As an English major, it feels impossible to avoid the many stereotyped and prodding questions that are asked of me almost daily. So, let’s drop the clichés: it’s time for the truth behind these senseless statements.
“You’re going to teach, right?”
I hear this statement on what feels like a daily basis. Apparently, that’s all a degree in English can do for you these days. It’s not like a majority of businesses are looking for someone who can write well or anything.
“So, what is it that you really want to do?”
Oh, the inevitable follow up question! Since I’m not planning on using my degree for teaching, what is that I can actually do? Great question! You pretty much can do anything with a degree in English, thanks for asking. There’s publishing, journalism, and even Law School. Yes, many students attending Law school did undergrad as English Majors.
“Being an English major must be so easy.”
Sure, so easy. Reading easily an upward of a thousand pages a week, typically buying over 30 textbooks at the beginning of each semester (which are fortunately cheaper since they’re novels- always a plus!), and writing a hundred pages of essays in a semester, it’s so easy! I have such a light course load that I have all the time in the world to binge on Gilmore Girls on Netflix. It’s the dream. (I wish- binging Gilmore Girls is a real dream).
“I wish I had time to read.”
While we read a lot, and some of it is definitely interesting and life-changing, there are always texts that you simply don’t want to read or just can never really get into. Being forced to read sometimes takes the joy out of it, too. And of course, there are so many books on my personal reading list that won’t even get touched until after graduation since I’m reading practically every second of the day for class.
“Oh, you’re an English major.”
Translation: “So you’re moving back in with your parents after graduation when you inevitably don’t get a job and have absolutely no money to your name.” Like stated above, being an English major is a versatile field that equips students with the ability to think critically and develop writing skills, which will benefit you in a vast array of jobs in the workplace. It’s an employable skill set. Really, I promise.
“I thought about being an English major for a while, but my parents would have literally killed me.”
Well, luckily, my parents were happy with whatever career path and major I chose to pursue and they never questioned me once. It’s important to major in something that you enjoy! But, practicality never hurts. With an English degree, it’s the best of both worlds!
“Would you mind editing this for me?”
You must think, with such a light course load, have all the time to do that for you, right? And while I do consider myself to be a self-proclaimed Grammar Nazi, no, I won’t edit your paper for you. Sorry!