Why Major in English?

Kate Mesic, 2004

Faculty - Kate MesicPeople would hear my heavy accent and then scrunch up their brows and repeat, “English major?”

Yes, an English major. Growing up in Moscow, I was fortunate to be surrounded by my parents’ friends who were artists, writers, and actors. I grew up with a real appreciation for literature and the arts. But I knew that the real creative ability rested only with my father, who was an actor and a writer. My dad has always put an enormous emphasis on language, both in writing and speaking. I guess this is why my Russian is still in good shape. My father always said to me that language is the foundation of anything you will do or become, and I now know that he was and is right (as he still drills it into my head!).

We immigrated to the United States in 1997, and at UNF, at first, I was a psychology major, but one lucky day, I wondered into the UNF Pre-Law Program, and after speaking to the director Professor Martin Edwards, a former attorney, I was convinced that I was going to law school. He told me that if I was going to be a lawyer, the only major for me would be English. He was right.

As an attorney now, I look back and realize that the skills that I acquired at UNF made a tremendous difference both in law school and in the actual practice of law. My English classes taught me to both analyze literature and express myself in a way that I could not before. With the ability to write, comes the ability to speak, which is essential to a lawyer.

My favorite class was and still remains Professor Kimball’s Literary Interpretation. That class changed the way I looked at literature and more importantly changed the way I looked at any text. Two years after I took that class, I was seating in Torts at the University of Florida’s Law School, thinking how glad I was that I was used to reading complex texts and making sense of them because I was prepared to survive reading enormous amounts of material.

I graduated number one in the Department of English in May of 2004, and I still wonder how that happened. I worked hard, but I know that the professors in the Department made it possible for me to succeed, because if I needed help, they were there. They took the time to teach a Russian girl how to make English her first language and I am eternally grateful.