When I tell people I’m an English major, I usually get the same three standard statements or questions, and I’m sure most of you other English majors know what I mean.
(1). “What are you going to do with that degree?”
The first question is usually said in a demeaning way, and sometimes they will even say, “You’ll never find a job.” Sometimes, my own mother tells me that. I’ll be the first to admit that I thought English was a silly degree before I got to college. Like many I was under the impression that the school system was the only place English majors would find work, but as I explored my passion for writing, I came to realize that the English field has endless possibilities. You can be a journalist, a publisher, an editor, a grant writer, a marketing or research specialist, and even a political aid (speech writing). In the modern world you can really do anything your heart desires; it’s just a matter of finding your niche and holding on to it.
(2). “You must read a lot.”
Just because I happen to enjoy a little literary symbolism here and there doesn’t mean I spend my days reading and pining over the extensive works of Charles Dickens and Victor Hugo. I read what I’m told to read by my professors and teachers, and occasionally I’ll pick up a trashy teen romance novel for kicks and giggles. Writing and Publications is actually my degree concentration, so I tend to use my keyboard more than my Kindle. I enjoy reading. It was definitely a big factor when I chose to walk down the path of English, but I’m also not a literary connoisseur.
(3.) “I’m sorry!”
Why are you sorry? I’m sure every major has gotten this response. I know I’ve said it to every biology major, but when I get “sorry” it’s usually followed by a, “that’s a lot of essays.” Yeah, it is. But I enjoy the work I’m assigned. Like any major, English is tedious and involves a lot of practice and skill, but there is no reason for anyone to be sorry for anyone else. I chose to surround myself with grammar and ten page essays and confusing poetry, just as Math majors surround themselves with fractions and geometry and other things I can’t comprehend. We all have something we are good at that we should embrace. Take a minute to appreciate all the hard work around you. If people didn’t possess different skills and interest, the world would be a pretty boring place.