Choosing Literature…

There is something terrifying when a person must choose a path for his/her academic career. As one enters college or university, more oftentimes than not, there seems to be an inescapable and uneasy feeling for a student, where he/she is likely to question and doubt the choice of program. Moreover, there is nothing less motivating than attending lectures where professors, who have taught their course over and over again, demonstrate less enthusiasm than yourself. It then becomes extremely difficult for one to indulge into his/her studies. So, what is one to do when faced with the circumstances I just mentioned? For me, it seemed that all of my answers were hidden in the pages of books and novels…

Before I became an English Lit. student, I was merely going through the motions. Like the majority of students, I was faced with the uncertainties that revolved around my academic and professional aspirations. I had much more interest in playing cards, smoking with friends, and going to the sports bars to catch games. If I had a paper due on Monday, I would begin my research on the Sunday afternoon, type my stuff up (with the exact amount of words required), and hand it in without any editing.  Eventually, I came to the conclusion that my grades were unacceptable and I had to make some drastic decision about what path I was going to take; but how was I going to do so when I had no interest in the programs offered by the university?

Despite my uncertainties of what career path I wanted to take, I always had some interest in becoming a teacher. Due to insufficient grades for elementary and secondary teaching, I settled for the Child Studies in order to get into University. This did not necessarily increase my motivation or passion. However, everything changed when the Fall semester came around. I decided to take an elective course that had nothing to do with my core education classes.

The course was Heroic Epics of Greece & Rome. During the the semester we read Apollonius’ Argonautika, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and Homer’s Illiad. I must admit, for one who rarely got involved with books, these were not light reads. Nonetheless, there was something so fascinating in how these epic poets were able to paint their scenes through the use of lines, metre, and similes. Furthermore, what impressed me most is how I became comfortable in making sense of these texts. Every night I had an assignment, I became carried away by the episodes of Jason and Medea, or by the battle scenes of Achilles and Hector. After completing the course, I decided right then and there that I was going to apply for a Bachelor’s degree in Literature. I wanted to be blown away by poets, writers, and authors, just as I was when I read Ovid and Homer.

Since my enrolment in English Literature, I must say that I no longer see school as a dull necessity that will bring me towards my future objectives. I am now in my third year of this program and  to be quite frank, school has never been so exciting.  I have had the opportunity of encountering the works and minds of poets and authors such as Spenser, Wordsworth, Blake, Johnson, Dickens, Yeats, and many more. I also had courses that touched all kinds of genres such as children literature, crime fiction, fantasy, etc.  There is a thrilling uncertainty of what text I will be reading, and what world I will be delving into for tomorrow’s class. Furthermore, I have to note that out of all the professors from different programs who I have had throughout college and university (ranging from marketing to philosophy), I cannot recall any who teach their courses with as much enthusiasm and passion as english profs. Most of them are there to invite you in joining them on an adventure, to discover hidden meanings in passages of books, poems, epics.

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I do not write this post with the intention of persuading others to select English Literature as their career path. This post is just a way of expressing my thoughts and sharing my point of view on the possibilities and excitement in studying the literary works of great authors and poets. Also, I simply believe that if there are many out there who are dreamers and are open to the unknown, literature may be an appealing choice. It invites you transcend and learn about things that are much deeper than A+B. It gives anyone the chance to be a character within the text. Literature is simply fascinating.

 

Mason