In defense of writing

September 26th, 2013

Whenever I tell people I am an English major, the first thing everyone says is, “Oh … so what are you going to do with that?” Then, I find myself becoming extra frustrated when I mention that I write for The Carroll News and get, “But newspapers are dead.”

In this fast-paced and instant society that we live in, it definitely seems like the art of writing has become completely obsolete. Very few people take the time to sit down and read an actual book or pick up a newspaper and flip through the ink-covered pages. Now, we just whip out our smartphones and scroll through the CNN app or pull out our Kindle and finish reading the rest of “The Hunger Games” on our electronic screens.

My question is, what happened to the days when good writing was respected as a highly valued art form? I apparently missed the sudden death of the written word and I am actually kind of irritated I was never invited to the funeral; I even prepared a beautiful eulogy.

With the rise of technology, writing all of the sudden became an outdated area of study. English majors became laughing stocks and anyone who wanted to major in journalism was seen as a silly idealist who couldn’t see the proverbial writing on the wall. Newspapers and books started to be seen as tinder and decorations rather than practical sources of information and enlightenment.

Now, some may think I am just bitter because of my fear of living in a cardboard box after I presumably receive my diploma in English and shake the hand of the Rev. Robert Niehoff, S.J., but that is not the case at all.

Well, okay, maybe I am a little bitter; cardboard doesn’t hold up well in the snow and rain.

But all joking aside, writing is still something that is as valuable as ever. If you think of all of those articles you read online, e-books you have stored on your Kindle, and BuzzFeed lists you scroll through during your highbrow world economics class, they all had to be written by someone. The art of writing is not dead. Actually, it is quite the opposite.

When everyone started turning to the science, technology, engineering and math fields, interest in the study of writing took a sharp dive, leading to an incredible deficit of people who know how to write well.

It amazes me how people so easily forget that even though the way people are reading changes, it does not change the need for writers. We are still going to need to get our news and entertainment some way and no matter what people say, there is always going to be a need for people who write well.

Even in this fast-paced world of instant news and entertainment, things still need to be written about; financial reports still need to be compiled, competitor analyses still need to be written and book reports still need to be given. There is too much of a need for good writing for the English major to ever become extinct. Sure, the way we read may change, but that doesn’t mean we are going to stop reading.

So yes, I am an English major. Yes, I write for a newspaper. And yes, I do fear living in a cardboard box after graduation, but that doesn’t mean I am going to spend my life being miserable. I love writing and if you have a passion for something, you can always make it work.

So to those finance majors who have a knack for poetry and biology students who miss reading the works of William Shakespeare, consider coming over to the humanities side for a little while, there are plenty of grammar jokes and tea to go around.