Senior | White Plains, New York
Why did you decide to become an English major?
In high school, I had multiple academic interests, but a single topic never stood out to me as ‘the one.’ All of that changed in senior year when I took an English seminar on a whim. The class consisted of daily creative writing exercises that made me realize how little writing I did in my free time. That year, I fell madly in love with writing, and knew I wanted to pursue it in the future. Applying to college as an English major seemed like the obvious next step!
What is your favorite class taken in the department thus far, and why?
There are two that stick out to me – Shakespeare with Professor Halpern, and Intro to Postcolonial Studies with Professor Gajarwala. Both were classes that I took in order to challenge myself. Personally, I always struggled with Shakespeare and, naturally, grew to dislike it. After taking Professor Halpern’s class, I finally began to understand the magic behind Shakespeare’s works. I enjoyed the history plays, especially – Henry IV and V, Richard III, and so on. Postcolonial studies with Professor Gajarwala was a different type of challenging that was quite intimidating for me at first – the syllabus was full of difficult historical and theoretical works that I never thought I could fully understand and like. But once I started to immerse myself in the worlds of Bhabha, Said, Spivak, Nguigi, and others – with the help of Professor G’s incredible knowledge of all things Postcolonial, of course – I found the topic to be absolutely fascinating. I would highly recommend both classes to anyone who is looking for a rewarding challenge.
What are you reading right now?
Right now, I am working through The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – yes, I am extremely late to the game, but I’m so glad I finally got around to it. Over the summer I finished Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton, which was one of the most bizarre and wonderful literary experiences that I’ve had in a while.
You have a minor in business studies—does your major ever help you with your minor classes, or vice versa?
Not necessarily. I find that the way I approach my English classes is very different from how I approach Micro, Stats, or Marketing. However, this particular major-minor combo has been crucial in helping me figure out my future career path – I now know that I definitely want to pursue PR/Communications (preferably in Publishing). Having now interned in the Corporate Communications department at a children’s publishing company, I can definitely say that the English-Business combo is perfect for those who are interested in pursuing the same type of career.
If you could, what book that you read in high school would you read again at the college level (or if you already have, how did that go)?
To be honest, I would reread every book that I read in High School because I definitely did not give any of these reads enough love back then. If I had to choose one, I would pick Zadie Smith’s NW, which I know would spark some incredible discussions at the college level that I’d love to be a part of.
What do you consider the most rewarding part of being an English major?
A few years ago, I had a conversation with one of my good friend’s dads – he’s a super successful corporate leader. He told me that when he looks for potential employees, he always prefers to hire those who were English majors in undergrad over those who majored in Business. When I asked him why, he said that it was because English majors end up having the most experience and talent in reading comprehension, critical thinking, and verbal/written communication – these skills are vital in order to succeed in any profession. Looking back on this conversation, I believe that the most rewarding part of being an English major is having the opportunity to cultivate these skills that qualify us to pursue basically anything that we want. For us English majors, the world is our oyster :)
What advice would you give to students considering majoring in English at NYU?
I think there tend to be a few misconceptions about majoring in English. One is that it’s an easy major, and another is that English majors tend to be super competitive, scholar-bookworm types. Both are so wrong! My best advice would be to keep an open mind – whether you’re a passionate reader, writer, or a little bit of both, work hard to get the most out of your English classes in the way that benefits you most and makes you happy!