Despite the fact that I’ve been out of school for over three years now (yikes), I still find myself defending my major when someone asks about it. Almost like a, “Yeah I majored in English but…”
In this economy, with this job market, and with the rise of TV over books, people have a hard time understanding why anyone would possibly invest in an English degree…on purpose.
No matter your age or grade, you are not a real English major unless you’ve heard these 10 things:
1. What are you going to do with that? Um, what aren’t I going to do with this? Seriously. Literally every human in the world would benefit from a little more critical thinking and writing in their lives. You’ll understand when you get a real person job and people still don’t know the right form of their/they’re/there and you just want to die.
2. What are you going to do with that? Again, literally, anything. Any post graduate degree (except maybe med school but I bet there’s a way around that), basically any entry level job that doesn’t require heavy based math, teach, etc. Trust me, I majored in Literature and now I work in finance. Finance!
3. Do you even learn anything useful? Like empathy? Thinking critically? How to observe the world from different lenses? Problem solving? I guess it depends on what you mean by useful. No, I didn’t learn how to analyze data or whatever– but you bet your ass I can learn how to do it real quick.
4. Can you edit this for me? Yes, technically this is a skill I have. Does that make me your free editor? No betch!
5. That must be so easy, what do you do with all your spare time? Sure, it’s not a Biology or Chemistry degree, but it’s insulting to compare an English degree to just a bunch of high school English classes. Our classes are just as challenging as your Marketing classes or whatever.
6. Ohh so you’re going to law school? Again, an English degree is useful on its own. Like any degree its about how you market yourself. A law degree is not always the end goal. Most times, we just want to enjoy our education and study what we love.
7. So, what are you going to teach? Ugh. Maybe.
8. So you must like, be okay with being poor? I mean. I can’t argue this one. But unless the person telling you this is majoring in BioChem, they’re probably going to have to be okay with being poor, too. Because 2014.
9. I wish I liked to read! Hello, we don’t just sit around and read books all day. Okay, we kind of do. But we discuss them in depth, we analyze them to death, we have meaningful conversations. In my mind, everyone should like these things.
10. Is it too late to change your major to something more practical? I swear, people assume English majors just defaulted into it. I can’t be the only person out there who had dreams about getting my degree in English from the first time I semi-understood Shakespeare. Also, so what if it isn’t practical. Many would say the goal of education is to become a well rounded person, not simply to get a job.
[Lead image via Piotr Marcinski/Shutterstock]