1. Essays essentially write themselves.
That night before the essay is due…It always seems to be a little darker outside. A little more calm. The feeling of not being prepared because you haven’t started that five-page paper that’s due tomorrow for your gen-ed class that doesn’t really matter that much so you let the assignment slip through the cracks. We’ve all been there. Being an English major makes that a lot easier.
Sure, you’ll actually have to sit down, shut up, turn off Netflix and write more papers than the average student, but you’ll have so much training and direction on how to write better papers that it will be so much easier than if you were a Physics major or something. Grad schools are actually looking for more English majors nowadays because they can write and communicate better than most people, which means that professors don’t have to spend extra time teaching them how to write well. They can always teach them the law, medical stuff, etc. but learning how to write efficiently and effectively is something that is much harder to learn than most.
Becoming an English major was the best decision I ever made (I was a political science major before this) because I can now pound out essays in about 3 hours for the first draft, then I just have to edit, read it aloud, have someone else read it, edit it one more time, and I’m golden after that.
2. Peer editing is a chance to change the world.
I always get the feeling, especially during “workshop” periods, that nobody paid attention in English class all through middle school and high school. They just sat there and stared at the teacher, droopy-eyed and half-asleep just waiting for the class to end so that they could go to lunch and talk incoherently about some stupid thing that happened on television last night. They never did the readings, just like they don’t do them now that they’re in college.
Nobody reads anymore, which means nobody can write. When I get chances to edit someone’s paper in one of my classes, I get giddy. Not because I have a chance to correct someone, but because I can give them actual feedback that they might not get from a TA or a professor that is worried about hurting someone’s feelings, and there’s actually a chance that I can help this person get a better grade in the future.
3. Most of the other people in your department will be women.
For some reason, girls like to write more than guys it seems. Even though 100 years ago that would have been unheard of, we have started to move toward a society that makes being a “writer” a feminine sort of thing. Guys can write books, sure, but they usually have something else that occupies most of their time while they have someone write their books for them or simply oversee the process from afar. The fact that you’re an English major means that on some level you love to write. If you don’t, then you must have some sort of masochistic fantasy to fulfill. With the waning numbers of men that say that they want to be writers, we have fewer guys becoming English majors. I’m not complaining though. The girl to guy ratio in my classes is usually pretty favorable.