4 Tips for English Majors

Take some expert advice from seasoned senior on how to survive as an english major!

I’m a senior finishing my bachelor degree in English with a focus in creative writing. During my time at Regent I’ve been challenged, grown, and benefited from different things I learned while journeying through the world of writing. It’s been an interesting ride there are different things I’ve learned along the way that I believe can help other English majors, too.

Be Quiet and Listen
I came to Regent as a transfer student and I thought my writing was great. I soon discovered I had a lot to learn. I’d get very defensive anytime a professor or one of my peers didn’t like what I wrote, taking their words personal.

I eventually learned that not all criticism is bad, and that it pays to be quiet and listen. I love writing but I realized that writing is simply something I do, not who I am; thus, individuals giving critique aren’t attacking me, but are simply helping me to improve. Having a focus in creative writing is fun, from my experience, creative writing is met with lots of criticism at best.

The writing center is your friend

The writing center is your friend, not your enemy. During my first year at Regent, I dreaded seeing e-mails from concerned professors suggesting I go. But when I humbled myself, went, and received the help, things got better and I greatly improved my writing. The writing center is equipped with skilled writers specialized in helping students improve their writing. It’s served me well, both when professors recommended I visit, as well as the times I’ve simply felt the need to have my work reviewed.

Own your calling
Years ago, a guest speaker on campus asked me, “What do you feel you’re called to do?”  I replied, “Writing.” It’s something I believe God has purposed me to do and even when I questioned if it was really something I could do, I received confirmation in a number of different ways. As an English major, writing comes with the territory, but I encourage students majoring in other studies to own their calling as well; own it and don’t be afraid of it.

Don’t Lose Confidence 
I constantly remind myself that “I’ve got this.” I love to write and for a long time I thought it embodied part of who I was. However, the truth is, it’s not. It’s just something I enjoy and want to do well. Besides, the world of writing has highs and lows and is filled with challenges and continued opportunity for growth.

With this all in mind, I’m able to stay motivated and encouraged in my sense of identity and purpose, which is outside of my writing. One of my professors told me, “don’t be married to your writing.” There will be people who love what I write and some who hate it. Regardless, I know “I’ve got this.”

Simone Heard is contributor to The Daily Runner.