When it comes to undergraduate students in the English Department, The English Undergraduate Association is a community touchstone for one of the largest departments in the College of Letters and Science at UC Berkeley. Since 1993, the English Undergraduate Association has hosted activities, provided opportunities to network, and helped English majors connect with one another.
In this spirit, we have created a new series for the Wheeler Column: EUA’s Humans of English, which will highlight the stories of English majors in the department. This reflection comes from Liam Spires (’19.)
Hello everyone! My name is Liam Spires, and I am a Second-Year Undergraduate English Major from Glendale, California. My decision to become an English Major was solidified the moment I decided on Cal as my school of choice in the Spring of 2015. I was honored to be given the chance to study in a region as rich in cultural history—whether it be art, music, or literature—as the San Francisco Bay Area. As an aspiring artist, writer, and all-round entertainer, my major was simply a decision between English or Film, and as wonderful as my career as a Film Major might have been, my experience with Cal’s English Department—with all of its wonderful faculty, fascinating course materials, and remarkable students—has not let me down yet, and I look forward to the challenges and opportunities it will present in the years to come.
For me, English Literature serves as both a source of personal enrichment and an outlet for my imagination. My love for reading stems as far back as elementary school, where I formed an early connection to literature while reading the works of Dr. Seuss and Roald Dahl, two of my favorite authors then and now. These books allowed me to discover a new aspect of literature, one that could shape my reading experience into one of vibrant color, intellectual playfulness, and even subversive mischief that I had not been aware of before. By the time that I had discovered L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz at that same elementary school’s library, there could have been no question: from that moment forth, I wanted to become a storyteller. Throughout the remainder of my life so far, I have made conscious effort to fill my life with art, literature, and—most importantly—stories. Some of the highlights of my career thus far include meeting two of my other favorite writers—George Clayton Johnson (The Twilight Zone) and Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn)—initiating early drafts of several planned stories, and simply enjoying life to the best of my abilities. After all, for me, literature accounts for more than just a career plan: it accounts for a lifestyle, it accounts for a set of challenges, and it accounts for an adventure that keeps getting more fascinating with the passage of time.