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English Majors Dying off?

February 10, 2003 |

Dear Garrison -

I am a 22-year-old English major, and I have always had a soft spot for your show because of your appreciation for English majors. I am currently living in Berlin, where, when they see me staring out the window for hours with a cup of coffee, they assume I'm French.

But what I wanted to ask you is - What do you think is the place of English majors today? Are we a dying breed, and rightly so? What should I tell people when they ask me why I am an English major, and how do I plan to make use of my education?

Julia McConnell

Julia, you will make use of your education by living your life as an educated woman, pursuing the pleasures of art and knowledge and the broader life that college put your in sight of. You'll be good company for yourself. I can tell from your brief letter that you're funny and kind and your being in Berlin suggests you're adventurous. We're all of a dying breed, called the human race, and as we old English majors die off, young people are pushing forward to take our place, including you. I wish I could see what you'll do in your life, but whatever it is, it'll come from the same things that moved me, namely the wonders of the English language, the pleasures of having it roll around in your mouth and working it onto the page, walking around Berlin and hearing fragments of our tongue in theirs and on the signs and in the newspaper.. Enjoy your kaffee, dear.

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