The Real World?

I’ve decided that there is absolutely no way to truly prepare anyone for “adulthood” or entering the real world. You go to high school to prepare for college. When you’re in college you’re preparing to get a job, or to go to another school where you will prepare to get a job. And then you’re just done. You’re thrown over the fence where they keep all the hungry, snarling dogs and you wonder if you’re actually going to make it out alive.

When we’re in college we are in a little bubble of essays, and exams and eating bad food because that’s all we can afford. And then we are no longer in our bubble. We don’t get to stick our foot in the water and see how it feels. We don’t get to step outside and then quickly come back in. Nope, we are catapulted from our nice, comfortable bubble and told “Good luck” and “Congratulations!” And we’re supposed to just know what to do.  The problem is, we’ve been in schools our whole lives, supposedly preparing for this moment. While we were in those schools we were too busy filling out scantrons and cramming for tests and just trying to make it through the busy week that we didn’t have time to take a step back and really ask what are purpose is in doing all of this? And to ask, “Do I actually feel ready to go into the real world?” “Will the fact that I aced this test mean a damn thing to my future employer?” Or maybe the most important question we can ask ourselves is “Is this really how I want to spend my life?”


Is this really how I want to spend my life?

I just turned in the last essay I will write in my college career. And while it feels as though a giant weight has been lifted off my shoulders, I also feel a little heavy hearted.

My relationship with writing has been tumultuous at times. And over the past four years, I have questioned why I am doing this, if I’m any good at it, and more importantly, if I care whether I’m good or not? I have beaten my head against the table trying to reach page limits or word limits or works cited. And I have laid my head down on the same table, just trying to write the words that I was too afraid to say aloud.

Writing has been the bane of my existence and the saving grace in my life. 

And now, I am no longer forced to write. I have no more assignments that require my voice to come through or my thoughts to have some sort of cohesion to them. I have thrown essays away when I saw the grade, only to fish them out later and have a conversation with the teacher. As angry as I was that they could dare give me lower than an A on a essay, those are the teachers I learned the most from. They helped me improve; and more importantly, they humbled me. My writing is better because of the teachers that pissed me off.

The last post for this blog is already being drafted. I find myself having to stop and take breaks to make sure I am really saying what I want to say. I also take breaks to keep from having too many emotions escape. I never thought that I would fall in love with writing the way that I have. 

Pen and paper will always listen. Even if you don’t think you need to talk. When tears come streaming down my face, I turn to pen and paper. Pen and paper will catch your falling tears.

I don’t think I ever fully realized my love for writing until now. When life breaks my heart, or the LSAT breaks me down, I write. And I let myself feel. Even when I reread posts like that I can feel a lump in my throat and a tear forming in my eyes. But that’s what you need to do. That is why I write.

I don’t think I am so passionate about the written word until someone tries to devalue or belittle it. Until someone says, “English, what are you going to do with that degree?!” And even though I know what the job market looks like, I continue to defend my decision and I still believe I made the right choice. Because despite the lack of appreciation for writers and a beautifully composed, emotional piece of writing, I fell in love with writing because of my degree. Despite all our ups and downs, I fell in love with writing.

Your writing voice is the deepest possible reflection of who you are. The job of your voice is not to seduce or flatter or make well-shaped sentences. In your voice, your readers should be able to hear the contents of your mind, your heart, your soul.

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Dear Prospective English Majors

Dear Prospective English Majors,

I’m here to tell you to not major in English. I’m here to tell you that the English department at your school is lying.

If you choose to major in English your degree will prove to be worthless in the job market. Nobody cares about the ability to write anymore. Nobody cares where the comma goes, where the apostrophes belong or what the Oxford comma is.

If you choose to major in English you will spend four years justifying your choice to everyone. And after four years you’ll begin to wonder if all your justification was for them, or for yourself.

If you choose to major in English you better get published. And good luck with that. As wonderful as the internet and blogs can be, they are one of the major culprits in devaluing your worth. Everyone can have a blog; many times the blog with the most followers are poorly written or pure junk. And I’m a blogger.

If you choose to major in English you will defend yourself and your classmates to those who have never taken an English class and genuinely cannot understand how rigorous your course load is. It is not a STEM major so obviously all you have to do is read books and say whatever you want to about them.

If you choose to major in English you will endure countless jokes about your degree. “Are you learning how to say ‘Do you want fries with that?'” “Well at least you’ll use your writing skill for writing names on the side of coffee cups.”

If you choose to major in English you will learn to love the written word, and the richness of language. And that will make you hate things like Twitter and texting. There is no reason why you should be restricted to 140 characters or less. We are destroying our language and enhancing the stupidity of society.

If you choose to major in English you will spend four years of you life thinking that somehow it will all work out. And then you will examine the job market for those with your degree. You will feel so worthless, valueless, and at times, completely hopeless. You will see that writing jobs are either volunteer work or so pathetically underpaid that it should be illegal. You’ll think to yourself, “2 cents per word and $50,000 in debt?” Something just doesn’t add up here.

If you choose to major in English you will start to realize how often you were lied to as an English major. Your academic advisor and your professors all told you that you can get any job with an English degree. That companies realize how valuable the English language is. And that the job you get will absolutely be relevant to your degree, because everything can eventually be connected to English. And then you’ll realize that it was all a big joke. And you’re the funniest punchline of all.

If you choose to major in English you will start to wonder what the return policy is for your degree. College is one of the only service we purchase that is non-refundable. What a rip-off. “Hey Dean I don’t have a job and I have a bunch of loans, I’m going to need my tuition money back please. You can only have it when I find the job that is so relevant that pays me a living wage.”

If you choose to major in English you will spend your last semester stressed and angry. You will spend your nights combing through the depths of the internet looking for jobs that are tolerable. You will lie awake in bed wondering what you’re going to do with your life once you walk across that stage; wondering if you will ever be able to make it on your own; wondering why this magazine didn’t hire you, or why that company didn’t answer your calls. You will wonder how many years you will have to live paycheck to paycheck; will you be able to have the wedding you hoped of; will you be able to afford to have a family? You will wonder was college even worth it?

If you choose to major in English you will be pushed down and stepped on and laughed at. And you will remember a quote from a book or an author that inspires you and keeps you going. You will cry and doubt your worth, your intelligence.

If you choose to major in English you are going to go to class one day and be really mad. “Why am I here? Why am I wasting these years of my life? Who are you to tell me how or what to write? Who are you to ruin reading for pleasure?” And you’re going to walk out of class, and maybe you go for a drive, or a run or just zone out with headphones in. And the next day, you wake up and you go back to class. You robotically go through the motions and play the game that they force you to play. You know the moves they want you to make and the rules they want you to follow. So you act as their pawn until you can make it out of there. Because you are paying for this after all.

If you choose to major in English make sure you know what you are signing on for. Because I didn’t. And as cliche as it sounds, if I knew then what I know now, I would have never stepped foot in the English Department.

If you choose to major in English… I hope you don’t regret it as much as I do.

Early Classes

8AM Classes should not be offered to upper classmen on college campuses. 

It’s just torture. 

When I was a freshman, living on campus I could deal with an 8AM because I lived on campus so I could leave 5-10 minutes before class started and be on time. And then I could go back and fall asleep. But now that is not the case. You have to worry about parking, scraping off your car in the snow, traffic, ugh. 

First world problems, I know. 

But let a girl rant once in a while okay?

Anyways, in case anyone is wondering, my second to last semester will be filled with the following: Writing and Style, Literacy and Gender, Modern Poetry, The Collective as the Protagonist and my favorite, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (I sit there in awe, such a nerd I know). 

And after this semester I only have 15 credits left… Ah! 

My 7 Career Back-up Plans

Over the weekend, I was asked if I have a backup plan for the possibility that I won’t get into Law School. And while, over the years I’ve had many of backup plans, now that reality is setting in and the future is not seeming so far away, those plans all seem a little bit… far-fetched or just not very well though through. I mean the first thing I would do upon recieving a rejection email would be to break down. I would completely question everything in my life up to this point and then lay in bed for a few days. Or weeks. 

That being said, I would have to evaluate my options. I would then have an English degree, with all law related internships and therefore no experience using my “workplace skills” in an English related field. So to make myself feel a little better, and just to really answer the question, I will list my back-up plans, in order. 

  1. Editor of a magazine While I would love to work at Cosmo or Vogue, I would also love to stay in Colorado, so… unless I am willing to uproot my whole life, that is not entirely feasible. 
  2. Teacher I really could only teach kindergarten or high school, and neither one sounds particularly appealing. I would also have to get my teaching certificate and probably get my masters in education or something similar and let’s be honest, I probably wouldn’t be too passionate about teaching English and therefore wouldn’t make a very good teacher. 
  3. Paralegal This would be the closest I get to being a lawyer without being accepted into Law School. Yes, I would be working with the law and in a legal environment, but I would always be envious of the lawyers I work with and have a constant reminder that I just wasn’t good enough to achieve my top goal. 
  4. Stay-at-home Mom I do not know if being a stay-at-home mom would be truly fulfilling for me. Plus, I have to get married first, and we have to be able to survive on one income so… probably not too likely. 
  5. Fashion I studied fashion design at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York for a summer, I liked it. But I didn’t think I could do it as a career. Plus, I would have to move. And who knows if I would be any good at it today? I mean, I was really hoping that skinny jeans would be a fad that died out and look how that turned out. 
  6. Make-up Artist This could be fun, but I’m not very good. At all. I can barely do my own smokey eye. 
  7. Crayola Product Tester I’m not even sure this career exists but it is my last resort for a “real career.” I would have fun, trying to determine whether or not a marker is truly erasable, or if the crayon really doesn’t work on the walls, but overall, I don’t think that I would be entirely happy with my life if I was using my degree to color on things.  

I’m sorry, what?

I met with my advisor today to talk about what classes I need to take next semester.

Every advising appointment has been the same, she goes down the checklist and recommends the sequencing I should take the classes in. Then I walk out thinking “There is an endless amount of classes I still need,” or “I swear they added more requirements to my major!”

Today, I was not prepared.

Today, I walked out of there thinking, “Wait, did she just say I’m going to graduate early!?” And while I was excited about this news, I was also freaked out. A lot.

That changes everything. Do I take the LSAT early? If I do, I have to quit my job and devote all my time to preparation.  If I do, do I apply to Law School early or do I wait and take some time? If I take some time will that put me in a bad position when starting? Where am I going to live if I can’t sign a year long lease? WHAT?!

Today, I saw the end of my previously “endless” list of classes. And I do not know how to handle it.

I need a grown up!

My 19th (or so) first day of school

Here’s how my first day of my Junior year in college went. 

I started the day out right, I got a parking spot in less than five minutes. Success. I’m thinking, today  is going to be a good day. 

My first class is Moral and Social Problems, it’s a 100-level class that I need for my core curriculum and I know it is going to be mostly freshmen.  That was confirmed when I see a group of people standing outside the door, waiting to go in.  I asked if any of them had tried the door, of course not. So I of course, open the door and turn on the lights, because I understand that freshmen are too scared and don’t really know any better.  The class seems fine, I even raised a question about the topic during the “class preview” and the homework seems tolerable. 

Next I have a class I’ve been dreading, History of Political Thought.  Since I am a Poli. Sci. minor, I have to take at least one upper-division theory class and I was told that this class specifically will count for another history credit as well as a Poli. Sci. credit. There is a girl I recognize from other Poli Sci classes sitting behind me, she does not shut up. About anything. Then she asked her friend how many law schools she applied to, before her friend could go into much detail, this girl cuts her off to talk about herself some more. But the teacher seems nice and I’m only hoping that the readings of Plato, Machiavelli, Locke and Marx are fairly easy to comprehend and at least somewhat interesting. 

Next is the class I’m really looking forward to, Adolescent Literature. I had written down that it was in the same classroom that my Moral and Social Problems class was in. So I head back over there and again, I’m the first one to open the door and sit down. While I’m watching people enter the room, I think to myself, “There is an abnormally high number of males in this class for a literature class.” Then the professor comes in, an old white guy, looking nothing like the Antero Garcia character that is listed as the professor on my schedule and carrying a textbook that I don’t recognize. He waits until the clock hits 12:30 and says, “Welcome to Criminology.” Awkward. So I try to sneak out quietly and as discreetly as possible for sitting close to the front. I hear a couple of “Whoops” and then think about all the blonde jokes that I will get as soon as the door closes behind me. So I frantically go online to look at my schedule and find the right classroom. I get there, of course class has already started and there are no seats that I can just easily sneak into. The teacher directs me to one in the far back corner of the room. I quietly ask the guy next to me if I can read off his syllabus with him and I will get one on the way out. He says yes and then raises his hand and says, “Can she get a syllabus?” So I say, “Well I could have asked for one myself.” I mean really dude? Do I really need you to ask for a syllabus for me? Anyways, the teacher explains that within the 16 weeks of the semester, we are required to read 13 novels. Oh and by the way, the first one is 440 pages and needs to be read in full by Thursday. There will be a quiz. And adolescent literature has now begun to consume my life. 

Next is another 100-level class, Principles of Animal Biology. If all goes according to plan, this will be my last science class ever. It is in one of the biggest lecture halls on campus so when I go to the classroom and see a bunch of students waiting outside the door, I ask if one of them checked to see if the previous class was finished. One girl said that when she looked, there were a lot of students in there. So I stand there waiting patiently. At this point however, the previous class would have been finished so I open the door and look at the slide projected on the wall. Low and behold, it says, “Principles of Animal Biology” so once again, I lead the pack into the classroom. The teacher seems nice and the class is a typical first class, introduction, syllabus, course expectations and schedule. So we get out early 🙂 

And an hour and a half later, it’s time for my Writing Online class. Seriously, once again, I open the door, no one is there so I walk in and everyone else that was waiting then follows. Anyways, I can tell right away that the teacher is a bit of a hippie. Her green flowy skirt matches her neon green toenail polish and her crazy red hair runs amuk atop her head as she tells us that the class philosophy is focused on what we want to do for the world around us and what we wish to share with our society. I mean, since we have to write a blog for the class I’m thinking that’s what I’ll share? Just a hint. But in the end we got to use glitter and markers to make name tags so that was fine by me! 🙂 

I’m Halfway There!

Tomorrow is the first day of my third year in college. 

Here is what my day will consist of:

Moral and Social Problems

History of Political Thought (Least excited for this)

Adolescent Literature (Tied for most excited)

Principles of Animal Biology

Writing Online (Tied for most excited)

 

Looking at the textbooks and my works schedules, I’m thinking I may have bitten off more than I can chew this year… Let’s do this.