I’m not going to lie and claim that I’m an especially passionate English student. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case since my first year of university. While there was a time where I spent my days devouring books and furiously writing essays on Shakespeare and his contemporaries, I’ve found that my enthusiasm for the topic has run dry.
Whether I’m reading Paradise Lost or a poem by Ocean Vuong, I’m extremely reluctant to over-analyze or “dissect” a text (as we love to say in the English department). English literature–or the way that we study English literature–just doesn’t light my fire like it used to.
But…I wonder if that’s okay?
Don’t get me wrong, it’s ideal to love your program. Having a vested interest in what you’re studying keeps you motivated and excited to learn and study.
Unfortunately, it’s not always realistic. The modern structure of academia focuses more on grades and rewards convention over innovation. As a result, many students (like myself) find themselves falling out of love with their programs.
I’m Not Defined By Academia
Even so, being an English major is not all or even half of what makes me, me. Perhaps, it’s okay not to love my major anymore–provided that I have other hobbies, interests and passions that ignite me. Although being a type-A perfectionist has gotten me into the habit of attaching my worth and identity to my grades, I’m honestly beginning to learn that these things don’t define me, at all.
There are other things that define me, such as the fact that I love to sing loudly at the top of my voice every morning or the way that sad animal commercials so often bring me close to tears. These are the factors which keep me going and inspire me to continue in academia, despite mental health struggles and difficulties.
But, Academia Has Contributed To Who I Am
The benefits of my chosen major (and any major) are endless. I’ve learned how to think critically, analyze texts and collect my thoughts in concise essays. I may never look forward to writing another essay again, but I’ll continue to pour my effort into them. Why? Because I understand the ways that I’ve grown as a person thanks to the subjects that I’ve been studying.
There is no easy major or subject. Everything comes with a price. Although I’ve lost my love of studying literature, I can’t deny the ways that it has helped me become the intelligent, critical thinker that I am today.
Moreover, it’s okay to find fulfilment in something other than school or my work/livelihood. So, if you love what you study then that is truly fantastic. Know that you are lucky. But, if you’re one of the many students who aren’t wholeheartedly in love with your degree, don’t sweat it.