Major Spotlight: Columbia English

To help undecided students get a sense of what different majors are like, this semester Her Campus Barnard/Columbia is doing a series of major spotlights asking people for their thoughts and experiences with different departments.

This week’s major spotlight focuses on the Columbia English major only and not Barnard’s. Thanks to Josh Garay (Columbia class of ‘21) for agreeing to be interviewed!

Her Campus: What’s your major?

Josh Garay: English (with a minor in education).

HC: What do you think of the department overall?

JG: The English department is fairly helpful and I’ve had a generally pleasant experience with it. Classes often link to each other and professors are (usually) understanding and engaged in their topic and in students' learning. There are more broad classes covering large topics (for example, 17th century poetry and the 18th century novel) which are larger, more lecture-style courses, as well as incredibly niche topics like Logic of Secular Confession, a small class I took last semester about confession narratives in early through modern literature. There is truly a class for every interest, and my own personal wish list of courses is ever growing, including classes like Dystopian Fiction and Walk This Way.

HC: What’s something you like about the department?

JG: It really feels like they want you to think, understand and succeed—it’s not often that I’ve felt left behind or unable to go to someone for help. Especially in more niche topic classes, professors are often willing to lend extra help and discuss the course with you out of class or [at] office hours.

HC: Any advice for people thinking about the major?

JG: Look into the distribution requirements and make sure you are able to cover all of them—and get them out of the way first! Try to cover multiple requirements with one course, too.

HC: Anything else you think people should know before going into the major?

JG: It’s a lot of writing, and a LOT of reading; I’m talking an average of one book/text per week, per class, with essays at least once a month or so. Be prepared for that!