I'm Not 'Brave' For My Major

Whenever I tell people that I have chosen to major in Creative Writing, the first words out of their mouths is usually along the lines of “oh you’re so brave, I wish I could have done that!”

This confuses me because I personally don’t view my choice of major as “brave” or anything really difficult to do. It’s not like there’s a rigorous casting process to select who is worthy of declaring this major nor is it necessarily a difficult major to complete. Most often what people mean when they comment on my “bravery” for undertaking this major is that I have guts choosing to go into a creative field where there is no set job or guarantee of easy money.

The thing is, and I’m sure my fellow Creative Writing majors would attest to this as well, we don’t go into this field expecting great reward or even moderate recognition. Most of us are in this field because we love the craft. We love being able to go to class and improve upon our skills. There is a certain comradery in this track as we all work together to edit and critique one another’s work. We all are there to help each other grow.

For a while I never even specified I was intending to go into this specific path, when asked about my major I would simply say English and follow up with that I plan to go into teaching maybe. I never planned to do this, it was just easier than hearing the judgment about what I really was doing.

There is also a certain dismissal of the major and those pursuing it, we are seen as a “fluffy” major, one that is not a providing to society as say an Engineer or a Doctor. To that I argue the value of stories in society is that they are used as a reflection of the current culture. The field of writing, whether it be fantasy, poetic, biographical or script, is used as a tool for social empathy and a way to garner discussion from the public.

"It will be a path that I know will bring me joy."

I, in particular, have a focus in creative nonfiction and at the moment plan to pursue a double major in Journalism as well. With these I want to be able to go out and help other people express their story. Sharing our lives with others through writing, no matter the genre, is true bravery, not electing to do this as your college major.

I am tired of the ignorance to this field as an opportunity post-high school graduation, as it seems more and more every day STEM fields are pushed down the throats of graduating classes. A world without those who can write and empathize and create is a world that can not function as a whole.

Every day in my major I get to work on my improvisational thinking, my ability to constructively work with others, my long term planning and refining skills and my social empathy. All of these qualities make me extremely marketable in the future for interviews or on my resume. And they help me to become a better person overall.

As I write this now, I can assure those who were worried about my decision that I am beyond happy with my choice. That’s not to say that this path isn’t going to be one without difficulty, but it will be a path that I know will bring me joy.

I encourage those reading this to be mindful the next time someone discloses that they have chosen to major in a less traditional field. They are very aware of their decision and they know they are going to be happy in the end. I also encourage you to take the risk if you want to. If there’s an art class you’ve been thinking of taking or perhaps an acting workshop, go for it. Don’t worry as much about the immediate payoff and value, focus on how they encourage you to become more of an individual and strengthen your creative ability.