Senior | Salt Lake City
Why did you decide to become an English major?
I’ve always loved reading, so I felt a natural attraction to the English major, but I originally planned to double major in English and economics. I realized—probably too late—how futile it is to double major unless you’re equally passionate about both subjects. I skipped most of my economics classes to watch The Sopranos or read novels, while my English classes all intellectually stimulated me and prompted me to start reading more on my own. So eventually I stopped taking economics classes and decided to focus only on the English major.
What did you love to read when you were growing up?
Anything by Roald Dahl. I also read the popular stuff (Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, etc.). In high school, Bryce Courtenay’s The Power of One had a profound impact on me. It instilled in me a sense of literature’s restorative power and the unbounded limits of the novel.
What are you reading right now?
I’m currently reading The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner, Alice Munro’s short story collection Dear Life, and a pre-print of Rules for Visiting by Jessica Francis Kane.
I hear you are on both the Honors and Creative Writing Tracks--how's that going?
Taking on two different senior projects is a challenge, but since I enjoy the work I’m doing it doesn’t feel arduous. The most difficult aspect of doing these two projects simultaneously, for me, is switching between critical and creative modes of thought. Yet the benefit of this problem is that when I feel moments of frustration with one project I can work on the other. Also, I feel motivated by the brilliant peers and professors I encounter every week in my thesis and capstone colloquiums.
What are some of your dreams, hopes, and aspirations for yourself after you graduate?
After I graduate, I’ll start a communications job at a tech company in the city. The English major opened so many doors to professional experience for me. I’ve had internships at magazines, large tech companies, and the NYU Center for Data Science. It’s important for colleges to dispel the myth that English majors don’t get jobs because the English major allows entry into almost any industry, and it prepares you for graduate work if you want to continue with school. Eventually I want to enroll in a low-residency MFA program while I keep working. I dream of sustaining myself as a novelist, but I commend the English department for fostering no fantasies of the starving artist. I do hope, though, that sometime in the next decade I can walk into a bookstore and find my name on the shelf.
What do you consider the most rewarding part of being an English major?
The critical reading skills I’ve acquired and developed as an English major will remain with me for the rest of my life. This major prepares you for life’s fluctuating circumstances and allows you to perceive the world in ways that other people might not or in ways that are not possible without literature.
What advice would you give to students considering majoring in English at NYU?
Do you like to read literature? Do you like to write essays? Stories? Ask yourself questions like this. If you love reading or if you love writing or if you just love thinking about the world in new ways, start taking some English classes. And, to reiterate an earlier point, if you love all these things but you’re thinking of doing something else because you’re worried about job prospects, stop worrying about finding a job. The English major is your vehicle to wherever you want to go.