Harumph!

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"Its instructors are among the lowest paid of any who hold forth in a classroom; most, though possessing doctoral degrees, are ineligible for tenure or promotion; their offices are often small and crowded; their scholarship is rarely considered worthy of comparison with "literary" scholarship. Their work, while crucial, is demeaned."
            William M. Chase, "The Decline of the English Department"

Well... that's not good.  I'm glad I have something to look forward to if I ever make it in my dream job.

At the beginning of this article, I just kept selfishly thinking, "Well, it's sad that less people appreciate English, but at least that means less competition for me, right?"  However, I didn't take into account that the reason people have stopped studying literature is because of the fact that the amount of job opportunities are declining.  I just thought they were more concerned with making the big bucks and that was it.

Now that I think about it, though, I'm getting tired of the criticism I receive when I say I'm an English major.  Even more I decided this was what I wanted to study, I was always criticized for considering anything that wasn't related to science.  I did flip back and forth between humanities and science, just because I'm interested in everything, so I guess it's understandable for people to have said, "you either want to be a neuropsychologist or... do something with English?  Oh," given societal expectations.

In high school, I always went to my chemistry teacher because she was very adept at giving students advice about college, regardless of whether it was for science or the humanities.  However, any time I mentioned something other than a scientific field (I guess she had different expectations for me than other students, because she never criticized them), her face would become very serious and I could tell she was trying not to judge me and be supportive in a way.  She'd say "oh, I see... well what are you going to do with that?" as she tried to pull me back to chemical engineering or whatever field of study it was during that conversation.  Maybe that's why I changed between eight different majors from the time I applied to SHU until the second week of freshman year. 

Societal expectations are frustrating.

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2 Comments

Sounds like coming to a liberal arts university was the right choice for you. An unusual minor and an internship or two will open up a lot of doors. But as a discipline, English does face these social pressures you mention, and I'd rather we discuss them than ignore them.

Aja Hannah said:

I came against a similar problem with my science teacher in high school, though I didn't particularly care for her class. (To clear it up, I do like the sciences, just not some teachers.) I told her I wasn't going to take her Physics class. I was instead going to take an Internship in Creative Writing and a Journalism course. She told me I'd never get any scholarships or get into a good school. She tried to have my sisters and parents persuade me to take her course.

I hope to one day make more money than her doing something I love with my English career and (as mean as this sounds) go back and rub her face in it.

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