Day in the Life of an English Major

November 17, 2023

All throughout highschool (...and middle school) I would watch countless amounts of “Day in the Life of a…” videos. Heading into my college years, I especially loved to see videos about college students and people who were studying what I wanted to study. Rather than film a video, I’m going to be sharing my day in the life as a Berkeley English major!

From a recent Friday (08/27/23) in the Fall 2023 Semester:

8:30-9:00 am – Waking up! Honestly, sometimes the hardest part of my day. But it is Friday!

9:30 am – Grabbing a quick breakfast, I make a fried egg and toast.

9:45 am – I catch the bus, the 51B (or occasionally the 7) and go to campus.

10:00/10:10 am – I have my first class of the day, an English discussion section. This is for my English 45C: The Mid-19th through the Mid-20th Century class. We meet on Mondays and Wednesdays for lectures and then have our discussion section every Friday. Today in class we talked about the novel The Day of the Locust by Nathaneal West. The novel is heavily influenced by film and different art expressions and each chapter of the novel is written alike to different scenes of a film. After finishing our discussion, my graduate student instructor had each of us draw and color a scene from the book within groups– showing the progression from different scenes while also then analyzing and describing the scene we chose for the class. This was the first time I had colored for school since coming to college, and I think everyone in class enjoyed the throwback to sillier work from middle or high school.

11:00/11:10am – I have a lecture for my Oceans class, a class that I am unsurprisingly not taking for my English major. This class fulfills my biological science requirement for the College of Letters and Science. This class meets Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and despite being outside of my plan of study– I still enjoy it quite a lot. Today we were reviewing and wrapping up our Biological Oceanography unit in preparation for the second midterm.

12:00 pm – I have an hour break, so I meet up with my friend Mia (a fellow English major). We met last semester as we were in the same two classes. At the beginning of the semester, we realized that we were both free for this hour. We go to Goldie’s cafe in the Martin Luther kIng Jr. Student Union building and I get tea and a croissant. We do a combination of catching up and also trying to get some work done. It being a Friday, we are both a little less concerned about getting a lot done… so it is mostly just chatting.

1:00 pm – I say goodbye to Mia and head to Sproul for a tabling shift for one of the clubs I am in– Paws for Mental Health. PMH, for short, is a club that advocates for students and residents mental health through canine companionship. We have students, professors, and just Berkeley residents that volunteer their dogs to be with us Monday through Friday 1-5pm on Sproul, allowing students and visiting families to stop by and say hi to the dog(s). The main goal is for students to have a stress reliever by being able to hang out with a dog in between classes, but we also do a couple fundraisers throughout the year. This day in particular we were doing a polaroid fundraiser, where students could take a polaroid photo with our dogs wearing Halloween costumes. This fundraiser is always a big success and the proceeds are then donated to the Berkeley Humane Shelter! I table with an English Creme Golden Retriever named Comet, and it was just as fun as it is every week.

2:00-2:15 pm – Time to go home! I bus back to my apartment (I live off campus on Southside)

2:30-4:30 pm – I relax and get some reading done for class, this time for my English 90: Poetry and Revolution class. For next week, I started reading Juliana Spahr’s [That Winter the Wolf Came].

4:30-5:00 pm – I got ready to leave for a Hozier concert that I am going to with friends! (@Megan Wang, another Campus Ambassador!)

5:00 pm – Bussed to the Rockridge Bart Station and then took the train into San Francisco.

6:00-11:00 pm – We waited outside in line for a bit, before the doors opened and then the opener + the concert started. I have been to a couple of concerts this semester but I think this one has been my favorite. It was at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, which isn’t a super large venue but bigger than many in San Francisco. We made our way pretty close to the stage and the entire show was just very cool with different fun stage visuals. Hozier’s music is incredibly English major coded, with so many references to literature or biblical stories. The album his tour was for is based on Dante’s Inferno, an epic poem that most English majors will come across at some point in their studies. I have always hoped that someone at Berkeley would create a DeCal (Democratic Education at Cal, student-led niche courses that are usually 1 or 2 units, pass or fail) about Hozier’s lyrics and connections to famous literary texts…Maybe I will create it in a year or two!

11:00 pm – We decided to Uber back to Berkeley and got home in under 30 minutes! After getting back to my apartment I went through all the videos and pictures that I took at the concert, and wallowed that it was over before going to bed.

All in all, it was a very fun and exciting day!