Day in and day out as a college student, I get asked what my major is. When I answer with English, I get that look, that look that says "What are you thinking?" Usually, that look manifests itself in the response, "Oh, so you're going to teach." While yes, my middle school and high school English teachers fostered my love for reading and my talent for writing, I know teaching is not the path for me.
I don't possess the patience or stamina to spend my day with America's adolescents and young adults.
So when I reply that I am not planning to be a teacher, the look evolves into an expression that says "Oh honey, you're going nowhere." Lately, I've been launching into a speedy speech before the world's most demeaning expression can appear. I tell them that English majors can do just about anything they want and that I'm interested in public relations, event planning, and law (yes, I'm a hot mess who doesn't know what she wants yet, but that's a whole other article). I try to wrap up the conversation as quickly as possible and move on with my day.
But you know what? I'm sick of it.
I'm sick of having to defend myself for picking a perfectly valid and valuable college major.
I attend a university that is world-renowned for its engineering programs. Engineering graduates from my school are highly successful post-graduation, there's no way to ignore that. However, English majors from my university are doing just as well. 78% of English and creative writing grads from the 2016-2017 school year have obtained jobs and 12% are continuing their education.
You don't have to be a poli-sci or biology major to live out your Shondaland dream. Mind-blowing? I think not. In English, I am not just sitting around reading old texts and learning details about them. Instead, I am being taught how to critically think about the information presented to me and analyze it both verbally and in writing. In simpler terms, I am learning skills, not facts or information about books.
The skills taught in the English major are highly transferrable and becoming more and more necessary as we move to a technology-based society. On the most basic level, someone has to be writing those social media blurbs you see in your timeline every day. But even more importantly, the ability to think critically is necessary for almost every single field.
So next time I encounter that look that says "You won't make anything of yourself," I'll say "Watch me."