"Hello, my name is Katharina and I'm an English major." Whenever I utter these words to anyone other than the people in my major-specific classes, the first response is either a confused look or some form of "Why would you choose that?" After a while, it just gets annoying. So I'm here to help debunk the typical English major myths.
Our degree is going to be useless after we graduate.
If you've ever thought or said this, I guarantee you that the person you're talking to has thought about how uninformed you are. There are so many career options when you get a degree in English, no matter what track you might be on. You can become a technical writer, publisher, editor, teacher, translator, author, and more. And you know what's really cool? Every job needs some type of writer or someone with a history in English, so the need for people with English degrees will never fade out.
We want to become teachers.
Teaching's cool, but it's not for everyone. That applies to English majors as well. People automatically assume that when someone's pursuing a degree in English, it means that they want to teach for the rest of their life. Again, there are so many career options out there for us English majors, even more that the ones I listed above.
We love to read, and we've read all of the classics
I hate reading assigned texts, and I don't have time for pleasure reading. Even though I loved reading in middle school, it's faded throughout the years. Some English majors never liked to read, but writing was what they loved. I often get asked how many of the classic books I've read, and honestly, I wouldn't even know how to respond. Hell, I don't even know what most of the classics are. There are so many tracks that you can major in, and half of them have nothing to do with reading.
We love to edit
Okay, maybe this one isn't so much a myth for me. There are times when I reading a normal document and I mentally edit all the things I would change to make it better. But that's me, and I'm one of the millions of English degree-seeking people out there, and I've met plenty of fellow English majors that hate editing their own papers, let alone another's. It's just like teach, some of us might want to do it, and some of us don't. Yes, that means that just because your friend is an English major, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are willing to edit any and all of your stuff.
We are all "grammar nazis"
This myth rings true for a few, but most English majors make so many mistakes themselves that it's laughable when people assume that we're "grammar nazis." We're still in school, and with the amount of papers we write per week or month, it's too much effort to be a grammar-obsessed person. Trust me, when I edit my papers, I find a mistake or two in each paragraph, and when I talk, there are so many mistakes in one conversation. And I know this doesn't apply to just me. There are those who are all about having proper grammar 24/7, but there are just as many who really don't give a sh*t.
We all want to be authors.
There's a reason I'm on a Professional Writing, Rhetoric and Technology track rather than a Creative Writing one: I can't write creatively to save my life. So, no, we don't all want to be authors. Don't get me wrong, I love to write, but I love to write critically, with the occasional creative flare here and there.
There are so many options out there for English majors, just like there are for any other major. I know people who study English on a pre-med or law track, so don't assume that everyone wants to do the same thing, or that there isn't any use for a degree in English. So, all you people who believed these myths, stop. And all you English majors, show 'em what you got.