Sorry, no convenient restrooms, you have to pee in the woods.

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"The notion that the literary humanities in particular have been at the heart of American higher education is, I think, a mirage." 

I began as a Communications major and Marketing minor because I thought that was as close to the English major as I was going to get.  The article is right, English majors don't seem to have very many options.  In today's society, we have to prove that we're versatile.  We can't just wave our license in front of an employer's face and say, "See, I'm qualified!"

 I feel like we chose to take the back roads without a GPS.  We'll get there eventually.  Sure, there were no restrooms so we had to stop to pee in the woods a few times.  Pack our own picnic lunch because there aren't any Burger Kings along the way, but in the end, English majors (and liberal arts majors in general) have seen more on the journey.  I like to think that our unnecessarily large debts have given us more knowledge and an edge on other job seekers who only know one field.  Most people will have (what's the statistic?) 7 to ten jobs in their life? 

I was never able to dive far enough into Communications to declare what I didn't like about it. I just realized that I wanted to be a teacher (and hoped to marry rich). I know you all are concerned about what you're going to do because you don't want to be teachers, but hey, at least you have teaching as a backup plan?

Maybe this is naive, but I feel like learning on the job is the only real kind of training a person needs for a large portion of careers. Obviously this doesn't apply to doctors or lawyers, but numerous secretarial/desk positions, hospitality, management... I think with a few extra classes (many companies are willing to pay for if you've proven yourself to be a good employee) will train you for the particulars of a job as long as you have the skills to learn the material. I feel like most undergraduate degrees are simply to teach people how to learn on their own, research, study, ask questions, and seek out the answers from reliable sources.

I guess we'll all find out whether we were foolish to choose English as our major in a few short years.  The good part is that we can always change our minds.   Sure, that means several more years dedicated to schoolwork and knee deep in debt, but it can be done.  Hopefully by then we'll know exactly what career we want and how to go about getting it... 


Class comments

2 Comments

Internships.

Internships, internships, internships. They will open doors that an academic transcript won't do alone.

Jessica Orlowski said:

Carissa, I think that marrying rich would be a bonus. And I love your "backwoods" analogy. You're right- we are taking a route that is not as quick as other majors. Are we stupid? No. We're... old-fashioned?

As for having teaching as a backup plan, I believe that that is a problem with the American school system. Pennsylvania is pumping out highly qualified teachers, but what about those poor schoolchildren down South who have teachers who chose teaching as their backup plan? I think that we, as future teachers, will have it hard, but we're brave for being willing to go into massive amounts of debt for a wonderful field.

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