When I applied for university, I was very excited to be able to study both English and Writing at a higher level, and achieve an in-depth understanding of the process of writing and how it works. When I began second term, I began looking through all of the potential writing courses I could take over the next three years (at my university, there are a lot) and I planned out my next three years to fit the module I was strongly considering. It all seemed like this would be too good to be true. I wouldn’t be one of those students that switched their major ten times, or was still undeclared by the end of first year – not that there is anything wrong with that, I just personally wanted to have my life figured out as soon as possible. I like everything to be in order and to have a game-plan ahead of time.
Now I am not so sure.
The reconsidering began a few weeks ago when it suddenly occurred to me that I did not enjoy my first year writing class: Writing 1000. It was the only writing class I could take as a first year student. After this realization, I began turning over the idea in my head that maybe I shouldn’t study writing in post-secondary. Maybe a writing degree wasn’t for me; after all, I’ve heard many book authors claim that creative writing isn’t something that can be taught in a classroom, but rather something you only learn as an avid reader (Rick Riordan, one of my favourite authors, is one that has openly stated this). I honestly agree with that. When I read other people’s work in my class, I can tell if they are readers or not. As an avid reader that also loves to write, it is something that I can spot easily. And this is where my hesitation to pursue a degree in creative writing comes in.
I feel that when a university offers a creative writing diploma/degree/certificate, it has a very strict idea on what writers they will produce. Even in a first year course, it feels very confined, strict to rules, and does not allow for much creative freedom except in poetry. I feel professors are trying to turn their students into a specific type of writer; which type, I have not yet put my finger on. I am sure the writing professors all have their best intentions with this course. I just don’t think they really will have a positive impact on myself and my career.
My aspirations include having a career in publishing, and maybe years down the road, writing a novel; both things that don’t require a degree in writing. I feel an inner turmoil of doubt when I consider pursuing this degree in writing I originally wanted – the Honors Specialization in English Literature & Language and Creative Writing. It nags at the back of my mind like a nat, and creeps its way forward when I least want it to. I’ve done and redone my Intent to Register three times now, and I’m finally forcing myself to stick with the choice I made. I can always change it next year, but I want to have it figured out now to remove this inner discomfort and unrest I always feel.
I’ve decided to let it remain up to fate for now. I’ll submit my portfolio, and if I am accepted to the Honors Spec with creative writing at the end of May, I will go from there. The only thing I know for certain is that I want to do an Honors Specialization in English Literature & Language with a minor in Classics. While I am still on the fence about the writing aspect, I now know that it’s okay to doubt what you’re studying and how you feel about it. It’s okay to want to change your degree because what you enjoyed in high school you don’t enjoy in university. In the end, it will all work out. I know I will still come out with a degree I worked hard for, and I will still be able to get a job in the profession I want. Not pursuing a writing degree doesn’t inhibit me or my career in any way. So really, is it worth taking?