Hey friends! Today’s post is kind of weird and random, but it’s something that has personally plagued my mind a lot lately. As I just graduated high school and am moving into college, I’m expected to have a major to study for the next four years, to receive a degree, and to basically figure out what job I want and what I should do with the rest of my life. And this is something I keep thinking about because reading and bookishness is a huge passion and hobby I have, but it’s not what I want to study.
The thing is, I feel like I’ve devoted so much of my life to reading. I have a book blog, and I spend a huge amount of my time reading and writing posts for it, even receiving free ARCs from publishers. I love creative writing, and I’ve dedicated hundreds of hours writing five full length manuscripts (~80k words). My volunteer work during high school was at the public library, where I assisted librarians with storytimes and read books to little kids myself. And in any down time I have, I’m always reading, to the point where I typically read more than 100 books in a year.
Because of this, for the longest time I thought that I would major in English, or literature, or something to that extent in college. But then, throughout high school, something unexpected happened: I started absolutely hating English class.
I hated or disliked most of the books I was required to read; in fact, after reading 19 total books in four years, I would say I enjoyed, to some extent, maybe 4 of them. Reading these classics became a huge chore; while I can read an 800+ page Harry Potter book in one day, it took me two months to slog through Crime and Punishment, reading as little as possible, cramming in everything in some miserable nights right before exams, and relying on Sparknotes to figure out what exactly was happening.
Furthermore, I hated all the essays we were required to write. I scored lowly on most of them; in my two years of AP English, where essays were scored out of 9, I was averaging around a 5, which was usually scaled to a low B (which is low for me as a pretentious straight A student). My teachers often called my analysis weak, and I could never figure out the “meaning of the work.” And poetry essays were the absolute worst: I can’t stand poetry!
Finally, I found a lot of English teachers and classes to be…somewhat pretentious. I hate how everything has to have some stupid meaning and you can’t do well unless you’re great at making up crap about how random things that the author probably didn’t care about mean everything. Also, don’t even get me started on how stupid some of these classics are; just because a bunch of pretentious old white men decided it’s meaningful, we all have to read it and pretend to agree?
So at this point I’ve probably offended 90% of my readers, so if you’re still reading this, thanks and hello lol. Now that I’m done with that mini rant, I’ll talk about another unexpected thing I discovered in high school: I loved biology! My AP Bio class was the highlight of my day, and I was fascinated!
So when it became time to apply for college, I applied as a biology major. And I’m certainly excited to on to learn more about that, and, to be quite honest, really happy that I don’t have to suffer through tedious English classes five days a week anymore. The thought of being an English major and taking multiple classes like my AP English classes per semester, reading tons of classics, and not doing any STEM, is horrible.
And also, realistically speaking… I know that if you have a degree in STEM instead of English, it’s much easier to get a job and make more money.
But still…like I said above, my hobbies and passions revolve mostly around reading. I don’t volunteer in a hospital or spend my free time reading up on new scientific discoveries or anything; I spend it reading and writing. And since my supposed study or career have nothing to do with books, sometimes I feel weird, or insecure.
I know that many people in the bookish community have jobs/are majoring in something related to English; I know there are lots of people here who are currently or are studying to become booksellers, librarians, teachers, or working in publishing, and have long since said goodbye to math and science classes. Whereas most of my friends also majoring in STEM haven’t touched a book in years (lot of high schoolers don’t even read the required books lol), and volunteer or intern in labs or hospitals.
It feels weird to be part of two completely separate, disjointed communities. Sometimes I feel like two different people in these two communities, and sometimes I feel like a phony or a fake in both: if I was really a booknerd, I would study English and the classics, and if I was really into STEM, I would be working in a lab.
I’m not even sure what’s going to happen with these two interests moving forward. Right now I certainly plan to continue reading, writing, and blogging, while studying science, but I know that I’m going to have significantly less time in college and know realistically that’s going to affect those hobbies since I obviously have to prioritize my education. Meanwhile, I’m just going into my freshman year and not even 100% sure I want to stick with bio all the way through, it was more something I applied to because I didn’t want to go in as undeclared.
To be honest, I don’t really know what I’m doing with this post. I’m kind of just rambling about my insecurities, and hoping that some other people here have the same experiences as me so I don’t feel quite so alone.
Is it possible to have a STEM career while spending all my free time in the bookish community? I think so, I hope so, I don’t know.
I’m just a recent high school grad, feeling lost and confused in the face of change and trying to figure it all out.
What is/was/will be your college major? Would you rather study STEM or the humanities? Do you enjoy English class? I’d love (I really would because I am having a crisis and need to hear from you) to chat in the comments below ❤