A Week in the Life of an English Secondary Education Major


Photo & Graphics Courtesy of Kayla Thuel

By Kayla Thuel

This is an independently submitted op-ed for our Quill section. Views and statements made in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinions of  The Tower.

Hi! My name is Kayla and I’m a sophomore English Secondary Education double major with a minor in Music. For one whole week, I kept track of what I did and where I went. I’m hoping I can provide some advice and peace of mind to those of you who are either looking for a little more confidence in your choice of major or thinking of switching programs.

I’m a member of the University Honors Program, Phi Eta Sigma, Symphony Orchestra, a few clubs, and an internship. This semester, I’m taking 17 credits, about evenly split between my major and minor. Every day I have a 9:40 and a 2:10 class, plus musical commitments. On Fridays, I get a day off. 

 Come along with me through a week in my life!

9:40 A.M. My week kicks off with ENG 332: Intensive Readings in Drama. For my English major, I’m required to take intensive courses in two genres. We meet twice a week in a seminar/small-group discussion style to read plays together from different eras. This week, we’re exploring Greek tragedy. 

1 P.M. I have MUPI 120A: Private Piano Instruction. These lessons fulfill the piano requirement for my minor. Having only taken two years of formal piano instruction before CUA, my lessons usually include:

  1. Scales
  2. Warm-up exercises
  3. Detailed guidance through a solo piece. 

2:10 P.M. After another quick break, I run over to ENG 462: Plays of Shakespeare II, presented in a more laid-back lecture format than 332. This week, we read Twelfth Night.

EVENING: A typical Monday evening winds down with studying in the Pryz until dinnertime, then reading in my dorm for the rest of the night. 

9:40 A.M. My first class today is EDUC 251: The Foundations of Education. This course is required for everyone pursuing a major or certificate in Education. It’s part lecture, but mainly group work and projects. This week, we’re covering the history of the U.S. public education system.

10:55 A.M. During my lunch break, I catch up on my Tuesday and Wednesday homework.

2:10 P.M. MUS 131: Music Literature is a music history and analysis course for Music minors and Musical Theater majors. The class is lecture-style, with scattered mini-projects. Today, we discussed early 17th-century composers: Vivaldi, Couperin, and Rameau.

3:40-6:30 P.M. Last up is my favorite part of the day, Symphony Orchestra rehearsal! As a non-Music major with a lower seat, I only need to come into rehearsal for the few pieces I’m assigned to play. For our next performance, I’m playing Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony.

EVENING: Internship call and reading until early morning…

Today’s schedule is similar to Monday’s, with the exception of MUPI 180A: Private Violin Instruction at 1:30 p.m. A typical lesson covers a new ètude, a tricky instrumental technique, and one solo or orchestral piece. 

EVENING: I spent my night finishing midterm projects for MUS 131 and EDUC 251, and went to sleep around 2 a.m.

On Thursday, I run through the same core classes as Tuesday. Today, I co-presented my midterm group project in EDUC 251.

AFTERNOON-EVENING: I visited the Counseling Center, ate dinner, and attended orchestra rehearsal from 6:10-9 p.m. 

On Fridays, I have no in-person classes unless a music lesson gets moved. From what I’ve heard, this seems to be a typical occurrence for English Secondary Education sophomores. 

I use my Fridays to catch up on music practice and coursework for DR 205: Intro to Speech Communications, a fully online asynchronous class that is required for English Education licensure. This week, I’m studying non-verbal communication. 

EVENING: From 6-9 p.m., I had an extra orchestra rehearsal in preparation for a performance this weekend. Afterward, I finished off the night with chores and self-care before heading to bed.

Saturdays are usually chill days. I spent most of the day catching up on work, then hung out with friends in the evening. 

10:30 OR 11 A.M. My Sundays start early with Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine or St. Vincent’s Chapel.

Preview of today’s busy schedule:

7:30 P.M. Finished the week strong with my first orchestra concert of the semester!

This semester has definitely been my busiest so far. But when I have spare moments, I enjoy movie nights, games, making art, writing music, attending club events, and exploring D.C. Since I can’t go out as much as I’d like to, my quiet nights in have really been a blessing.

  1. Keep a planner, a digital calendar (with alerts), and a weekly to-do list. 
  2. Keep your room clean and semi-neat. 
  3. Take care of yourself.
  4. Know yourself and prioritize your biggest personal needs.

Thanks for following along! I hope this run-down has been helpful and inspired some of you to consider English Secondary Education and Music!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *