Struggles of an English major in Bangladesh

Being an art major in this country is never ideal. People may appreciate literature and art but most of them don’t see the point of studying it. As a literature major myself, I constantly hear people saying the same things when they find out what I study.

“So you want to be a teacher?

I understand why it may seem like the obvious choice to people. But not all English majors want a career in teaching. There are other jobs that we can excel at as well.

“Your syllabus looks so fun. I wish I had that”

Yes, we read interesting novels, plays, stories, and poems. It’s not always fun and games when you will have to go through millions of other texts/explanations to just understand a 14 lines sonnet. Trust me it’s way more complicated than it looks. Because we have to critically analyze every bit of a text and later come up with our own opinions. Also, need to justify our opinions with the help of a gazillion critics. This often takes the fun out of the actual piece.

“How is your BCS preparation going? Try to get in the foreign sector.”

I don’t think in the last three years I have ever uttered the word BSC. Still, I don’t know why people keep asking me if I have taken any preparation for it. I mean come on people there are other ways to get a job even for public university students.

“How will reading poems help you get a job?”

If one asks what the point of poetry is, ask them what is the point of life even? Sorry to break your bubble but reading poetry will definitely give me jobs. Why? Because a person who constantly reads poetry develops better analytical skill. Which is a crucial skill to have in one’s work life.

In this complicated economy, it seems useless to study something related to art or literature.

“You can always work in a bank”

Thanks to all the uncles, aunts, random well-wishers for saying that. I appreciate your concern. But no I don’t want to work in a bank. I didn’t spend the last four years learning about Austen, Shakespeare, Wordsworth etc just to count numbers and handle people’s transactions (no offense to anyone working in banks). 

“Do an MBA after your undergrad”

Yes, because why not? My four years of undergrad was such a waste. So let’s just waste another two years doing an MBA and everything will be just fine. If a person actually wants to pursue that then it’s different. But please stop advising students who actually want to stick to their fields.

People still having these remarks makes it evident that we don’t take art majors seriously. In this complicated economy, it seems useless to study something related to art or literature. People forget to look at the fact that art portray our everyday life and it’s crucial to have a better understanding of it.

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