Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Why Being an English Major Sucks
As some of you may or may not know I'm a college senior majoring in English. This may sound like a delight to us reading fanatics but as I've come to learn in the past four years it's more torture than anything. I decided to become an English major my senior year of high school. I was totally inspired by my AP English teacher and I wanted to be just like her. She made me appreciate books that I otherwise would've hated such as Madame Bovary and Jane Eyre (notice how I say appreciate and not like! haha). And she assigned homework that was fun and engaged with the reading. For example, for one of our assignments she gave us a list of Shakespearean insults and we had to write a letter to someone we didn't like using twenty of them. We read plays out loud and had to write poems in the style we were reading. While all of this sounds easy and juvenile, her class was the hardest I'd taken in high school. She graded papers with a too critical eye and always expected the best from us. But because she helped me see the beauty in words and how much fun reading and learning could be I always wanted to submit the best work I possibly could.
College, however, not so much. I often feel lazy but I know it comes from a lack of motivation. There's only been a few English classes that have stuck out in my mind and that I can say I was engaged in. Other classes just turn me off completely to the material that we're reading. We rarely explore the beauty of the actual words that were written settling instead for some deeper meaning that may or may not be there. Although I understand that a lot of heavier reading does contain that deeper meaning sometimes I would just enjoy talking about things in the books like relationships and imagery and why the books resonated with us personally. Also, I hate that we read a novel, talk about it, then never use it for anything else. I know that there is less time and more work packed into a semester than in a year of high school but just discussing things that don't really interest me in a book that may have interested in me gives me no motivation to read it at all.
There are so many books out there, "classics", that I would have loved to read in college but most classes focus on more obscure, heavier novels. While that may ignite a fire in some readers it blew mine out. Needless to say, studying novels hasn't proven to have been as fun and exciting as I would have hoped. And now I'm getting ready to graduate and I'm left with this void. Knowing that I've slacked off because of disinterest and knowing that there is so much more out there I wanted to explore but couldn't. I guess I'm just going to have to push myself to read and learn everything I wanted to on my own time.
With that sad post being over with...what are some "classics" you recommend? Do you have the same feelings with college/high school? Are there any books you read outside of school that you wished you would have studied in school?