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22 Things only an English Major Will Understand

22 Things only an English Major Will Understand

English major is one of the most difficult fields in the area of Humanities. It has been argued that English is one of the most complicated major among the other fields. Why? You may think of the English language when you hear about this area of study. However, English studies much more than just grammar. They study everything that relates to all fields such as understanding literature, critical thinking, writing, public speaking, and even education.

English majors compose the majority of students who suffer severe caffeine addiction and severe insomnia; especially, compared to the other fields. These students are also some of the most misunderstood on campus. They are often dismissed and mocked as being nerdy or the weird group.

Here are 22 things that only English majors will understand.

1. A complete silence is much appreciated.

English majors need enough time to think about what they’re reading. They need to hear their own thoughts. They often choose to read in silence. You might see them in the library hunched over a desk full of books, or maybe even sleeping on an opened text.  They love thinking, but libraries can be so peaceful, it’s hard not to think of a little snooze.

2. Libraries and coffee shops are the best spots.

Rather than going to arcades and wasting time playing games, or partying the whole night away at a bar, English majors would rather go to libraries or coffee shops to read (and get another does of caffeine).

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3. Everything has a deeper meaning.

As an English major, they understand that every word, color, object, gesture showed from anything has a meaning. For example, “the light post turns on and off when you pass by”. For any other majors, it can be interpreted simply as it is. The light post turns on and off. That’t it. However, the English student might wonder why. They may think, when I walk by the light post must detect motion. The English Major, much like an engineer, wonders about why things happen.

4. Over-thinking is a habit.

Because of their experience with analytic linguistics, English majors tend to over-analyze behaviors of people, to the point that it becomes habitual.

5. Consider themselves as “pseudo-intellectuals.

English majors have the ability to explain things that will impress people, though they are just talking in circles and repeating what they have researched. Sometimes they talk about the most nonsense topic without letting the audience notice it is actually just gibberish. The listener thinks the English major must know what they’re talking about.

6. Handling 120% pressure is quite a norm.

Writing a 15-page analysis about their professor’s movie, hundreds of impromptu speeches, reading a 150-page literature book are quite normal for them. They are still able to make it with less time. It’s like that saying, practice makes perfect.

7. William Shakespeare and Jane Austen are their peers.

Because they delve so deeply into Shakespeare’s sonnets and plays, or Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”, the student feels like the know the actual person. Thus, they consider them their peer.

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8. Watching professors’ favorite movie is a hobby.

This is admittedly true. So, when you want to have a good grade, knowing their professor’s favorite movie is the best thing they should do. This sounds funny but it is true.

9. “Intellectual admiration” to their professors is common.

Having an intellectual professor in front of them is the best reason why they should attend that class.

10. Feeling discomfort to sell a book is usual.

Their subjects are just interconnected. So, they don’t want to sell their good old book unless they are done with university studies.

11. Sparknotes is their best friend

It’s too difficult to analyze plenty of literary works from the Medieval Ages or even in the early Renaissance Era in such a small time-frame. So, to help understanding the text in the fastest way, Sparknotes is their best help!

12. Familiarizing IPA is a must.

This includes reading a text with proper enunciation and pronunciation, with complete consideration to the pauses and stops of each sentence.

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13. Having personal or career crisis is frequent.

In the latter, they are usually in great frustration whether they wanted to be a publisher or a novelist, a playwright or a screenwriter, or any other discipline. Sometimes they realize a little late that they took this major for the understanding it provides, rather than money. English majors recieve less payment or unemployment compared to other fields.

14. Inability to understand simple stuff annoys them.

It sounds horrible, but it is true. They are dominant in some ways.

15. Know the Anglo-Saxon tradition of the English Language and World Literature.

They know that Anglo-Saxon ancestors created the English language and it’s written form. While other cultures each developed their own languages, English places an emphasis on a varied vocabulary to explain our inner emotions.

16. They panic when the library is under construction.

Well, library is their second home, so it is understandable. Where are they supposed to take a nap.

17. Being so meticulous all time.

It can be observed as arrogance, but really an English major can’t turn off their training. When they meet someone who speaks English poorly, they can’t help but comment with a correction. The same thing happens online with poor grammar in social networking sites. They expect everyone to speak on the same level, as their fellow English major.

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18. Proofreading is their job.

Whether they are paid or not, they are frequently asked to proofread writing regardless of the length.

19. Having a favorite spot in the university is a must.

They will be enraged when an undergraduate occupies these spots! This is their favorite place to think and to read their favorite book while enjoying the view they see, how dare you sit in their spot.

20. In general, they love Europe so much.

They believe that when they visit these places anywhere in Europe, they will be like their most-admired writers. The feel like they are entering a new world, like they are literally walking through history.

21. The new scent of a book is addictive.

This is one of the most observable behavior of an English major. They love the smell of a new book in the shelf.

22. Good quality of pen is required.

  1. Whenever they jot down notes, they need to see a good pen in their hand. They feel like the pen somehow inspires all these ideas. On the other hand, they get distracted or irritated when they don’t have one. A good pen is a comfort object for an English major.
  2. They may be misinterpreted, but in general, English majors are the most understanding people because they know how to weigh things before they judge. Just like when they read a poem, they cannot just say that the poem is badly written, they must first deal with the underlying meaning on it. They don’t just see on what is on the surface. English students try and look past the external, and try to appreciate what is going on internally. They are even the most romantic and the most caring among any other else! Know them and you’ll see! It mus be all the Shakespeare poetry they read.

Featured photo credit: Memphis CVB via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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