There is a group of people—a great big group of people—who get a perverse sort of pleasure from hearing that you are an English major. It is not that these people have any particular similarities across the board, but they have a notion of what it takes to be successful, and, for many, liberal arts degrees don’t fit that notion. I’m not sure what toys the rest of you had as children, but I recall from my early years playing with a box that had all sorts of shapes cut into it. My job was to find the corresponding shape toy and put it in the matching hole. I’m not sure how quick I was at the start, but I’m pretty certain there was a time or two that I spent trying to shove a star shaped block into a triangular hole. It didn’t fit. I’m sure I couldn’t make sense of it at first. The shapes were all supposed to go in; I knew that much. What was different about one shape from the next?
Okay, Chelsea, you’re talking about baby toys, where are you going with this? I know; stay with me here. Basically, imagine momentarily that we are all shapes and inside the shape box is success. These people, the ones who “ha!” at the sound of an English degree, haven’t mastered the shape box. They know a student who attends university is already on the right track, like a shape destined to successfully go into the box. But they don’t see that all the shapes are different. The shapes can all enter the box in different ways. We English majors are just the star shape that is ceaselessly being crammed into the triangular opening. If these people trying to cram us into the standard slot paused to understand that success isn’t one single type, that it isn’t one single sort of shape, they could see the other opening that we can fit in. If they turned the box over, like I certainly failed to do at first, they would see there is an opening that’s just our shape.
These two articles express exactly the same thought, minus the baby toy metaphor. They show that we are all beautiful shapes that can fit into that box of success, just via a different opening. Stay positive English majors, because you’re all stars that don’t have to be crammed into that triangular hole.