Finals as an English Major

Want to know how I know I’ve finally found the right major? I’ve studied more this past week than I studied for my entire business degree

Ok, that may be a slight exaggeration, but for the most part it’s true. Anyone who knows me well knows I have a wondrous talent for pulling a paper out of thin air the night before it’s due. I’ve also been known to crank out an assignment in my break between classes. It’s a skill I’ve spent eight long years perfecting, and I have it down pat. Studying for finals, though? Ha. No.

I always start out the semester motivated and organized. I have notebooks and folders and even a planner in which I write all my assignments down. Sometimes I color code. I do all of my homework and assigned readings for the first couple weeks. I show up to my classes on time, prepared to discuss the material, I even take legible notes

…but all it takes is one slip up and the streak is ruined. I work too late one night (or Mean Girls is on TV) and I’ll miss that first assignment. After that, it’s like my chance for a perfect homework record is shattered and I no longer give a damn. I know myself well, and I watch the pattern repeat itself over and over, but it still happens every semester without fail. It’s so completely moronic, but it’s like I lose the competition with myself for homework perfection and stop trying.

This mentality bit me in the ass every semester when finals rolled around in my business program. Yeah, I may have done the problems, but I didn’t do the reading. I may have done my paper, but I didn’t study for the test. I usually found myself hovering around a shiny B+ by the end of the semester. Utilizing my paper writing skills, I’d sometimes cross the cusp to an A-. That was business school, though. Not to say I didn’t learn a lot, but it was a different type of learning. It was very straightforward, factual; you knew it or you didn’t. You could pay attention in class and get by ok as long as you understood the concepts. I digress.

Back to the studying — this semester followed the normal trends, but the second half was extra rough. Needless to say, I have a lot of material to cover in a short amount of time. In prior years, I would probably have just said “screw this” and winged it, but I actually really like all my classes this semester. More surprisingly, I like all my professors this semester. They have been so kind and generous. I wouldn’t dare give up now; that would be ungrateful and unkind. Plus, with a department like English, I never know when I’ll run into them again (like on my schedule for the spring…). Essentially, I want to end things on a high note. I’m enjoying the work, so I’ve been studying like a madwoman. I think I may eventually melt into a puddle of sweat, tears, coffee, and redbull, but I will slaughter my exams.

Some say majoring in English is easy…it’s not. This is the first semester I’ve not only had final exams, but also final papers/projects in every single one of my classes. I’m not talking about those easy exams either — the ones where you walk in, fill out a multiple-choice scantron, doubt yourself on every question, shrug it off and leave. I’m talking about the exams where you sit writing for three solid hours, and you stick your hand in the freezer when you get home. Yeah, those. I eat those for lunch.

I freaking love essay exams. They are totally in my element as the paper-writing-queen-of-procrastination. They require a lot of energy though, and my brain is often a jumbled mess of incoherent nonsense in the hours following my study sessions. I will dream in iambic pentameter, or awkwardly analyze the symbols in my day-to-day life, but I live for this stuff. I may be physically exhausted and have a bizarre mess of literary topics swarming around in my brain(MADNESS!), but if I leave my exams smiling, I’ve found where I belong.

I’m an English major.

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