At some point between the formation of universities and the increasing costs of tuition prices, being an English major became stigmatized. Much like its companions in the world of arts and humanities, an English degree is scrutinized under the assumption that it yields no value.
At my high school graduation, a family friend asked me what I would major in when I got to college. When I told her I wanted to major in English, she gave me a look of surprise, and then of confusion. She asked me what I’d planned on doing with my degree, and when I told her I had no intention of becoming a teacher, she looked bewildered.
“How are you going to get a job?”
This is the most common–and also the most passive-aggressively rude–question I get. As a junior, I have grown used to those wary stares and the quiet–but harsh–judgement from my peers. Still, I don’t regret choosing the major I did.
There is nothing I love more than reading and writing, and I’ve loved these things since I was young.
Employers want English majors more than they want business majors, according to CBS News. Businesses want people that can communicate effectively–both verbally and in writing. And while I’m sure you learn some great skills in business classes, you don’t necessarily learn how to communicate effectively. All businesses need writers! There will always be jobs available in business writing.
The truth is, being an English major is hard sometimes, just like any other major.
Studying literature isn’t as easy as people make it out to be. We study history, linguistics, culture and more; we need to be knowledgeable about so many other aspects. When reading a text, we have to understand the world it’s set in. For example, if a poem or a novel is set in 18th century England, we can’t treat it in regards to our own modern society. We have to analyze it through the context of that time period socially, economically, etc.
I’ve learned a lot in my three years so far as an English major. I learned how to transform notes into an argument; I learned how to take random thoughts and make them coherent. I learned how to research, how to be curious, how to analyze and how to tell stories.
Still not convinced?
Think about this way: what would every culture be like if their most well-known author or critic or editor had not pursued their dream?