Tyler Graham

As a graduate student in the English department here at the University of Central Arkansas, I undoubtedly believe that there is no better preparation for life than the English degree. The adventure of studying English has given me the tools to navigate my course through life and explore what it means to live in this world. I am forever grateful and appreciative for my professors in the English department who have supported and encouraged me as well as shown me the beauty and ever-lasting power of literature.These aforementioned “tools”—empathy, compassion, criticality, and thoughtfulness, among others—embody the essence of what it means to be human; there is no better deliverance of those tools than through the stories and characters that comprise the literature that I have read and studied. I am so grateful that I have pursued this degree and continue to study literature, and I see the effects of the English degree in my own life every day. I’ve seen the influence that the power of language and words can have on our hearts and minds. I’ve come to understand the importance of empathy and compassion in building and sustaining relationships. I’ve also realized the importance of maintaining thoughtfulness and patience in every endeavor and experience. I believe that the pursuit of the English degree has more of an impact on developing these characteristics than any other discipline or field, for literature is the nexus by which we understand ourselves.

Ultimately, through my endeavors in the English discipline, in the words of David Foster Wallace, I know that “the capital-T Truth is about life BEFORE death.” The immensity of life goes far beyond the boundaries of a page in a book, but it is within those pages that we learn what it means to live within that expansiveness—what it means to be human in the uncertainty—the microcosmic flash that marks our birth and our death—that constitutes our existence.