In Support of the English Major

I was an English major.

The conversation usually went like this:
What are you going to do with that– teach?

No, I’m not an English education major, just English.

So, like, you’re gonna … read and write?  Good luck with that.

If I could re-do all those conversations, I’d answer differently now.  When asked What are you going to do with that? my answer would be:

Whatever I want.

My English degree is going to teach me to think critically and communicate well, skills that any employer is going to want from his/her workers.  I’m going to have my creativity stoked, my writing skills honed, and my worldview shaped and sharpened by reading the works and thoughts of some of the greatest minds in history.  I’m going to be able to problem solve, think on my feet, fashion thoughtful responses and do it all with style.  I can use my English degree as a stepping stone toward a graduate degree in a wide variety of fields, if I choose.  Or I can choose to be gainfully employed by a company that needs a hard-working creative thinker.

And write my stories and poetry at night.

That’s what I’m going to do with my English major.

And now that I've stepped off my soapbox, please enjoy this comic, which is even funnier because of its terribly limited view of what an English major can do.

And now that I’ve stepped off my soapbox, please enjoy this comic, which is even funnier because of its terribly limited view of what an English major can do.

Related posts:
My History as a Writer
Date a Girl Who Writes
Why Write?

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3 thoughts on “In Support of the English Major

  1. LOVE this. I’ve never had someone ask me anything but, “So are you going to teach?” Granted, that is what I hope to do, but that wasn’t my original intention, and I LOVE the plethora of solid reasons you give. Now I know what to say!

  2. I was an English major, too, and I ALWAYS got asked, so you’re going to teach? I had no plans to until I decided to go to grad school, and that became part of the package. I agree that an English major is valuable in helping us think and write. But it looks like all the “advice” out there now is to get something more practical that will lead to a great job; and THEN when said job makes you miserable, “do what you love.” Sigh.

  3. So wish I had had the courage while in college to be that English major instead of doing something else. But I had parents that constantly asked, “What are you going to do with that?” and I could never come up with a good response except, “Write stories.”

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