English Major Manifesto
We are not a declining genre with no hope for employment after graduation. Our perception has merely been contorted by business-minded naysayers and well-meaning parents bent on bettering our future. We will not fall prey to this rat race for wealth and luxury. Literacy shall not be traded for profit as long we have anything to say about it. We are more than calculating robots incapable of original thought. Drying out the funding of our program is denying us the basic human rights of self-expression and captious evaluation, and we will not stand for it. Stability is unworthy of sacrificing our God-given talents as we strive to unveil the essence of mankind through the eloquence of written language.
Scientists thrust humanity forward, mathematicians keep us in check, and artists entertain. But we tie it altogether, making sense of life’s chaos for the present populous, while offering consideration and wisdom for generations to come. Words are our instruments. Paper is our laboratory. Our respect for the past creates a concern for the present, and this is a trait brought upon solely by literature and historical appreciation. English majors are soul-searchers, and this world would be lost without us. Within our minds is the key to true enlightenment, because we dare to ask “why” and “so what?”
We become educators, writers, editors, lawyers, publishers, journalists, novelists, poets, and CEOs. But we are also capable of much more, all because of our ability to adapt. We are found in almost any career because of our coveted critical thinking skills and unsurpassed creativity. We understand people, and relate to circumstances foreign to our own. We bring with us the beauty of language and literature, and are fully aware of how to apply it to any scenario life throws our way.
Do not be ashamed of your passions, and do not wander from the path you were born to travel. Read. For reading is the doorway to everything under the sun, and beyond. All genres teach valuable lessons and stimulate growth. Think. Set aside time each day to truly reflect, and then actively work to solve or better understand a problem; no matter how small. Write. Always, write. Even if the words do not make sense at first, they will lead you somewhere wondrous. It is through this process your creativity flows. Repeat. Continue to repeat the process everyday. You must not worry about following a particular pattern, because through actively reading, thinking, and writing, you will evermore develop a better discernment of yourself and the world around you.
Get lost in your Dickens, Tolkien, Lewis, Dumas, Austen, Twain, Shelley, London, Poe, Cather, and Stevenson. They made an everlasting impact on society. Who is to say you cannot do the same? This mortal life occurs only but once. How shall you spend it? Locked away in a cubicle? Performing the same tasks day in and day out? Caught up in a degree that pleases your family and spouse, but drains away your happiness one day at a time? Managing a business that, intentionally or not, financially wrecks the future of society through illusions and schemes? That is fine, if it suits you. By all means, be my guest. The government may try to lure your minds towards the sciences for financial gain and power. Any statistic-based article you read on college majors will cite the fact that Bachelor’s of Science degrees are more successful and financially favored than Bachelor’s of Art degrees. What choice do you have?
Ah, but you do have a choice, and with an English Major, you will have more than one. When it is all said and done, would you rather look back on all the money you made, or all the lives you changed? Does a large retirement fund appeal to you, or a well-rounded life that sincerely made an impact? Do you want to hate every minute of your nine-five job so you can retire to your mansion in the evening, or be shocked that it is time to return to your two-bedroom apartment because you have been so enthralled with your work for the day? I, for one, knowing no career is truly perfect, would rather savor my occupation. Make a difference.
Why write? There is no precise answer. I write to create a sense of clarity in regards to thoughts circling around my head. Your unique writing voice is one so far from your own, yet somehow it mirrors you in many aspects. Only by wandering through blank, white pages can we unlock ideas, unfettered by fear of repercussion we would otherwise experience through verbal communication. Write because there is much to be discussed. People will avoid meaningful communication without thinkers and writers to stir the pot, as we inquire about the difficult questions. Concerns will not be voiced. Lives will not be changed. Epiphanies will not be revealed. Heightened levels of awareness will never be reached.
Ultimately, we should major in English because it makes us enraptured, and it is something we feel called to. We cannot live without it. Risk everything to be unforgettable. Revel in life’s simplicity. For it is the small moments, not the big checks, that take your breath away. Speak clearly, and write well. Most importantly, create. Color outside the proverbial lines of life. You are more than a statistic. More than a salary. Alter the criteria. Be free. Dream. You may come to find that you will not be broke doing so. And I guarantee you will be rich in happiness.