When I was in grade 9, I had an amazing English teacher. I had always loved reading and writing, but before that English class I didn’t like learning about themes and random things, including Shakespeare. But I could tell that he loved teaching that class, and soon enough I grew to love English beyond my strict reading books and writing stories.
I had that class after my lunch break, and I often found myself (okay, pretty much all the time if I am being honest) heading to English even before the bell rang. I’d have a book in my hand every single time—changing faster than you could imagine. Then, one day as I was sitting there my English teacher walked in and told me: “You know that you’re doomed to become an English professor, right?”
He retired at the end of that year, but before that happened he wrote in my yearbook “Are you truly and unacknowledged genius?”
I had two more fantastic English teachers during the rest of my time in high school, making it easy for my love of English, reading, and writing to grow.
In grade 12, we had to apply for university. I knew what I wanted to do—I didn’t have to think about it. I picked out my three choices and settled on one and I have no regrets. I’ve been studying for a Combined Honours Bachelor of Arts in English and Communications for the past four years. In two months, I will be finished with my courses and my exams—I will be graduating.
I made the choice to study something that I love versus programs considered “higher”, like business, math, science… I’m alright with that. I know that I’m probably going to have a harder time finding job in my specific field, but I would rather that struggle than be in something I don’t care about whatsoever. I would rather less money for my passion than more for something hollow.
But that being said, there is one thing that I don’t like. I don’t like the idea that an arts degree is somehow less than, or easier, than others. Yes, things like physics and chemistry are hard. But arts have their own type of difficult things. I write papers every single semester—not just one, but often 4 or sometimes 5. Am I good at them? I’d say so, but that doesn’t make them easy. I read so many books every year, but haven’t done recreational reading in a while. Then there are academic journal articles and textbooks. It adds up. Some classes are easier than others, but some are more difficult than you’d initially imagine. I believe that’s something you could find with absolutely any discipline.
I have a basic understanding of math, science, and technology—it’s enough for me to get by. I can’t do the complicated stuff, but does that make me any less than those who can? No, I don’t think so. I’d argue that some of those who know all of those things can’t do what I do.
They can have right answers—things can go black and white. Many times, in English, there isn’t a right answer. It’s about how well you argue your opinion. Sometimes, when I’m irritated, I even find myself calling it a degree in Bullshit. But you know what? That’s not okay with me, not anymore.
I would not change my decision to study English and Communications for anything. I love it. I am proud of myself for doing what I love to do, even if I have to work really hard once I am done here. It is worth it. This degree is…amazing. It may not be the same kind as math, science, or technology, but the people who study arts are just as smart, just as amazing. I will never regret trying. Not in a million years.