Struggles Only English Students Will Understand

“I have four lab reports due next week” “I have to find the cure for the common cold before my next bio tutorial,” and on and on. I am sure you have all got problems but have you ever been faced with the decision between reading Chaucer and going thrifting for that perfect knit sweater that tows the line between grandpa and slightly disheveled English professor? I think not.

We have all got it tough and in the tradition of us who have “got it tough”, I choose to complain about my struggles. So without further ado, here is a list of struggles only English majors will understand.

1. Writing phonetically because of reading old English.

I am sure there are merits to Chaucer and Beowulf, but what I have learned from them is that old English is insane and everything is spelled how it sounds. Let me tell you it was a free for all on the English language back then! Throughout my studies, having immersed myself into old English culture, I have found myself falling into the trap of spelling phonetically as well. I have done it in messages to my friends, in actual essays and even in google searches. All I can say now is thank goodness for autocorrect, and that we have moved past 15th and 14th-century literature.

2. Wanting to change majors every time you have to write an essay.

I do not know if this is just me but every time I write an essay I nearly always forget how to write a thesis. Also, how do you structure a compare and contrast essay again? I do not know, I do not think I ever will. The numerous Word documents that are open, each with a different introduction or idea, when I am writing an essay is insane. Eventually one of those open drafts will turn into the final version and only time will tell which one will be that lucky document. Is it the one labeled “ugh this sucks” or “I hate my life” who knows.

3. Knowing Sparknotes does not have the piece you have to write an essay on.

Like come on, have some common decency. How am I supposed to know the key themes in Petrarch’s sonnets if Sparknotes does not? Oh well if you are lucky Schmoop or Gradesaver will come in clutch. Not that I would ever copy directly from those websites, but it is a great place to get your brain thinking…

4. Knowing you should make physical drafts of your work, but also not wanting to waste paper.

Listen I know scientifically that printing out a draft of my essay and going through it by hand is the most beneficial way to edit. I know that. But I also know that printer ink is expensive and I also cannot justify printing out four pieces of paper only to throw them out later and print a new set. I know my drafts are not causing global warming, but it sometimes it feels like they are.

5. Getting overly attached to your TAs.

Profs come and go but teaching assistants are your direct correspondent about course material and assignments. They know your writing style, they get you. You build up a good rapport with them only to never see them again once the course is over. You thought they were invested in your work. That it meant something to them. Apparently not. Here is to our first year English TA’s who taught us that a thesis is more than summarizing basic plot points, and to all the others that helped us along the way and did not judge us when we were in fourth year and still wondering what the “so what” of our thesis should be.

6. Scribbling notes in all the margins of your textbooks, rendering them unsellable.

I want to be business savvy. I do. I want to make money selling my textbooks, but I cannot stop writing in their margins. Unfortunately, no one wants to buy a textbook that looks like it has been through a lot. I wish I could stop, but it is just the easiest way to go about taking notes, especially when your prof is lecturing about specific sections of a poem or novel. Side note: I also have a problem with doodling flowers in my textbooks when I am bored, but I think that is just me.

7. Writing an essay and realizing it makes zero sense.  

Oh well, back to the drawing board. Let me try again and this time have an actual argument and not rely solely on the words “thusly”, “in conclusion” and “therefore” to make a point.

8. Having your hand cramp in the middle of an exam.

The only times I have written in pencil over the last few months are to scribble down notes. All my essays are written on a computer. Unfortunately, English exams are always in class essays and that means no computer- one paragraph in and my hand starts cramping up!  

9. Convincing my family members that I will get a job 

I will, ok. Just chill out guys, Let us focus on more important issues right now, and leave my undetermined future to the future.

10. Trying to figure out what the heck you are going to do with your life.

Maybe you plan on becoming a professor, a doctor, a lawyer, or an editor. The future is an open door so no need to stress yourself out right now. Actually, I am 99% sure this problem relates to all majors, not just an English one.