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OP-ED: Summer Break Is over and Now I Am Illiterate


Photo by StockSnap / CC0

Since I'm an English major at Penn, you might question my sudden claim to illiteracy. You may find yourself asking, how did she type this? How is she taking any classes? However, it really is true: I can’t read anymore, yet I find myself enrolled in four English classes.

I am dictating these words to a fellow English major right now, and despite some minor difficulties, I think I am helping her maintain her literacy, and thus doing a good deed for the world in these trying times. 

After months spent lying to professors and loved ones about conducting research for my thesis, telling my friends I’d read the things they suggested, and scrolling through Instagram instead of reading the news, I picked up a book one day and couldn’t get past the first page. There were pictures though, and that helped a little bit. I tried to read my email, even BuzzFeed, but found myself lost in a sea of text. 

The semester has started, and sentences remain indecipherable. Now, I ask friends and strangers to read SparkNotes to me, and I have found this hasn’t impacted the quality of my contributions in class. 

However, as long as I keep saying “piggybacking off of that” in class and then absently mentioning Foucault, I think I’ll be able to keep up the facade.