Why you shouldn’t not major in English

Chris Carmona

The time has finally come. For those of us who are seniors, the countdown to the mental strains of reality has arrived. In just a few short months, nursing majors will be nurses, engineering majors will be engineers, pre-med students will be just plain med students, English majors will be unemployed or (if they choose to follow the footsteps of the amoral) in law school, and business majors will be exceptionally wealthy robots.

It’s around this time that the Bartley-inclined tend to pat themselves on the back, roughly outline their 30 year plan until retirement, and then roughly outline their retirement plan. It’s also around this time that, as you read this, a future doctor and future lawyer are sharing nachos from the Corner Grille, thanking their respective gods for having a faint notion of what their next few years will entail.

But more importantly, these are the moments when members of the liberal arts community hyperventilate and begin the long, painful process of questioning their major, their collegiate decision, and even their ideals.

As an English major, I’ve been told that my two reasonable career paths are either to become a teacher or to become England. This heartbreakingly short list has, I confess, caused me to doubt my credibility in the literary community. Even the prospect of being a journalist seems dismal. Do I really care enough about journalistic virtues (which surprisingly is not an oxymoron) to be both poor and a country’s scapegoat for disintegrating moral fiber?

Which brings me to my point: what is the best college major? The weak willed will make an enormously vague and conceding reply, claiming that it depends on the individual. To them, I say malarkey. There’s always a best choice. So let’s assess our options.

Because our University is completely unbiased and provides each distinct major with its own advantages, we’re going to disregard the different administrative buildings as an advantage for, say, being a liberal arts major. Though I admit that both of the functioning toilets in Tolentine provide the liberal arts community with a slight edge over Bartley’s galactic bathrooms. I think these factors should be, for logistical purposes, disregarded.

Thus, we have business majors (their actual majors will be merged, but you should probably get used to being lumped together with everyone else in the office) nursing majors, those hilarious theology majors, those pompous yet vaguely brilliant English majors, other miscellaneous liberal arts majors, those creepy engineers and communication majors/athletes.

Because of the Facebook’s imperious hold on college students, and because stalkers do exist and I can only assume anyone willing to read an article written by me has the capability of one day becoming a stalker, and finally, because anyone who I quote achieves a sort of instant celebrity, I’m going to maintain the anonymity of those whom I questioned.

Let’s start at the top. The first respondent was a business major, which can be anything from an accountant to an investment banker. I broke the questions down to: A) Do you think your major has benefited your ability to enter this particular field? B) Are you currently happy with your prospective jobs as well as the variety of these occupations? and C) Why did you choose this field?

When I asked finance major Realistic Ryan the three hard hitting questions, he replied, “A) Yes. B) It depends on the opportunity cost being met that I missed while at school divided by the quotient of the sum of the squares, C) Steady job + Wife + Medical Insurance = Happy.”

And off I went to the ER, where a flood of girls in (what is now a fashionable shade of) teal scrubs were aiding the weak. Nursing major Maternal Maggie answered, “A) Definitely, when I think of all I learned in the past four years [blah, blah, blah]. B) Sure, I can become a nurse [pause, until I realized she was done answering B], C) Is that a cut on your right hand? Let me get my Neosporin.”

After removing unneeded bandages, I trekked to our local monastery, where I heard kids freestyle rapping and spraying obscenities on the building. Sure enough, I ran into the theology crowd. I ran into a kid named Pious Pete, and after offering me a cigarette from the pack wrapped under his tight white undershirt, he finally agreed to my interview. “A) Stupid question. B) Another stupid question. C) Don’t you have any thought provoking issues to address, pagan?”

Engineers are not unlike Sasquatch in the sense that the myth of their existence is heavily preached by a number of people, but I’ve never actually crossed paths with one. Because I genuinely believe that their existence is purely mythological, I ended my search for an Engineer prematurely, and if you have access to one or more photos showing where one might be located, I urge you to e-mail me immediately.

I caught up with a communication major at this walk-in closet in the basement of Farley where Villanova has stored some treadmills and randomly selected weights. While jogging, comm. major Athletic Andy answered, “A) seven, B) false, C) I play on a court, not a field.”

And I don’t need to ask any English major these questions, being one myself, so I’ll answer these myself. A) No. I write as well as I did when I was 18, and all I’ve digested are the names of archaic writers who, because of my professors’ stubborn insistence on having their novels transcend generations, have pushed out useful information like where I left my wallet last week and who shot Mr. Burns. B) Do I sound like someone who’s ever happy about anything? C) Because I, like all self-respecting English majors, am aware that my brilliance is one that cannot be hidden in an office or camouflaged with a respectable job. I must remain poor, marginally employed and bitter, until the rest of the world fully acknowledges my (what are now only delusions of) grandeur, and presents me with the Pulitzer Prize, which I’ll immediately reject for a to-be- decided sociopolitical reason.

So I gathered my information, drew up some Venn diagrams and pie charts, pounded on a calculator and concluded that the best major to have in college is English.

Why? Because we’re smarter than you, and if you ever doubt us, we’ll take out a red pen and slash through your faults with such fierce wit that you’ll be left with only the blood-red ink stains and your shattered dignity. So you doctors and nurses, you keep that meaningless feeling of integrity by helping people every day of your lives. And you engineers, where are you? Theology majors, you scare me, so I’ll lay off. Communication majors, tomorrow’s forecast is entertaining with a chance of emptiness. And as for you business majors, you can take your millions of dollars and your picket fence and pour yourself a glass of scotch while you watch your stocks rise and fall, but just know that all of my brilliant rhetoric and self-righteous quips are going to make me very poor one day.