One Thing I Can Tell You

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Is You Got To Be Free!

"The Decline of the English Department" just goes to show you that people want money today rather than to be a scholar. It takes a lot more brainwork to be a scholar than to be a high paid business person.

Disclaimer: I do not mean to put down teachers. We need them.

Most of the students majoring in English, history, or a foreign language are going into teaching also. They aren't majoring in English to really learn it. English is one of the most versatile majors for education. People are looking for majors that will provide them with a job. English, at first glance, doesn't appear to have many openings/outlets to high paying jobs.

People also aren't reading books anymore so wannabe writers may look to major in something else that will make them money and write part-time.

Even Seton Hill feels this pressure in the humanities. We used to have philosophy as a major, but now it has been dropped to a minor.

"Finding pleasure in such reading, and indeed in majoring in English, was a declaration at the time that education was not at all about getting a job or securing one's future. In comparison with the pre-professional ambitions that dominate the lives of American undergraduates today, the psychological condition of students of the time was defined by self-reflection, innocence, and a casual irresponsibility about what was coming next."

Why can't we go back to that?

SO

8 Comments

Josie Rush said:

It would be so nice to "go back to that." I think our world's priorities are really messed up, but amazingly, no one has really asked for my opinion on the matter. I agree, most people major in English to teach. I also agree that we need teachers. However, people need to do other things with that major, too, or else we're majoring in English to teach people who will major in English to teach...You see what I mean? I'm definitely, by no means, saying that it's a bad idea to want to teach with your English degree, or that teaching is less of a profession, or anything like that. I'm just saying maybe if people knew more of what was available to them with their degree in English, if they didn't just think the only possibility for them was teaching, maybe more people would view it as a worthy major? Though, you're right Aja, the money just isn't there.
I mention you on my blog, btw.

Aja Hannah said:

Thanks for the mention, Josie! As we read in our Into to Lit book "I'm an English Major. Now what?" There is a lot we can do, but I feel if we don't know, then how does the rest of the world know?

It will be harder for us because we have to show how our degree is worthy and useful to business (or whatever we go into).

Schools don't make it easy to just major in Creative Writing either. We need 120 credits to graduate and I looked at how many credits we would have with the liberal arts and creative writing major (keeping in mind that some credits overlap). It comes out to about 90 credits. We still have almost another major's worth of credits to make up somewhere.

Carissa Altizer said:

I agree with the section in the article that blamed a large portion of the problem on rising college costs. If it didn't cost the price of a new car for every semester I stayed in college, I would be a lot more likely to stay for a few more semesters while wading in additional classes that I actually want to take instead of just my requirements. I wouldn't take anymore than 15 credits per semester so I can take the time to read every chapter that's assigned and to put my heart and soul into every major assignment. The costs of college have certainly put a large amount of stress on me to finish in 4 years, even though my degree and certifications call for about 5. I came to school to learn, not to rush through my classes. Unfortunately, my financial situation is pushing me along a little faster than I prefer. I think there are a lot of students who feel the same pressure.

Josie Rush said:

Carissa, I agree with you. Our country wants us educated, but then makes it so we have to consider selling vital organs in order to go to college? It's ridiculous. I think education is extremely important, and yet each semester here is a struggle for me financially.
Something that undoubtedly concerns English majors is the fact that the jobs ppl equate with a degree in English do not pay very well. So what will these people do after college when they are up to their necks in loans? It's more prudent to go where the money is, I guess, but here we all are, majoring in English. lol.

Jessica Orlowski said:

Josie,

That's one thing we're doing wrong (not us, the country)- why do we need to sell our limbs. It's almost as if America LIKES having a majority of their citizens below the poverty line. GAH. Rant over. Anyway, AJA- it will be hard to prove to businesses that our degree is useful, but at least we can write about it well and convincingly. Sheesh- I KNEW that we had to suffer through all of this intensive training on persuasive writing for a reason!

Aja Hannah said:

That's one of my problems at Seton Hill. There are so many classes I'd love to take, but I'm paying my own way and I know when I get out of college I only have that 6 month window to start making some good money to pay it all back. (All at once!)

I'd love to stay and minor in biology or get a certificate in education, but it's just not financially realistic. Until I knew we needed 120 credits (rather than just what our major and liberal arts called for), I thought I'd be graduating early with $15,000 less in loans.

Maybe one day, when I'm established and don't care about the need to keep scholarships to help me pay, I will return to school.

Kayla Lesko said:

The thing is that, I knew going into my Creative Writing major that there wasn't a great deal of money in it, but that didn't stop me.

Aja Hannah said:

Kayla,

It didn't stop me either, but then again I know I don't have to make money to provide for my family. I would if I had to, but I'm more traditional and I'd like to get married, have kids, and make the lesser income so I can stay home more.

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