I have heard time and time again that majoring in English is the biggest waste of time and money that a college student can spend. I will never forget the looks on my family members’ faces when they first heard I switched majors to English. Their mouths gaped pricelessly: “But what are you going to do?”
My family consists of many STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) majors, and they have been nothing but amazed at the doors of possibilities an English degree can open. But it wasn’t always like that. I originally chose a safer route. At first, I planned to major in criminal justice, muddle my way through school and eventually try to find a job as a cop. But something snapped in me one day. Halfway through sophomore year I asked myself: “What am I doing here? I mean, why am I in school? Truly?” It always seemed, since the beginning years of my education, there was an implication that, in order to be “successful” (however varied that interpretation may be), a person needed to work through grammar school, finish high school and graduate college. But in reality, college wasn’t just the next step; it was a choice. And I realized it was my choice. So why not choose to study what I love?
I didn’t tell anyone until months after I had switched majors. The only subject I have ever enjoyed, ever truly wanted to improve at, was English. And I still feel that way.
I thought of different ways I could use a field I enjoyed studying, so I tried a couple of outlets. I worked for our school newspaper, The Point, at Fitchburg State, first as a reporter and writer, then as a content editor. Then I interned for a small, independent publishing company in Arizona called King Northern Publishing. I worked remotely, learning the facets of book promotion and marketing by using social media, email and the phone. I would contact blogs, book-review websites and contests, and bookstores. Here I was, miles away at school, receiving free books in the mail from the publisher for me to distribute, getting the word out about great books. There was nothing better.
But then I came here. My time at PSG has been very valuable and well spent. Just to see how wide the world of publishing is, to see how it operates, to see the different fields and types of publishing, to actually be in a tangible place and experience the work that goes through it, has been irreplaceable. I have done nothing but improve skills I enjoy using and am looking to polish.
I think I still have much to improve, and there is a long road ahead, but I think it’s important to do what you love. After all, what’s better: muddling through or enjoying what you do?
Little-Known Facts about Dan
If he could, Dan would roam aimlessly around art museums for the rest of his life. John Singleton Copley, Piet Mondrian, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat are his favorite artists. But apart from the arts, he is also a huge fan of baseball. Dan plays in several fantasy leagues, a process that includes trading and signing professional players with (fake) money, and drafting and signing minor league players as well. Because of this, Dan has extensive knowledge about major league baseball. He could probably name rookies and future-impact players the average fan has never even heard of.