Welcome to Catholic University, new English majors! We hope that your first week of classes went well and that you have a great first year here. To aid you as you make your way here, current students and alumni have shared the following wisdom about life as a CU English major:
Keep all of your notes from all of your English classes, they'll come in handy later. Don't take a class just because it looks easy, take classes on subjects that actually interest you, because you will do better in classes that you enjoy over those that are easy but boring. And, if you can afford to, buy your English books instead of renting. This is a great time to start building your own personal library, and you never know when you will want to pull out that Norton Anthology of English Literature again!
- Grace P., Class of 2020
♦ Double major or minor in a foreign language
♦ Study Abroad for at least one semester, but it is possible to study abroad for multiple semesters as an English major.
♦ Do the readings
♦ Attend English Society meetings
♦ Apply for Inventio
♦ Seek the wisdom of your professors and the writing center
- English major, Class of 2019
Delve in! Life is meant to be lived truly, madly, and deeply — and literature holds so much for you to experience and be transformed by. Soak up the words, drink in the beauty, wonder at the intricacies and skill of all the voices and minds that continue to boom through the ages due to their perennial impact and influence. Learn from them and all you encounter. And believe in yourself — that your voice matters and you have something worth saying, too!
Adventure awaits you — jump in headfirst!
- Eddie O., Class of 2021
Take advantage of the wealth of knowledge our incredible faculty possess. Be curious. Ask questions. Spark debate. Probe the texts. Take interest in your essay topics. Perform outside research. But most of all, enjoy your time of academic discovery! I hope you find your passion.
- Christina, Class of 2010
Start papers early and go to office hours with drafts. With each essay that you invest your time in and seek advice for, whether it be from the Writing Center or your professors, you will improve as a writer. Little by little you will notice a difference; by the time you get to senior year, you could be writing like a pro. And always remember-- good writing is an invaluable, lifelong skill. In the long run, you are not always writing for a grade, but to continue developing your ability to communicate and connect effectively. That is why each paper, no matter how short, matters. So, take your time, don't be afraid to ask for help, and regard constructive criticism as a way to improve your work.
- Isabelle R., Class of 2020
Take notes while you read! If you own the book, annotate! Having your notes right next to the text helps keep things organized.
- Liz, Class of 2020
The same advice that Dr. Gibbons gave me my first year as an English major: de-fragment your soul. Be intentional about your class choices. Study the same time period or theme or idea for the whole semester from a variety of angles and directions. “Only connect” your courses to each other and to your life.
- Mallory N., Class of 2016
Be focused and relaxed. Not everyone is admitted to CUA. You are in college for a reason. Trust your instincts, prepare, and you’ll do great.
Also, listen to Sonny Rollins’ jazz album Saxophone Colossus—feel the music in jazz and you’ll hear it in poetry.
- Chris, Class of 2013
Hi friends! In no particular hierarchical order, here is some advice to you. Visit your teachers in office hours and build a relationship with them. They’re awesome people and want to get to know you, which is also awesome. But they also want to help you succeed! They’re often willing to read drafts of your papers or discuss prompts when you feel stuck on a rut. Go to them for help! Your writing will improve much faster. Utilize the writing center as well, it’s another great resource. Don’t let COMPS scare you. The test is not created to trip you up. Take it seriously and prepare! But know that good preparation is all you need to succeed. Don’t let the plebes get you down...your major is important and always relevant! Don’t let anyway incredulously ask you what the heck are you going to do with an English Major. There are plenty of things you can do with an English major! Not only that, the study of literature is intrinsically valuable because literature and education are both intrinsically valuable. Learning simply for the sake of learning is a very beautiful thing. So, I hope you approach your classes not worrying about what grade you get on the exam or paper, but with a sense of wonder at everything you might get to learn that day. You’ll find much more joy in your studies. Best wishes!
- Veronica M., Class of 2019
It isn't how much you read, it's how well you read it.
- Marian, Class of 2013
And some words of wisdom from Dr. Christopher J. Wheatley, Emeritus Professor of English:
"That which does not kill us makes us stronger."
"Purpose shall be the firmer, hearts the keener, courage the greater, as our might lessens."
"Come back carrying your shield or on it."
Welcome to The Few. The Proud. The English Majors.