When you’re in elementary school, there’s a limited selection of books available at the library for you to read. Animal Ark, The Boxcar Kids, The Magic Tree House, are just a few series that almost every child has seen on a second-grade classroom shelf. When I was in second grade, I had my first encounter with stories outside of the classroom. My mother is a middle school English teacher and I would often open up her textbook and read whatever she was teaching her students at the time. That was the first time I discovered Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart. I remember thinking, “Wow! Writing can be like this!” and I’ve held a love for literature ever since.
This should have been a huge indicator that English was my desired field of study, but because I had only ever heard of graduates who wanted to be teachers, I didn’t immediately recognize it as the right field for me. Instead, I started my college academic career in Pre-Veterinary medicine, because science was another great interest of mine. However, I was still heavily inclined towards writing. After taking a Creative Writing class as an elective in the second semester of my freshman year, I realized I had to switch my majors.
When I left the Pre-Vet program at Rutgers New Brunswick to continue my education at Rutgers Camden, I finally knew the kind of degree I wanted to pursue, but I wasn’t too sure what occupational direction I wanted to head in. I had also decided to enroll in an Art minor, and, while taking a class called “Introduction to the Digital Humanities”, a fellow student made a comment on how many doodles I had scribbled in my notebook during class. Rather than criticize me for drawing them during class time, he told me they were actually very good and asked if I was interested in making art for the emerging Video Game Development Club at Rutgers. This club steered me in the direction I wanted my career to advance and I quickly enrolled for the Digital Humanities Minor too.
Learning how the humanities could be spread faster and easier with modern technological advances and studies on social media platforms has given me an understanding of how exactly I want to relay the narratives I create. In the future, I hope to utilize all aspects of my degree to create works of both writing and art. I want to bridge the gap between the humanities and digital formats to better relay ideas and stories. Webcomics, writing articles for blogs, and designing and writing for video games are just a few projects I am currently developing with the aid of my degree. I would also like to create inclusive narratives with more diverse characters. I want people to be able to see themselves in media and I want that media to be readily available to a larger audience.
There’s a lot to be said for what being an English major means to me. Sometimes I see it as a path that will let me create narratives for others to enjoy as well as a way to let my ideas clearly reach people. Other times it has made me the reliable editor and advisor to my friends’ academic papers. But, even more simply, I’ve always been the type of person to appreciate literature wholeheartedly and find the fun in analyzing text. Being an English major allows me to share that experience with others.