What drew you to English as an area of interest?

When I was younger, I used to be shy and introverted. I didn’t quite understand how to connect with my peers, and thus my peers didn’t quite understand how to deal with me. But—partly due to a fortuitous overestimating of my reading level and an obsession with any type of romantic film—I began reading at a very young age, particularly the works of Jane Austen. And it was through her writing that I found some human connection. I would examine such picturesque and intricate characters, and it helped me both understand humans with all their peculiarities and also find myself when I didn’t understand who I was. This soon devolved into consuming any book I could find, to the point that I couldn’t live without stories. That would then lead to me searching for the reason why such stories resonated with me—as I also wanted to involve myself in the creation of such stories when I grew up; this led to a love of literary analysis and creative writing. And while my love of literature didn’t quite start with the English language—this all started when I was a child in Venezuela—I have found that English is the language I most often use when connecting to the world through literature. Thus, you could say that I was practically handcrafted to choose English as a major.

What is it like being an English major at Case in particular, with its perceived focus on the sciences?

It is actually quite funny. One would think that because CWRU is so STEM-oriented most people wouldn’t be interested in literature; at least in my case, I have found it to be the opposite. Most of my friends here are in STEM fields such as bioengineering and computer science, yet they still maintain a love for the humanities. This resonates with the campus itself. There is a multitude of gateways to the humanities all over campus, whether this is through the thriving Film Society or through the multitude of writing and reading clubs. Even as the majority on this campus choose to dedicate themselves to numbers over letters—symbolically, of course—this does not mean that there are not those peers who are as passionate about English as you are.

Why would you encourage a prospective English major to join our community?

To join our cult, of course.

Seriously, though, the English department is an extremely close-knit community where I can proudly say there are multiple avenues to best explore all your areas of interest. In particular, while the number of classes might appear more concise to those in larger majors, you can be assured that most professors are both highly qualified and passionate about the subject areas that they teach. You will also become surrounded by those who share the same passion as you; those who will gladly share their own special niche interest within such an expansive subject matter as English literature. It is, truly, an amazing opportunity if one holds love towards English.

How has your English major prepared you for life after graduation?

Well, my case will not resonate with most—seeing I desire to go more towards the publishing and academia route with my major—but I truly believe that the skills that an English degree grants you are applicable to all possible paths. First, it taught me clearly how to best communicate, granting me the tools to express my ideas in a way that would be understandable to those around me. This is oftentimes overlooked, but I believe it is integral for a successful life outside of college. Secondly, it taught me how to analyze the evidence presented to me in various texts—whether these are literary or analytical—and synthesize them to argue my desired viewpoints and theses. And, finally, it taught me the power of a good old-fashioned edit. Do not underestimate the power of looking at your work with a fresh pair of eyes, lest you find yourself repeating the word “quite” a grand total of 10 times in a four-question self-interview.