyblue will give you suggested definitions to pick from, or you can enter your own. You can switch from phone to computer and share your flashcards with classmates.

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5) Form relationships

This is not so much a hack but more of a word from the wise. Build connections. Form a study group and meet before midterms. Make an effort to get to know your TA’s. Become friendly with them, after all, they grade most of your assignments. Go to office hours and meet with your professors. Get a feel for their expectations in the course and make a good impression. Can you say letters of recommendation?

Your education in the liberal arts will be greatly enhanced by the discussions you have with your peers, TA’s, and professors. Remember, you chose this subject because you want to open up your mind in a way only literature can offer.

Carissa Atallah

Carissa Atallah is pursuing degrees in English and Art at The University of California Merced. Recently returned from a semester abroad in London, she is passionate about learning and travel, and strives toward a career in writing.

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