One of the worst things about being in college –or just being in the late teens to early twenties age area- is that people like to ask you questions. Being at a stage in my life where I’m making pretty much everything up as I go along, it’s hard not to feel a bit of pressure when people start asking me about my future. I know that my relatives are making friendly conversation, but I tend to get a little defensive. Not my best trait, but I’m working on it.
The worst questions for me are the ones that stem from me mentioning that I’m a Writing/English major. Between knowing the stereotypes and some of the experiences I have with my family, there is a lot of pressure to give the right answer. Unfortunately, those answers are usually politically correct, well thought-out, and have almost nothing to do with what I’m actually thinking.
- “So you’re going to be a teacher?”
Even though I’ve occasionally considered becoming an English Teacher or Professor, I always find this question a bit strange. I’m honestly still not exactly sure what I want to do with my life, but I’ve known since I was in elementary school that it was going to have something to do with writing. I’ve thought about being a journalist, a magazine editor, and even possibly working at Marvel someday. People with strong written communication skills are needed everywhere, otherwise we wouldn’t be teaching kids how to write properly in the first place.
- “Why are you even going to school?”
Probably because I need to hone my skills and make connections to people in my area of interest in order to have any chance of getting a job I enjoy, just like everyone else.
- “That sounds really easy”
No, it’s not. I’m taking multiple writing courses every semester, meaning that I almost always have a draft of an essay due. Excelling in English courses goes beyond getting a paper done on time and know some basic grammar rules. You have to spend time with your work and make sure your ideas are original and insightful.
Also, printing costs are a pain in my rear.
- “Can you edit my essay for me?”
Okay, this one isn’t really asked by my family, but it still drives me nuts. It’s not that I don’t enjoy helping people with their essays, but I have my own to write and you’re honestly just not on the list of people I trust to take me seriously when I’m explaining comma rules to you or explaining why you can’t use second person in your formal research paper.
Unless you’re going to pay me. I’ll consider it then.
- “Can you write my essay for me?”
Sometimes, this is disguised as number four, but the answer remains the same. Thankfully, I have tutoring experience that
can help me help you figure out how to dive into the writing process and brainstorm ideas and make sure you follow your teacher’s guidelines, but I am not going to take the time to write your essay for you because you can’t be bothered to do the work in a class that you paid for/are probably going into debt to take.
- “So you’re going to write the next Great American Novel, right?”
Honestly, I’d settle for writing a novel now.
- “Can I read some of your work?”
If it’s published, it’s yours. If it’s not, you’re still not on the list and if you try reading over my shoulder, you will find out exactly how pointy this pencil is.
What are some uncomfortable questions that you’ve received in regards to being a writer? What are some of your own English Major Problems? Share them in the comments below!
Also, keep an eye out for more English Major Problem posts in the future. I’d love to turn this into a series, and would love to hear some of your ideas and even have some guest posts about others experiences and problems. If you’re interested, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.