I have a degree in English Literature. I also went to a school wherein if you were majoring in English Lit, it was assumed you’d be headed to their teacher program post-graduation, so the degree came with heavy grammar and writing requirements. Well, I didn’t go into the teaching program. I’d never planned on it. I went into the insurance industry instead. For years, I didn’t use my degree one whit, unless you count writing claim reports, transcribing investigative interviews, or writing compelling requests for settlement authorization.
Six or seven years ago, we formed a book club amongst our group of friends. I had part of my learning process back, and loved it. I’ve also volunteered in the kids’ classrooms, helping with reading groups and, when Big Man was in fourth grade, writing. But nothing over the last twenty-plus years (geez, I’m giving huge clues how old I really am!), I haven’t really used my degree. Oh, I write here, and that counts, but you know what I mean.
Big Man is in ninth grade. He’s taking Honors English. He’s reading things I read my Freshman year, and then some. But it gave me a new confidence to be able to work with him on a paper, to help him with definitions in the book they’re currently reading, to help him work out themes and support his ideas/thoughts.
The kids are used to going to their dad for help with math and science questions. They haven’t really needed much help from me other than asking me how to spell stuff, or if they had put commas in all the right places. Big Man has looked at me with new eyes in recent months, and it feels good. I’m good at something, and I can help him. Strangely, that’s made me feel like I matter more than for just doing laundry, cooking, and cleaning. I’m getting to use all those awesome things I learned way back when, and that’s kinda cool.