An Ode to English Majors Upon the Not Having Left YetThursday, May 28, 2015
We are hyper-caffeinated. We try to be loquacious, inundating our vernacular with verbose locutions we can barely define. We only use the Oxford English Dictionary. We say we enjoyed a book even if we didn’t because it seems like everyone else did and we, of course, must be seen as intellectual equals. We all know the puns (I’m not austentatious and no, I’m not Donne). We’re writers, dreamers, Christian hipsters, poetic — it’s pathetic — but we’re unapologetic. We’re all smitten with Britain, with the raw and the real, with the way that we feel when we even think about traveling.
But we haven’t even left yet.
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“We’ll see all the markets, old shops and bookstores! There’s Kensington
Gardens and we must see a show at the West End. But dress nice, be kind, don’t smile, fit in.”
For all our talk of being travelers, not tourists, I began to fear that we might be ill-fating ourselves. If we talked too much about something then couldn’t we run the risk of diminishing its surprising beauty in the moment? It would be like spoiling the end of a good book. No true English major could approve of such an atrocity.
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Being a traveler who hasn’t traveled yet is really like being a student who hasn’t graduated.
Perhaps that’s part of what makes studying abroad so ideal, as it provides the occasion and outlet for both roles. Traveling requires mental preparation. In the same way that a student occupies a hybrid of spaces, a time to develop and cultivate strengths before emerging into the adult world, so traveling begins before you even leave. We English majors now know this to be true.