When you're surrounded by statistics and studies displaying how much money STEM majors make or how advantageous degrees within scientific fields can be, it can be difficult for a lover of words to feel like they can succeed. As an English major myself, I've often had to defend my reasoning behind my choice of study because most people see it as a step to become a teacher, or simply because I like to read. Regardless of each English major's personal reason for pursuing a degree within the field, here are seven reasons why English is one of the best things you can study during your higher education.
1. The ability to write, and write effectively, can open more doors than you think
Especially in our current political and social climate, the power of eloquence is needed more now than ever. Harsh rhetoric and ignorant communication only serve to breed more problems within society, which isn't what we need. By studying English, you'll learn not only how to write, but how to write effectively. The authors and orators of history aren't remembered for the content of their work, but rather, how they wrote it. There's a reason why they say history is written, you know.
2. Literature broadens your horizons and makes you a well-rounded individual
Back in old times, the biggest sign and staple of being refined or successful was having a broad education which, more often than not, included the study of literature. You don't have to enjoy Charles Dickens or understand one hundred percent of what Shakespeare is saying in his plays, but giving yourself the chance to read them nowadays can help you understand a lot more about the world and humanity itself. Being well-read is still an admirable trait in people and can only bolster your knowledge if nothing else.
3. English, paired with other majors, can make your resume stronger
Whether you plan on continuing your education or diving into the workforce, having a degree in English can set you apart for the crowd of applicants and hopefuls. A degree in English, often paired with other degrees like history or political science or anything else, really, indicates that you are perceptive and have an attention to detail while also being able to effectively communicate something. These sorts of skills make English majors among one of the most hired majors out there. In fact, at UIUC, English majors are the most hired within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences!
4. For bookworms, you'll always have something new to read
I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a lot of reading that went into being an English major. A lot of required classes can be surveys of different eras of writing, which can have you reading everything from poetry to plays to novels and anything in between. Luckily, most English majors like to read, so this is far from a problem. While it can be difficult to read for a grade sometimes, the things you'll read in your classes for the major can help you discover a new favorite genre or book, and your professors will be more than happy to offer you more suggestions!
5. For writers, you'll learn new ways of writing
Probably the most interesting thing I've been learning as an English major is how different writers communicate their ideas and stories. There's something different about them all, and because of this, they've earned their place in history. How do poems vary, and how can you create a short story that'll leave everyone on the edge of their seats? As an English major, you'll learn all of these secrets and more.
6. English professors are the wisest out there
Okay, so Dumbledore wasn't an English major. Point being: literature is full of truth and wisdom that only those adept enough to perceive it can understand it, and this is exactly what professors of English can do. They are advocates for that which makes humanity whole, and because of this, they're some of the best teachers out there. Supportive and intelligent, they'll be able to turn a reading assignment into a whole new worldview that you have never seen before.
7. Not all English majors want to become teachers, but those that do are dedicated to the craft
Teaching is a noble occupation, regardless of what you think about school. For someone who wants to use their English degree to shape young people's minds, there is nothing more rewarding. Knowledge is a gift, and those that desire to bestow it upon all they can are those that humanity can trust.
Whether you're contemplating an undergraduate major or looking to add another one, take this as your consideration to pursue a degree in English!