In the vast swaths of time that make up the tiny space between finishing up college, graduating with a degree, and getting a job you float. No doubt, you might be one of the lucky ones who had a carrier in mind and walk into a carrier doing this or that. Though, I’m sure if you are reading this, let alone this particular inspiration, you are adrift like I was.

I moved from Undeclared to Business to Math and finally English. I wasn’t so much as tasting as stumbling across the spectrum at Western. But there was something special about the literature classes that made me stick with it. I wasn’t sitting in long rows scrawling every single word or worse powerpoint slide in my notebook. I was engaging with classmates and professors. They weren’t standing at the head of the class lecturing, browsing for those who aren’t awake. No, they are mixed in with the rest of us. A peer, a guiding hand, a voice in darkness of confusion to light the way of understanding. We’d pull pages and find miniscule details that we floated over and try to conclude overarching arguments that would puzzle those who couldn’t keep up. It was exciting, almost every class. For once in my known life, I looked forward to class.

I was never headed to English for the glamor. I loved the hunt of tropes. I was a lad on horse back touting my horn to the recesses of my mind to pull connections and links that couldn’t be unseen. The book and sonnets and chapters were questions that needed answers and I had to fine them. This was also true with some of the most rewarding work I did as my minor in Creative Writing.

It pulled the teeth of the wolf howling at my door – filling something so necessary to me that I couldn’t stop. The two programs layered themselves so well I wondered most of my career if they were in cahoots. The writing would inform a part I felt was missing from my reading and the reading would push me somewhere I had never thought in my writing. The two spun a perfect web to a point where I knew I wanted to write for a living. I had to.

But sometimes life isn’t so forgiving. I worked for a year and half a tiny restaurant and grocery in the city of chicago – waiting tables and trying to figure out what to do next – when the owner dropped a golden ticket like no other into my lap. She wanted me to be, do, develop the marketing for it. I was elated because it involved writing, tech, everything I love and am passionate about balled into a perfect little job for me. I get to write, something I thought I’d never do for a living. I get to hangout on facebook, post and read twitter. I have two hour conversations with coffee roasters, candy makers, wine mongers, about the things they love to do and get free samples. I’ve flown to New York City to eat food, drink wine, and eat food – all the while getting payed and on someone else’s dime. My opinion not only matters but is always taken into consideration. So I get to eat things I’ve never heard of, go places I’ve never been, write – something I’ve never thought I’d be doing – and getting payed to do so.

If I didn’t have my English degree, there would be no way I’d be where I am today. It is the reason for my love of writing, literature, and my entire frame of mind was formed and shaped as a student of literature at Western. Like a squirrel who buried an acorn and stumbles upon it in it’s search for food, my life crossed the path of WIU’s English program. Feeding my mind, shaping my carrier and pushing me in directions I had never even fathomed. Change your mind and define yourself in new ways with an English degree at Western.

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English Major – Second draft, more structure

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November 23rd, 2010