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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 May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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