This week, we are featuring two installments of EUA’s Humans of English series, both featuring graduating seniors; this reflection is from Megan Breazeale.
My name is Megan Breazeale and I’m a graduating senior that transferred to Cal back in 2015 after going between multiple community colleges. The English Department at Berkeley is everything I ever wanted it to be. Engaging, inspiring, and passionate. It’s made me fall in love with literature again and again. I took forever to decide on the English major. Not because I didn’t love it, because I did with my whole heart. One of my earliest memories is of my dad reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit to me before bed and feeling swept away to Middle Earth. It took me so long to decide on English because I grew up in a family of STEM people in a town known for its STEM companies and was taught to believe that the humanities was a one way ticket to a poor and stressful adulthood. All lies, of course, and I have since seen proof of the opposite, but it wasn’t until I finished my breadth courses and began taking English classes for fun that I ignored what everyone was telling me and decided that English was the only major for me. Best decision I ever made. Hands down.
There is so many things to love about English literature. I love that we spend all day deconstructing and interpreting other people’s thoughts and feelings. I love the studious examinations involving the contradictions and complexities of human motivation and desire. I love that literature and studying literature are part of an ancient storytelling tradition that someone in every generation has participated in since we first learned how to speak. Most of all, I think, I love the English community and how we’re all a bunch of nerds who can bemoan Rowling’s Umbridge and Shakespeare’s Iago in the same sentence. When I first got to Berkeley, I didn’t know anyone, but quickly found my place in the English Undergraduate Association where we had conversations like that every day. The EUA means so much to me. I found a home there. I joined the board, met some wonderful people, and fully embraced all aspects of English literature. I owe a large part of my identity to English and the EUA.
When I graduate this semester, I’ll be better off than I would have been if I had done what my parents and everyone in my hometown told me to do. If I have any parting words of advice for continuing students, it would be this: don’t let other people tell you what English is or means. Find out for yourself. And when you decide, carry it with you wherever you go, as you do all things that matter.
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 Cal. Since 1993, the English Undergraduate Association has hosted literary activities, provided opportunities to network, and helped English majors connect with one another. The EUA’s Humans of English series highlights the myriad stories of English majors in the department.