Being an English Major while Residing Temporarily in Simpkin’s Hall



It has been a journey as an English major while at Western Illinois University. Simpkins became my home away from home. Seven years ago, I embarked on my college career as an English education major with a minor in creative writing. Unaware of all the ups and downs I was about to face with my major, I knew one thing was certain: my major in English was where I belonged. Writing and reading has always been what pushed me through my dark times and even those moments I was unsure of what was going on. Writing helped me to escape. It helped me to process through my life. Reading allowed for me to explore another world apart from my own and  connect to the creativity that was blossoming within me. My passion for writing is beyond words, and there isn’t enough time for me to purge my passion.

Starting out as an English education major, I was driven by the future of being able to share my passion with my prospective students. I knew that I would face challenges, like students not having the same level of excitement for English as I do, but that made me crave the challenge more. Unfortunately, unable to meet the ACT requirements, I found my self making the courageous decision to solely focus my major in English. It has been seven long years of failing math over and over, fighting to keep myself at Western, and doing my best to progress as a writer/reader. Here I am, seven years later ,with graduation around the corner, and I have finally made it. I, like many  others, have had my share of doubts about my ability and level of writing/reading. I fear and have feared my writing and comprehension will not be to the standard of those that I will compete with in the real world. When I am in Simpkins, I feel my strength.


I realized quickly that I needed to accept that Simpkins would be prevalent in my daily routine. Simpkins is where I have spent most of my time as a college student. Simpkins, throughout my time, has helped me develop my love for it through its aesthetic structure inside and out. The alleged paranormal that roam through Simpkins have become normal and, in some ways, comforting to me. Simpkins is what it is, it’s beautiful, tells its own story, and is a home to those of us who are English majors. I have spent many hours  in Simpkins with classes, doing homework in the lounge, and even taking naps on the couches to pass time waiting for classes. I feel most at home in Simpkins. There was a moment I had earlier this year when I was sitting in the Simpkins lounge with all my English major friends, talking about current assignments, our outside of school problems, sharing corny English related jokes, and I had this overwhelming feeling of acceptance. I felt happy, passionate, and a sense of belonging. It was in that moment, I felt truly myself.


As I said, I have had some of the hardest moments in my life while at Western, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I have come far, and even with a major switch last minute, I know that my passion is still alive and its strength is growing. The professors in the English department are remarkable and ones that I will not only remember for the rest of my life, but carry with me. I thank each professor that I have had for believing in me and pushing me to know my abilities better than I did. Simpkins, you have become my haven and a place I will always resort back to in my nostalgic moments. And as for my English major friends/acquaintances, thank you for being a part of this journey with me. I have learned from each of you. English has taught me acceptance, a willingness to think deeper/beyond, confidence, and that it is who I am. I will always be proud of the English nerd in me.

Yours truly,

An English major on a mission, Brittney Douglas.