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10 Things You’ll Only Understand If You’re An English Major

10 Things You’ll Only Understand If You’re An English Major

As an English major there are certain things that only other English majors can understand. This is a list of just some of those things.

English majors have to put up with a lot more than people realise. It’s not always just fun and reading and can be pretty stressful at times. These are some things that only an English major can understand.

1. That every single person on your course also wants to be a journalist

When you first go to University you’ll feel so proud at already knowing what future career you want to go into. Journalism. But once you actually arrive, you’ll quickly realise you weren’t the only one with that idea. And if fact, the other 100 people on your course had the exact same idea as you. How original your future career and life feels now. Sometimes it’s enough to put you off the idea all together.

2. And if they don’t then they want to be a teacher

If you’re lucky enough to meet a few people that don’t want to be journalists, then they’ll most likely want to be teachers. English can be a course with plenty of career opportunities, but it seems that everyone can only think of 2. And if you like children then guess what, you’re going to become an English teacher.


3. If you had a pound for every time someone asked you if you wanted to be a teacher…

Whenever someone finds out that you’re an English Major, you can guarantee that their first response is going to be ‘Oh, so what do you want to do with that? Be a teacher?’ It honestly gets tiring hearing this all the time. And when you tell them you want to be anything but a teacher they always seem shocked that you even have other options with an English degree. Who knew?

4. No matter how hard you try, you will never let go of Sparknotes and Shmoop

Sparknotes and Schmoop were the highlights of GCSE English and even A level, no matter how much your teachers told you they weren’t ‘proper sources’. But oh, how wrong they were, and this doesn’t stop at university. It just means that now once you find a fact on Schmoop you also have to find it written in a scholarly article to cite. Great.

5. Knowing that when they say, ‘there is no wrong answer’, they’re lying

Going to University to do English is a massive step up from A level and GCSE but you’re always comforted by your lecturers telling you that there is no wrong answer and that every answer in English is right. Lies. They’re right that English is so subjective you can’t really be wrong, but you can certainly be different levels of right, and finding the perfect level is impossible as all teachers mark differently and think different ideas are the best ones to have. It’s impossible, I tell you.


6. Giving your essay to one teacher and getting an opposite reaction from another

After making a specific essay choice to focus on two main ideas in detail instead of three vaguely, I was informed by my tutor I had definitely made the wrong decision. Queue another English student doing the same essay who made the supposedly ‘correct’ decision, only to be turned away by her tutor and told she should have focused on two detailed ideas instead. There really is no winning and the subjective nature of the subject is definitely a disadvantage to anyone who is an English major.

7. Having to listen to the audio book just to try and understand the old English

When starting English as your major, you’ll most likely explore the earliest centuries of literary texts first. You’ll open your first book just to see pages and pages of complete gibberish and nonsense written inside and wonder how you’re ever supposed to analyse it, yet alone understand any of it. Alas enters the beauty of the online audio book, sometimes read in modern English opposed to the implausible nonsense on the page in front of you. A true saviour amongst English students.

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8. Having no one take your subject seriously

Probably, the most frustrating part about taking English as a major is the constant assumptions that you chose it because it would be easy and is probably a subject for the lazy. However, they could not be more wrong. At my university, only English majors get a reading week each term because we need the extra time to complete the sheer amount of work we are set, and catch up with the mountain of reading we’re given.

9. When people are happy to make fun of you taking English but ask you to proof read all their work

These people truly are the most annoying as they will constantly make fun of you for your easy subject, yet as soon as they have some coursework due in they need your help. I don’t think so my friend. You’ll have to go at this one alone from now on.

10. But you actually don’t mind because you love nothing more than pointing out other people’s mistakes

Only joking! We’d absolutely love to read your work and point out all the grammatical errors you’ve made. Can’t think of a better way to spend our evenings in all honesty. You’ll only get this if you’re an English major.

Are you an English major? What are some things only you get? Tell us in the comments!
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