English students like me and those involved in the arts will be glad to hear that critical reading has been proven to increase brain activity in a similar way to mathematicians claim solving equations do. This means that we finally have a nice retort to give to those ridiculous questions such as why are you even studying English?
When I began college, I told my dad that I will be studying English, History, Politics and Economics, His response: Shut Up!
In today’s world, the humanities have suffered a battering by those in charge. Especially in the UK, maths teachers are being offered a bonus to teach at college level whereas English teachers are being sidelined. This is the great subject battle and maths (or math) is winning at the moment.
In many cultures, this is because the professions people aspire to, require mathematical or science subjects such as an accountant, doctor or pharmacist. The jobs people think will bring untold riches and wealth. However, this results in students undertaking humanities subjects to be looked down upon.
You’re clever, you should be doing something better than English or teaching.
These are the kind of absurd comments I and many people across the globe face by people who see anything other than maths or science subjects as worthless. Of course, I am not saying that science or maths should not be respected, all I seek is a more equal attitude towards subjects across the spectrum. Many friends of mine have been forced to study things that they ardently hate and that is no way to live.
I think that the importance of English has been forgotten. It is funny that every media interaction we have, whether its the TV, newspapers, books, poems, movies or documentaries, would be impossible without the skills learnt when studying English. It could be said that these things give meaning to our lives, they cause emotions and they create new experiences. Without them, our life on this planet would be a mundane existence.
So if you are studying English, then be proud of the route you have chosen, be proud that you have not been bent to the will of social desires and be proud of the value of your subject in the world.
What have your experiences been when choosing what to pursue? Have you faced criticsm or been supported by those around you? How do people react to when you tell them what you are studying and how do you feel about their reactions?