By: Judah Stiefel | Opinions  | 

Consider the English Major

Language is the means by which we relate to one another. Words allow us to relay thoughts, objects and ideas to our contemporaries, as well as to preserve these things for eternity. Expression is one of the most fundamental elements of our humanity. Learn about the history of human expression, and better yet, learn to express yourself.

I write this with no ulterior motives. I have not been promised an A in any of my classes for publishing this piece. A close reading of this text may reveal that I am in fact writing this article in my apartment, only hours before the Commentator’s submission deadline. I have nothing to gain from you reading it or considering what I have to say, and what I have to say is this—consider being an English major. If you rolled your eyes at the blunt preachiness of what I’ve just proposed, it’s possible this article wasn’t meant for you. By all means, stop reading it. Pat on the back for reading at all.

Expression can be found in infinite forms and in infinite disciplines. There are countless reasons to express oneself. The skills you will gain from an English class are important for marketing, law, medicine, computer science, banking, and everything in between. Being able to express one’s self well can open up channels of communication that previously stood closed. The best way to learn to do that is to understand what’s been written until now.

Written language is the foundation upon which civilization is built. While the greatest writers and thinkers may have produced ideas of their own, their originality was always based on those that came before them. Being an English major will teach you to climb the scaffold of art and knowledge so that you may one day build upon it yourself.

Each class provided by the English department of YU represents a door into at least one new world of thinking you have likely not yet encountered. Books you had previously read, you will now learn to dissect. Books you’ve never heard of will teach you to think for yourself in a way you may have never realized you could. You can learn to understand how art influenced revolution and how social change influenced art. The lenses through which you learn to analyze text will also allow you to analyze life — what is literature if not the attempt to capture reality.

The quality of the classes provided is excellent and the diversity of topics covered is surprisingly vast. Additionally, the class sizes are small, giving each student the opportunity to connect with various professors with specialties in various disciplines.

This may sound melodramatic, but I swear it’s true. The English major at YU will help shape the way you interact the world. You’ll realize that you are not just a spectator in it, but also able to shape it.

If you don’t consider yourself the creative type, consider this: gaining a strong grasp on the English language can help you to succeed in any field you wish to pursue. The writing classes provided by the English department are modeled so as to encourage you to learn from some of the all-time great writers of the English language, as well as from upperclassmen who have been at it for years. By the end of your experience, I can all but promise that you’ll be surprised at how much your writing and critical thinking has improved.

This is not an essay. This is an article. I don’t feel the need to wrap this up with a conclusion, but I will conclude with this: Medical Schools love English majors. Your score on the critical reading section of the MCAT? Only improved through your time in the major. Analyzing LSAT passages? Easier after completing the English major. Your emails to employers and texts to significant others become works of poetry. There is no expiration date; the knowledge you acquire here will always be relevant.