An English Major’s Quarter Life Crisis

What is it about the twenties that makes you want watch an entire season of X-Files with a cup of hot cocoa while also wanting to go out with your friends until your legs give way. It’s like your mind is hesitant to go any direction, yet at the same time, wants to gallop ahead and arrive at a destination. Any destination.

I am stuck. Figuratively.

I feel as though I’m consistently at a crossroads in my life. Career-wise, my journey is entirely up in the air. I’m in a hot air balloon from the Pixar movie Up, with a million tethered balloons that can either stay with me, or drift away, and I can sway in the breeze depending on how many balloons disappear or remain.

That’s a strange analogy, but I’m sure you understand my drift.

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My two majors are English and Communications Studies. Your first thought may be, Well, of course she doesn’t know what to do. She’s an English major for god’s sake. 

I would like to state that I love my English degree. Reading novels for homework, exploring my peers’ creative works, writing for a degree, I am enamoured with my English degree and all its facets. I am fully aware passion does not always lead to success,  which is in part why I also have a Communications Studies major, but I am fully confident in my degree choices.

English is a versatile degree that encourages the development of soft skills that aren’t often taught in other disciplines. Critical thinking, problem solving, written and verbal communication, analytical – both of my degrees have equipped me with the tools I need for success in a professional workplace, so what’s holding me back?

This may be a surprising answer, and I’m not entirely sure if I believe it myself, but here goes: I don’t know what I want to do because I have so many options.

Event planning, programming, communications, social media, journalism, freelancing, marketing – just to name a few. Surprisingly, I have a plethora of positions I can apply for. The question is which one, and will I even get it?

Which position do I want to devote my time and energy to? Will that position lead me down the career path I want, and will I be committed to that career choice? Will I regret it later on? These are heavy questions, and they are ones that cloud my mind every time I enter my workplace.

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My workplace is lovely. It is full of vibrant individuals, each one understanding, inspiring, and encouraging. But I’m not 100% happy, nor am I fulfilled each time I enter my workplace. Naivety certainly plays a large role – perhaps I’ll never find a position I will feel completely happy and fulfilled in. Yet I continually strive to find a position that does, and perhaps that position can be communications, social media – who knows, maybe blogging?

I often think that I should have figured this out by now. I’m twenty-two, young, but still in desperate search for a path, any path, that piques my interest. Often, I anguish over my career’s ambiguity.

Yet, I am reminded in the books I read, the blogs I follow, the friends I speak with, that life doesn’t have a premature plan. It’s okay to feel lost, to embrace the shadow of unsurety.

I am trenched in varying degrees of optimism and pessimism regarding my career. However, I know one thing about my career that I am more sure about than anything else.

My desire to be fulfilled, to feel like I am impacting myself and those around me positively,  is and never will be bad. I am constantly striving, constantly looking for more opportunities, more experiences that will engage me with a career that may be more promising than the last. Being lost isn’t necessarily bad, nor does it need to be scary. I can be sure that being lost means I won’t settle for a position that is static in its monotony, stable but boring and unfulfilling.

I am sure that being lost means I will not settle for anything less.

4 thoughts on “An English Major’s Quarter Life Crisis

  1. I have a Latin degree. I worked as a Communications Coordinator for three years. Don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s a useless degree – there will always be a market for smart, critical, and analytical thinkers who are good with words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I completely agree that individuals with art degrees should never let others put them down for their decision. The arts is vital to the growth of any culture, and passion for your degree is never a bad thing.

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  2. Fellow English major, now middle aged. Don’t make your job thing that defines your soul. Take work that pays a living wage and lets you work with good people. That’s enough to expect from a job.

    For personal fulfillment, write, teach, do whatever inspires you.

    Work is just work. There’s a reason they pay you to do it. Don’t let it define you, or it will always feel inadequate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Rick. Work is work – so true, and something I often need to remind myself. Defining oneself is a continual progress, and includes so many factors beyond just work.

      Balance is so, so important in all parts of our lives, and it’s good to remind ourselves of this every time we become almost obsessed over one part of our life.

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