Reading Is My Hobby But Not My Profession // Feeling Fake, Being Torn Between Two Communities, And Other Insecurities

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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Let’s Chat

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 ❤

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58 thoughts on “Reading Is My Hobby But Not My Profession // Feeling Fake, Being Torn Between Two Communities, And Other Insecurities

  1. Um… I don’t see any problem here, at all. You love biology and want to study it full time. That’s fantastic. That shouldn’t stop you from reading books you like when you have the time. If that means less book blogging, than so be it. You can still be connected to both worlds. Follow your heart!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Kay!! I really enjoyed this post a lot, and your feelings are 100% valid. I know you have a lot of worries before college, but you will be able to find a balance in time. I’m somewhat in the same boat as you. I study Finance and Accounting and am pursuing a career in business (and on the opposite spectrum of writing and the publishing industry. It’s okay to pursue something separate from your hobby, but that doesn’t invalidate your love for reading and blogging either!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Do whatever you want to do- you’re the one doing it all so do what’ll make you happy.

    I personally HATE biology but I LOVE chemistry! Especially the labs involving fire. I also struggle in literature class (especially shakespeare- I love it, actually, but being grading on it? Nope. The only time I got all As on a Shakespeare play was Romeo and Juliet- at the end of the year. Oops) I will probably do something writing related and teaching related cause it’s FUN! I love school so why not work there?

    I also agree with the ‘hidden meanings. ‘ I don’t really put hidden meanings in my writings, and if 100 years from now someone’s anylising it, (I totally just murdered that word) I would be very upset. IT’S TO BE READ NORMALLY PEOPLE STOP PUTTING WORDS IN MY DEAD MOUTH.

    Anyway, have fun at college! You’ll do GREAT, I’m sure!

    *lucky ferret hugs*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so amazing that you love chem 🙂 I have to take a ton of chem classes as prerequisites to bio classes and I’m Not Excited about it lol. Great that you love school and I hope you get a job that you love there 🙂 And yes SO GLAD you agree because let’s be honest some teachers read WAYYY too much into stuff… Thanks, Beck ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I know what you mean – it seems like most bookworms love english lit/language and/or love writing and want to be an author too. I absolutely hated english and I’m so glad I no longer study it, but at the same time I still love reading and it doesn’t make me any less of a bookworm??

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Aw sending you big hugs!!! In uni I studied biology, chemistry, physics and maths and ultimately ended up with a degree in biochemistry so I definitely think that as lovers of reading and book blogging doesn’t automatically mean that we should pigeonhole ourselves into a literature-based career.
    Books and blogging are my hobby that mean more to me than I could ever explain.
    But science and being a woman in STEM is my passion and my life’s work.
    Just follow what career path speaks the most to you, and your books and the book blogging community will always be alongside you to cheer you along :))<3

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You will find your way! *virtual hug*

    I’m about to start my senior year at college and I totally remember feeling similar when I first entered high school. I went into college interested in English, Math, and Psychology, but unsure how I wanted to arrange them (in terms of majors & minors). Like you said above, English wasn’t my fav class in high school (Math was!) and I felt super insecure about my writing because I always sucked at essays, so I didn’t think I was up to par to be able to major in it, even though I love books.

    It wasn’t until the end of my sophomore year that I officially decided my areas of study: a major in English (with a creative writing emphasis) and a minor in Mathematics. I tried things like doing Math research one summer and found I hated it and that I would rather spend more of my class load in English classes than weird abstract math classes.

    I know you said you plan to pursue Bio/STEM, but in case you want to pick up an English minor or give it try, I will say that college English classes are much better than high school ones. Yes, for some of them you still have to read the boring old classics, but you’ll find that unlike high school, you’re surrounded by people who want to be there and are excited about literature. I’ve taken so many specialized classes that I’ve adored: Novel Writing, Ethnic American YA Lit, Jane Austen & Pop Culture. (And this semester I’m taking a Children’s & YA Lit class!) My college profs have helped me grow in my writing and my love for books so much more than high school ever did.

    And I’ve totally experienced some of the two different worlds thing that you mentioned: I can never relate to my fellow English majors who are like “eewwww, math” and I’m like actually: “Actually, I love math and I’m fairly good at it.” But I think you’ll also find a few people out there who are STEM majors and book nerds. I’ve met multiple who in additional to a English major or minor, are Psych/Biology/Computer Science/Engineering majors.

    Or if you want to connect with other bookish people at your college in other ways, there’s always your college newspaper/lit magazine/book club. Or if your college doesn’t have one of these, you could start one! I know when I entered college, I felt like a “fake” book lover, because I read primarily read YA, but honestly you will find so many other students who love YA, fantasy, etc. (those so-called snobby literary fiction readers aren’t as common). My first semester of book club, we picked out the books To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, The Hate U Give, All the Light We Cannot See, and Six of Crows to read together!

    Okay, wow, sorry, I’ve basically written a book here. 😅 But I hope this was somewhat helpful? Let me know if anything I said was unclear or if you have more questions or concerns you want to discuss with me. ❤

    You got this, Kay, and have a great time at college!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks 🙂 It’s making me feel so much better to learn other people are in the same boat. All those specialized English classes definitely sound more fun than high school English, so maybe I’ll get to check out a few for my GEs and electives 🙂 So glad you can relate to the two different worlds thing too, and that book club sounds amazing (TATBILB and SOC ❤ <3) so I think I'll definitely look for something like that. I really appreciated reading through your book haha thank you so much for sharing ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Of course–so glad I could help some! 😉
        Take your time, and don’t stress about it; you’ll find your place and your people at college!
        Good luck on your first semester! I can’t wait to read any updates you post. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. If you were to poll most adults, they would tell you that they need hobbies that are in no way related to the work they do to pay the bills. Notice I said most. There are always going to be exceptions to that rule, but it still applies to most people. You will need those things moving forward to feel like you can step away from the things that you have to do and enjoy something just because you can.

    I’m a creative, all kinds of different arts types of things, but lately mostly photography. If I had to do that for a living, I’d end up hating it. I have attempted to do several things over the years tied to one of my creative outlets and the moment it became more work than the joy of creating, I got really discouraged and it killed the creative drive behind it all.

    Basically, you have to do what is going to work for you in your life. It is always great if you can do something you love or that makes you happy, but doing what you love for your paying job isn’t always the best thing for everyone. Sometimes you can find a job you love that isn’t also the thing you love to do, if that makes any sense at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That makes total sense 🙂 I know a few times in high school when I got really frustrated with my English class, I didn’t want to read anything, even fun YA, because I was so annoyed with reading, so I totally see what you mean about finding a job you love that isn’t what you love to do. Hopefully I can find something like that in college while still having book blogging for the weekends 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. You should always be happy in what you study in college. I studied Finance and got my degree in the field. However, I learned much too late that I didn’t want to major in that field. But what I also learned is that I would never want to major in English either. Though I love to read and write. And I dream of being an author, I love STEM majors more. That has always made me feel weird in this community because of this fact, but there are so many people that don’t major or have their degrees in English so it’s alright. Love what you do and enjoy your first semester of college! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Not knowing exactly what you want to do right after high school is perfectly normal. I’m 25, but when I finished high school, I was one of those people who thought they knew exactly what they wanted to do; people said they envied me and I have to admit, I enjoyed the certainty. I graduated in English (in a French uni), went on to be a teaching assistant, started studying education and … Then everything went crumbling down because as it turned out, I really did not want to be a teacher. Being unsure, changing your mind is perfectly OKAY. And enjoying STEM while also enjoying to read and blog about books? Totally fine too! I enjoy having a hobby that’s not related to my job , it makes it more relaxing I think? And your feelings are totally valid. You’ll figure things out ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is such an interesting post, and I think the way you’re feeling is so valid! I studied English bc I thought there wasn’t anything else I wanted to do since I spend all my time reading and writing – but you’re right, there is such a difference between reading for fun and reading for school, even just in the things you read and the way you have to think about it. I think it’s awesome that you’re a STEM person who loves reading, since it makes you more unique! 😄 And having a separate career and hobbies is really healthy I think, so that’s awesome 👍

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh my gosh, you should study whatever you love and want to pursue – doesn’t have to be books! We’re all over the place in this community. 😊 I majored in History even though I knew I wanted to write because I was more interested in learning about humanity and their stories than literature analysis and techniques. I have absolutely no regrets and I don’t think you will either. 💜💕💜

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This is such a genuinely incredible post, Kat! I relate so much.

    Like you, reading is my biggest hobby (besides probably dancing) and yet, English classes have become my least favorite classes throughout high school. I’ve found myself more interested in science and math, which I used to hate as a kid! I’ve also realized I’m really interested in history. I don’t know what I want to be or what I want to major in yet, but I do know it’s not going to be English related and will probably be in the sciences.😅

    I agree that it can feel strange to not have your hobby align with your future?? Like, I also don’t want to major in dance, which a lot of my friends do, so it’s weird sometimes to be the only one in my classes that isn’t working towards a professional dance career.

    At the end of the day, I think it could be a good thing to have hobbies that aren’t the same as your major, because then you have a variety of interests and things you love and you don’t overdose on one, haha! I know English majors have to read a ton of books so it could potentially make reading less enjoyable. Even though you might not have as much time for reading in the upcoming years, that doesn’t mean you love it any less or it’s any less of a hobby. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Olivia! Glad you relate! I definitely used to be more annoyed by science and math, and it wasn’t until high school that I made the switch from English to STEM haha. It feels weird, but I’m glad to know that we’re not the only ones ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  13. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having two different interests! I don’t even think it’s particularly weird – not everyone wants to turn their hobbies into work or study them, because then they become, well, work! We all need something to spend our time away from what we do all day.

    Also, I totally get you on the English thing. I adore books, but I hated English class in high school, it was horrible. I couldn’t even fathom analysing poetry and I still don’t understand how a room having a window apparently “symbolised hope”. Maybe they just wanted some light so they could see?? English classes really are so pretentious.

    There’s absolutely no reason to feel bad for not wanting to study English. It sounds like it would actually take the fun out of reading for you, and nobody wants that! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yess so glad you relate and ikr on the window thing lmao. Or like when the English teacher is like… write an entire five page essay on the color of this dude’s shirt on page 83 and how it relates to the meaning of the work as a whole. Reading is definitely something that lets me escape schoolwork and relax after a stressful day, and hopefully by studying STEM, it can remain that way ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I loved biology too!! but sadly I can’t make anything with it as I lack in math/chemistery xD merp. Though I would’ve really wanted to..

    I get your insecurities and conflicts here.. but my dear, you are not alone ! One of my blogger friend is an ecologist, one is studying graphic design (okay- KIND OF relating to books if we talk covers and such, but not really), I probably have other exemples but I can’t think of them right now xD I personally got a college diploma in accounting, although I won’t be using it anytime soon as it’s not so great on my mental health – I’d love to go for a veterinary career, currently working barista in a coffee shop.

    Though im french, english was my worst (mainly as I didn’t understood really well) and I read NONE of the mandatory reads XD I just lucked my way out and somehow it worked, rofl

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh mood–I was pretty good at math and chem in high school, but I didn’t really like it, so I’m not looking forward to loading my entire schedule full of math and chem classes before I can take bio… I’m so glad to know that I’m not alone ❤ That sounds so cool to be an ecologist while still getting to have fun blogging! Haha yes mood on not reading the required reading and just bsing our way through it… xD

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Kay, I just want to give you a giant hug. I think we all feel that way a lot of the time, and not just going between high school and college. I feel that way every time I start a new job. Imposter syndrome is the worst!!
    Also, I don’t work in any kind of writing employment. I mean, writing and editing is a very small part of my job, but I basically undertake strategic administration in an office, which means that I have more of a ‘generalist’ skillset. I do some finances and budgeting, contract management, writing and editing reports, human resources management, office management, strategy development, and risk management, and I love how varied my job is. Also, I dropped out of university a year before I would have graduated with a Journalism / Public Relations degree (and probably would have never found a job in that area).
    No matter what you choose to do, you’ll usually end up on the path that you need to be on, sometimes by luck, and sometimes because you made the right decision for you along the way. But it’s never too late to find that thing, and on the way you just make sure that you’re happy and doing things you love, including reading and blogging if you love them. Not all your hobbies need to align to take you where you need to be. *hugs*

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I completely agree with you. English class isn’t my favourite because it takes fun out of reading. In all cases, you are assigned a book and a deadline. Classics have underlying meaning but it’s pretty irrelevant at this point.
    Follow your heart! Biology is a great subject and I hope you do really well.
    Erin x

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I didn’t mind English courses. But I preferred publishing ones over that though. I found who I was when I applied for my publishing certificate. And I haven’t looked back since.

    But what I love about your decision is that you want to be in STEM. Even though reading is a huge part of your life, I’m glad to hear another woman in the sciences. Don’t ever think any different.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I really enjoyed reading this post, Kay, though I’m so sorry you’re going through so many insecurities (though I definitely feel that, *especially* during college; insecurities abound). I am one of those who writes and reads and got an English degree, but I TOTALLY think you can do both (I knew plenty of STEM field graduates who also love to read during my time in college).

    But also, I think it’s great you’re pursuing a lot of different interests! Honestly, I did English because that’s what I’m good at (writing and reading) but I totally understand where you’re coming from. A lot of times, it did feel pretentious and I wasn’t enjoying the books we had to read (for high school; I got a *little* more control in college, but still, not my preferred genre) and a part of me wishes I would have branched out a little bit more and looked into other things I’m interested in–like my passion for animals or my fascination of space. I felt like I *had* to go into English because I thought it would…I dunno, validate my claim of being a writer, despite being unpublished? Help in some way? Yet, looking back now (and reflecting after reading your post, honestly), I am no less a writer (or a reader) had I decided to study the stars or go into zoology; just like I’m no less a writer or reader by decided to go into an “expected” or related field.

    Rambling now, but basically: if you love STEM, do STEM. That doesn’t erase other parts of your identity, even if they are unrelated. In fact, you may be surprised how all of your interest and hobbies complement one another, in some way. I’m rooting for you and wishing you luck! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I’m so sorry you feel like this! It’s normal, though, especially when you’re fresh out of university and still trying to figure out who you are and what you enjoy – actually, most people keep feeling that way longer into life, and some never do find out! What I mean to say is: try to accept that and not worry so much about the future, for everything will work out in time 🙂 As long as you keep enjoying what you do, all that’s left is maybe finding friends that have more of the same interests – join a club or a sport or something of that sort if you can, it’ll do wonders to your self-esteem and self-doubt 🙂
    Best of luck! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Kay, your feelings are so, so valid and I can 100% relate. I will be going into my second year of college for a STEM degree, and I have definitely felt the feeling of being “fake” in the bookish word. I have worked as a library page and in a large bookstore chain, and in both places I felt kind of out of place. I knew that I wasn’t going to be a librarian or a bookseller in the future, I just needed a part time job doing something fun, but the job seemed to be aimed toward someone more interested in staying in the field. I have learned that it is ok to have interests that may seem completely opposite, and that it just takes practice to balance them. Just because you have a hobby you love, doesn’t mean it would make the best career for you. I hope that you find a means of balancing the two that works for you, and that you find a career path that you enjoy, biology or not! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  21. You are so smart though? like, I absolutely hate science and biology. they are just no nos for me, and I would die if I tried to take them in college! I don’t think I am gonna be an english major too though! I don’t like the books chosen for required reading. and same.. i HATE poetry. i can’t analyze it or “see the deeper meaning” to save my life!

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  22. I’m with you. I hated a lot of the classics we read in high school. I tried my damndest to get out of reading some of them (with some success), and I still hate a lot of them to this day. I started college with a major in Creative Writing because I desperately wanted to learn more and hone my craft, and making the jump to double major in English a couple years later was a hard one. I couldn’t imagine sitting through lectures about old literature again. I ended up falling in love with European classics and still hating American ones, which I think says something in itself, but really, you’re not alone. You don’t HAVE to like the classics to be considered a book nerd. A lot of them are pretty terrible.

    And you know what? Science is so freaking cool. We need more scientists in the book community so our science fiction can be more relatable! That, and it’s just a really interesting field of study that I hope you enjoy. I wish I’d paid more attention to it while I was still in school because now, as a college graduate, I’m bummed I never did because I love it so much now.

    You are not alone, and it’s perfectly normal to be feeling confused right now! And of course there’s space in both communities. Perhaps you can even blend them together.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. AH KAY *tackle hugs* I relate to this post so much!!! I realized in the middle of high school, that although I enjoy reading, I can never see myself majoring in English or Language Arts. It just isn’t for me. I’m a STEM major as well, and nearly focused on biology, myself! I totally understand the insecurities and feelings you’ve experienced, and just wanted to let you know that I think it’s completely normal! Reading is a hobby, so pursuing a career in a related field shouldn’t be something you feel obliged to do. I think you’re amazing for following science, and reading/writing/blogging on the side too! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I don’t feel like it’s a huge problem at all! I think there are a lot of people in the bookish community who do no have books as their profession, including me. Everyone has their hobbies, some of them love sports or music or arts & crafts… Most hobbies are actually more of a money-wasting activity rather than money-making, and I’m sure it doesn’t HAVE to be your profession 🙂

    Like

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