I have found my calling…
I know, I know. It’s unnecessarily dramatic. Especially for something so banal like college education. But after being in the system for so long and going through a bunch of altering experiences, it feels like a freakin’ metamorphosis to me. A gradual, at times painful metamorphosis that in the end yields something quite beautiful.
My field of study is in English- literature, to be precise. Basically, I read a lot, write a lot. I spend countless hours on my computer, hammering away at my papers (or “multitasking,” *ahem procrastinating on social media, like Tumblr or WordPress :P). I rarely ever have sit-down Finals to take- just final papers to be due before the deadline (which I usually turn in a couple of days beforehand).
Interestingly, I was never always an English major. In fact, my first two years of university academics were based in the sciences- and I hated it. Worse than that, I was just not interested; I didn’t care about cells or Schrodinger’s equation enough to continue further in that field. What surprises me is that I took so long to finally stop and switch over- completely!- to the humanities, to English.
Long story short, I went from the Sciences to the Humanities, and I’m much happier now.
But the point of this post is another discovery: of just what I want from my English major.
English (literature) is not just a broad survey of literary pieces from British, American, and other English-written texts around the world, but it can also get really specific. It can be categorized into genres, periods, politics, all of that. For instance, I know an English major who is doing her thesis on 20th century, post-WWII texts, primarily focusing on the works of J.D. Salinger. See? Quite focused.
As for myself, I started by taking “survey” courses, basically those that touched on a few authors who represented certain periods from Old English, 18th to 19th centuries, and finally contemporary literature. They were very general, and they greatly exposed me to ones that I liked, as well as ones that I didn’t like as much.
And from there, I can say that I really enjoy the works of 19th-century poets. Poets by the looks of John Keats, Emily Dickinson, and Walt Whitman. Romantic poets, who took your breath away with their use of language, the words they used, how they phrased certain lines, that stirred sentiments inside of you. Although I am not planning to do a thesis for my major (it’s not required), I would choose to do write on the Romantic poets if I did.
Some beautiful excerpts from my favorite writers. You probably recognize them:
Bright Star! would I were steadfast as thou art—
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night,
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like Nature’s patient sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors:—
No—yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair Love’s ripening breast
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest;
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever,—or else swoon to death.
-John Keats, “Bright Star”
This is my letter to the world,
That never wrote to me,–
The simple news that Nature told,
With tender majesty.
Her message is committed
To hands I cannot see;
For love of her, sweet countrymen,
Judge tenderly of me!
-Emily Dickinson, “This is my letter to the world”
I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you…
My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil,
My respiration and inspiration, the beating of my heart, the
passing of blood and air through my lungs…
A few light kisses, a few embraces, a reaching around of arms…
-Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself”
So, there you go, folks. I have found my calling in literature.
– The Finicky Cynic