The English Majors’ Committee invites you to their annual Open Mic! This Friday, October 31st at 6 PM, Professor Lisa Cohen will read from her recent book All We Know: Three Lives. Hilton Als wanted to tell the world to read it minutes after he finished it, and you have the chance to hear it read to you this Friday. After Professor Cohen’s reading, the Russell House podium will be open to students. All are welcome to read, play music, or perform in any capacity. If you want to sign up to read, you can do so right here. There will be food, food for thought, and a good time to be had by all.
Time: 6 PM
Place: Russell House
The English Department is hosting its first-ever English student/faculty meet and greet! Majors and prospective students are encouraged to attend.
Is this gathering the English Department’s Woodstock? No, but it is our mass event! Come prepared to ask questions of faculty, meet the faculty, more majors, 201 students, prospective majors, and eat lots of great Italian cookies!
Date: Wednesday, October 27th
Place: Usdan Daniel Family Commons (free cookies!)
As a card-carrying member of the Coalition Of English Dorks Attempting To Legimitize Their Choice Of Major By Sucking Up To Newspapers Through Summer Internships (COEDATLTCOMBSUTNTSI for short), I was recently asked to write an article that will appear in the early September edition of a northeast alternative newspaper as part of a special How to Survive College feature. My topic is: How to Deal With That One Kid In Your Class Who Swears He/She/Ze is Smarter Than Everyone Else and Has to Open His/Her/Hir Mouth Every Three Seconds To Prove It.
One could argue that my three years of completed higher education would serve as ample research for this article, but I thought I would turn to you, dear readers, for input. We’ve all had experience dealing with (or even being) The Classmate Who Didn’t Know When To Shut It. In those situations, how did you succeed in shutting out the excess noise and getting through the class? Did you find any methods (doodling, leaving to go to the bathroom, excessive use of irony, getting in fistfights) that worked better or worse than others? Would you say that people who fall under the That Classmate category exhibit different behaviors in different settings (i.e. seminar, study group/TA session, lecture)? Comment here or email me at agreenberg01 AT wesleyan DOT edu.
Thanks in advance!
(Note: To the oh-so-eagle-eyed wise asses among you, no, the irony of this topic is in fact not lost on me, for the record.)
“What do you do with an English degree?” is an oft-heard jab on liberal arts colleges’ campuses, but we’re pretty sure that if COL were a more widespread major, English majors would be mocked significantly less often.
So what do you do with a COL degree? Ask Wesleyan’s sysadmin, who is (surprise!) a COL graduate and has deemed it “the least practical major ever conceived.” Excerpt here:
For instance, in job hunts, one doesn’t often see bullet points like the following:
- Must have knowledge of Njal’s Saga and basic economic principles addressed in other Icelandic Sagas.
- Working understanding of the difference of falling-towards-death and being thrown-to-death.
- Ability to discuss the sexual aspects of Harold and the Purple Crayon when necessary.
- Must have succesfully read Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War without clawing one’s eyes out because of the sheer tedium.
Full thoughts here.
Because Holly keeps making sly jokes at the expense of English majors, I decided that, as an English major, I should write a little somethin’ somethin’ in rebuttal.
Basically: we English majors have a bad rep. Head to a liberal arts school anywhere (where, let’s face it, half the student body is mostly engaged in intellectual or literal masturbation anyway) and the English Major jokes fly thick and fast. And yeah, lots of people major in English and go on to work in accounting or as skydiving instructors or end up in the dreaded “research analyst” (read: google shit all day) sector. But some people don’t! Some people genuinely like literature! Some people have had grammar drummed into their heads by parental figures since birth and can’t help but correct you when you split infinitives, alright? You’re torturing us with your misplaced commas and misused vocabulary! A girl can only take so much!
Phew. Sorry, I got a little carried away there. But for serious, Wesleyan has a notoriously good English department, and the English major isn’t just for people who Don’t Know What to Do With Their Lives. That’s Psych. (Kidding! Those in glass houses and all that…) Wesleyan plays host to a very prestigious Writing Conference in the summer (look it up) and has produced a number of talented authors, editors, and columnists, including:
-The editors of House and Garden and Runner’s World, Life Magazine, and Vanity Fair
-A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for The Los Angeles Times
-An award-winning slam poet
-Well-know and/or best-selling authors Robin Cook (Chromosome 6 plus more), Sebastian Junger (The Perfect Storm, etc), Carolyn Parkhurst (The Dogs of Babel), Robert Ludlum (The Bourne Identity), Sarah Shandler (Ophelia Speaks), and Daniel Handler (A Series of Unfortunate Events series)
-A Philadelphia Inquirer columnist
-Ted Fiske of Fiske Guide to Colleges (What? You say that’s the book that helped you decide where to go to college? Me too!)
-Approximately 92348923498 successful screenwriters for various Hollywood media
In conclusion: don’t knock it ’til you try it. We will RUN YOU DOWN with our grammar skillz. That’s right, with a “z” and everything. We’re not afraid to break our own rules to earn ourselves some respect.