Elizabeth Paul


In Defense of a Liberal Education

I did not always want to become an English major. In fact, I changed my major three times before I settled on English. I did, however, always want to become a lawyer. I loved to participate in heated debates and win them. I liked the whole idea of a court system. I had wanted to attend a high school with a mock court system. Unfortunately my parents felt that a Christian education would suit me better.

 I have always had a passion for reading from the time I was young. I would finish reading a novel in less than a day. My favorite genre to read was fiction. The story line and plots would always capture my interest and provide a more fascinating world. I also liked to think of ways the book mirrored real life. I gained some useful knowledge to apply to my life from fiction novels. It depends on how you analyze the context, of course. This was also due to the fact that my parents did not allow my brother and me to watch television during the week. As a result my brother and I read a lot of books to avoid dying of boredom. It got to the point that we would rather read a book than do homework. However, reading did not override our desire to watch television.

I developed a like for writing in the fifth grade. My teacher had my class practice our writing a lot over the course that year. As I grew, my teachers always had good things to say about my writing. The amount of praise that I received from my teachers for my writing could only result in my liking to write.

In junior high school the entire class of eighth graders wrote a book. One girl would write something and then pass it on. It grew to be quite an interesting drama. It was amazing to see different types of writing and creativity coming together to form one amazing and ridiculous story.

In my freshman year of high school I put aside my childish writing and I greatly developed my writing according to my ninth-grade English teacher. Unfortunately, my writing was not as good in my senior year of high school. Apparently advanced placement English had different standards of writing. I am very grateful to my A.P. English teacher, though, for being so critical of my work. It was she who helped me develop my writing to reach college standards.

When I entered into the college institution, I started as a journalism major. One of my classes, Freshman Composition, was really interesting. I assume that my professor was really impressed with my writing because he suggested that I become an English major. In addition, certain circumstances strongly persuaded me to change my major to English. The main reason why I switched to a major in English was because it is a perfect undergraduate degree for those students, such as myself, who are seeking an entrance into law school.

Lawyers use a lot of skills that are used by those who have studied English. Lawyers need to have research and writing skills to be successful in their profession. They also need to do a lot of reading to be an accomplished lawyer. An undergraduate degree in English will be very useful to those in the law system. It will also greatly prepare a prospective law student like me for the challenges ahead.

I also chose English as a major because of the wide variety of fields that it opens. If for some reason I do not become a lawyer, I will have many other jobs or career possibilities to pursue. This allows me to have something to fall back on and still be able to support myself if my first plan does not work. After all, nothing in life is guaranteed. Things are always changing. As circumstances change, so do people. A degree in English will allow me to have several backup plans in case one of them does not work to my advantage.

I was thinking of a specific secondary plan if my first one did not work out. I wanted to become a writer for a popular magazine. I wanted to write for well-known teenage magazines about fashion or other really interesting topics. There was a movie called “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.” The female lead role was a journalist who had to write an article on things not to do when involved in a relationship. I was thinking that to be paid for writing such stories like this would make for an intriguing career.

To major in English is not an easy task to accomplish. On the other hand, going to school is not an easy task to accomplish either. However, the teachers here at Southwestern Adventist University have found a way to make obtaining an undergraduate degree in English less trivial. They have taught me new profound ways of looking at literature including the Bible. In freshman composition I was able to gather a tremendous amount of new information and ideas about old Bible stories. I also learned about Christian authors and I analyzed famous writings and how they portrayed the Christian point of view.

In conclusion, there are many reasons to why I decided to earn my undergraduate degree in English. First and foremost, I wanted to use it to prepare me for law school. In addition, I became an English major because of the variety of fields that it opens. I wanted a major that would allow me to change careers if I decided to do so. I didn’t want to be stuck in one career for the rest of my life. An undergraduate bachelor’s degree in English allows me to do all of these things.