The Compelling Story of How I Chose My Major

With school starting in a little under two weeks, it’s worth noting that I only just decided what I want my major to be a week or two ago. When I first started thinking about the idea of going back to school, I was torn. I originally went as an English major, and I liked it well enough (or so I thought), but I also really like communication studies. I’d love to take my emphasis in argumentation and persuasion. I also thought about double majoring, but I haven’t gotten there quite yet.

I always thought it was strange that I liked communication studies so much. I’m very much an introvert. I don’t like group projects, talking to other students — or talking in general, really — and it wears on me to go out and do things. If social awkwardness were a subject I’d already have my PhD.

And yet, I love speech. I don’t just have no qualms about getting up in front of a class and giving a speech or teaching a mock lesson for an entire period, I want to do it. I used to think I’d never be able to be a teacher, but now the thought kind of excites me (until I think about how teachers are treated in this country, but that’s another subject).

But English always seemed to call me home. I’m a writer and an editor, this is what I do every day and it’s what I enjoy, it’s what I’m good at. I tested into high-level classes and came out on top. Words are great no matter what I’m doing with them, and I could still be a teacher that way, so it was hard to decide.

I thought and thought about it for months. I was beginning to think I’d never be able to choose. But then I saw my list of textbooks (the ones pictured in the photo above).

Specifically, I saw Heart of Darkness as one of the books we’d be reading and analyzing in class. In the blink of an eye I decided. I’m going for communication studies.

I was joking about the compelling part.

But I’ve read this book already. I took honors and AP courses in high school and this is one of the books I had to read. And suddenly it all came flooding back to me. Analyzing books to death, books that were terrible to begin with, and I just can’t do it. Not again, not anymore. I like English, I like writing and reading, but not like this. Not the same ancient books year after year as though not a single book was published after 1900, not the overanalysis and dreary discussions. Not the poetry units, not Shakespeare, none of it.

I will still love English forever, just not the subject. But I think communication studies is definitely for me. When I learned what it was all about I only wanted to do it more. I think I knew that to start, but it was thanks to Heart of Darkness that I finally made my decision. Instantly.

And that’s my story.

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3 thoughts on “The Compelling Story of How I Chose My Major

  1. I read Heart of Darkness in college and while I understood it, I think, I didn’t care for it. Studied it to death and did a massively in-depth analysis. I remember absolutely none of it. Thanks, English 301.

    • Haha, that’s happened to me as well. Ask me to talk about most of the books I had to analyze to death and I probably couldn’t even recall the basic plot. Now, the books I read around the same time frame that I enjoyed? I can tell you a lot more, even if I didn’t spend a whole month tearing it apart. Weird how that works.

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