- What drew you to the major?
As a kid, I devoured books at breakneck speed. I remember spending a lot of time in bookstores and libraries, oblivious to the outside world and totally immersed in the stories I read. I also loved to write; it was my chosen medium of self-expression and a safe space where I could pour out all my thoughts and feelings. My passion for reading literature and writing drew me to English as a major in college. Additionally, what I love most about literature is its deep connection to the intangible. Literature intimately explores ideas such as love, morality, and purpose, and tends to pose questions without answers, while STEM seeks to find concrete explanations for everything. I find studying English to be extremely thought provoking, and it challenges me to constantly ask questions and revise my perspective.
- How has your English major prepared you for life after graduation?
People tend to be surprised when I tell them I am majoring in English and also pre-med. However, I think studying English feeds very well into a career in medicine. Medicine requires empathy, critical thinking, and self-contemplation, all skills that are practiced through the study of English literature. We read books because we see some fundamental part of ourselves reflected in the characters and themes. We seek to understand what the author is trying to communicate because we want to learn more about perceptions and lives beyond our own. Studying English provides valuable insight into the human experience, insight that can be applied to any career. In fact, my favorite memoir When Breath Becomes Air is written by a neurosurgeon who loved literature and majored in English at Stanford (I really recommend everyone read this, especially if you are considering a career in healthcare!).
- What is it like being an English major at Case in particular, with its perceived focus on the sciences?
Being an English major at Case definitely feels like being a rare type of bird amongst the sea of STEM majors. That’s not a bad thing though! If anything, your friends will flatter you so you’ll look over their SAGES essays. I think Case is also a great place to be an English major because of its small and intimate nature. While my chemistry and biology lectures were huge and lecture-based, my English classes provided an environment where my voice was heard and I could genuinely get to know my professor and classmates. Case does live up to its reputation as an excellent university for the sciences, but it also has a dedicated and strong Humanities program as well. I have had really good experiences in all my English classes, and all my professors have been not only extremely talented but also compassionate and engaging.
- Why would you encourage a prospective English major to sign on?
If you are passionate about English and love to read and write, college is an amazing opportunity to further that passion. You will be surrounded by people with the same zeal and professors who are eager to help you grow. It also may seem daunting to declare an English major due to the misconception that English is not a very pragmatic major, but that is not true at all! Studying English also hones practical skills such as analysis and strong writing. Being able to write good lab reports has served me well in my lab courses and has also served as an asset when applied to research. I have helped my PI (primary investigator) edit and revise her grant proposal, and also used my analysis skills to contribute to a meta-analysis research project. Majoring in English will train your ability to communicate effectively and analyze material efficiently, skills that can be applied to a broad range of careers such as marketing and teaching.