"Analyzing, interpreting, applying and questioning while reading for plot comprehension is far more difficult and is in fact what English majors are required to do while you think we're ‘simply reading.'"
I'm sure we've all been there – a group of friends commiserating over the amount of homework yet to be done. We have our biology majors slogging through hours of organic chemistry and physics who look over to see our English majors leisurely reading The Picture of Dorian Gray.
This is where I have heard many a comment along the lines of, "English majors have it so easy. It's practically not even a major."As a communication and English major myself, I hear similar sentiments all the time. I'm sick of it. So let's get a few facts straight.
I am well aware of the numerous and time consuming tasks that make up a science major's workload. I live in a suite with a total of five biology majors, two of which are in the pre-med track. No small feat, I'm sure. Take a step back, however, and consider the other side.
Here is the course work of a typical English major: 100 or more pages of reading daily, three 8-12+ page papers, several small writing assignments over the course of the semester and eight full-length novels to be read in their entirety in that same amount of time.
This is for one class. Put those math skills to use and calculate the countless hours that go into one class, three or even more. It sounds as if the workload for English or science isn't so different after all.
But English classes are so much easier than physics or biology! Reading a few chapters in a novel is by far more passive than working through a problem set. Anyone who believes this should take English 170, the most basic prerequisite for the major. Then you will realize just how mistaken you are.
Reading any given work can provide topical information at best. Analyzing, interpreting, applying and questioning while reading for plot comprehension is far more difficult and is in fact what English majors are required to do while you think we're "simply reading."
This also presents the fact that science is either right or wrong. There is a correct answer to a problem, a correct way to conduct an experiment. Not so for English, so it is said. Every individual can forward their own interpretation. But this isn't some creative fluff, rather interpretations supported by evidence, argument and reason. Factual and theortical basis is something both sides of this argument can understand.
English classes require both independence and cooperation. Discussions are guided by the professor and carried out by the class, much like a lab manual guides an experiment but individuals complete the tactile process. Class discussions function off every person in the room doing their part and also working together to expound upon the text.
Skills acquired in the classroom are highly valuable in the real world. The tasks of reading, writing and interpreting are what allow large corporations like Pfizer to operate. The scientists working in their labs work to create some of the best medicine available while their English-inclined counterparts are the connection to the populace that will buy these products.
Clear communication is invaluable, especially in a global market. If just one side of the equation were missing, it would not work. We need both the creators and the communicators in order to function.