“What are you going to do with an English major?”
My favorite English professor had the best answer to this. “What are you going to do with ANY major?” he’d grump, albeit with his famous twinkle in his eye.
He was a man of great discernment and humor. He was also right. Speaking personally, you can do anything you want with an English major. I’ve reinvented my career several times while still using what I learned in college.
Yet in The Decline and Fall of the English Major from NYTimes.com, not doing what you want seems more than a mere possibility. A new report shows that students are veering away from a major that supposedly won’t pay the bills, and not just because of parental pressure either; the humanities themselves “often do a bad job of explaining why the humanities matter.”
And it’s a shame. Even if you have no intention of being a writer—which is just one aspect the English major can take–learning how to articulate yourself in print, express your thoughts clearly, and comprehend what you read are still abilities surely (or sorely) valuable today. You don’t have to be an English major to learn these skills, either.
How has your major helped with your career or life in general? If you’re still in school, did you pick something other than what you wanted because you were worried about making a living?
Note: I can’t see that NYT’s headline title without thinking of this (versus the obvious).