Being an English major I have always gotten the “Are you going to teach?” question, or the “What can you do with an English degree?” It is always one of the two. The thing is, English was not my passion when I first came to college because I did not think someone could major in English and make a living. So, I did the sensible thing and majored in biology. I told myself that it was the smartest move, and I would go into marine biology. I was determined.
I did not want to be one of those kids that changed their major. I told myself this is what I wanted to do with my life since I was very young. Yet here I am. One major change and much happier.
I will tell you this, choosing English was not my choice. My Nana was the one that constantly told me for two years to major in English and when she passed away, she made it blatantly clear that English was the way to go. How you may ask? Well, some may believe me and others will not. I get messages from my Nana when I need guidance most. She comes at the most random times in my life, when I have reached my limit, and I am struggling with major questions in life. I believe it is her giving me answers and assuring me that everything in the future will be okay. I just have to get through this and things will get better.
So I am going to take you back to when I was a graduating high school senior. My Nana and I were driving to the mall and talking about the future and what it would hold for me. Out of nowhere the song “I Hope You Dance” comes on and we were just listening to it when my Nana turned to me and said “Tyler, I want you to live by this song. Go to college and dance.”
Fast forward two years, my Nana passed away and all I had left really was this song to bring me some sort of comfort. This song meant everything to me and could instantly bring chills.
I went through this time where I was struggling in math, I was not happy at all with life and I just questioned everything I was doing. I was not sure if biology was my passion and so I made an appointment with a career guidance counselor and was finally going to get answers I so desperately needed.
I walked in on a Friday. I had a couple of hours before my dad was going to pick me up for the weekend, so I had to make this appointment short. This woman who was warm and welcoming said “Hi Tyler, I am your counselor today. Why don’t you tell me what is going on?” So I explained to her my predicament that I had this internal debate going on about my major and that I was debating between two majors. The conversation went as followed:
“Okay Tyler, well answer two questions for me. The first, what would you do with your biology degree?” she said.
“I would get my degree, move down south, get a job at a zoo or aquarium and find a school to get my masters or another bachelor’s degree in marine biology.” I said.
“Okay, now what would you do with you English major?” she questioned.
“OH! I would go into book publishing or magazine editing. I have always wanted to be author so that is definitely a future plan!” I said.
This woman crossed her legs, folded her hands, leaned forward and responded,
“Tyler, when you talked about your biology degree it was like a checklist. Check. Check. Check. But when you talked about your English major, you danced.”
Instantly I started crying in the middle of this poor woman’s office. She had no idea what she just said and what those two words were going to do for my future. I explained the whole situation of losing my Nana and her song for me. The woman started crying because she could tell she just made a huge impact in my life. Of the thousands of words, she could have said, you seemed excited, you smiled, you lit up the room, anything. She said “You danced” and that was it.
I had a half an hour until my dad was going to pick me up, so I ran over to the academic advising office, got in with my advisor and said “I am changing my major.” And she was completely stunned and said “How long have you been thinking about this Tyler?” I chuckled a little bit and said with all seriousness “Ten Seconds.”
Whether or not you believe that my Nana had a hand in this is up to you, but for me she was telling me that my future did not contain a career with biology. That I was meant for greatness with an English degree. Now, I am much happier, I am studying things that I enjoy, and I know that I have so many options for a future that does not contain teaching.