I am an English major. I read, I write, I edit, rinse, repeat. But I don't want to teach.
The number one thing that all English Majors hear is, "Oh, so you're going to teach?" and it is one of the single most annoying things to answer. Some of us do want to teach! But not all of us.
An English degree is something that can be used quite literally anywhere. It shows that you know how to think deeply and critically, work well with others, value thoroughness, and many other things. Those are skills that can be used anywhere in life.
For example, I want to work in publishing. As morbid as it might sound, I love to correct the way that people write. Cocky, right? But it's what makes me happy, just like teaching might make some happy.
So what can you do with an English degree?
English majors can work in journalism, acting, business, human resources, public relations, advertising — the opportunities are endless.
For a time, I thought I wanted my major to be journalism, but I quickly realized within my first quarter at school actually studying the subject that I really only loved the editing aspect. After a creative writing course, I realized that I liked editing fiction. English literature or creative writing gives you a wide scope to narrow with different things that you enjoy to do.
A lot of the actors you know and love to this day were English majors. James Franco studied at UCLA and is writing new things all the time.
English beyond high school teaches you how to write in a million different settings. Technical, narrative, explicative, persuasive. You could write a 3-page explication about an Emily Dickinson poem and turn around and write a proposal for a project on the same day with an English degree. It equips you with a toolbox of words that are forever at your disposal.
People are normally shocked when I tell them I don't want to teach. It's not because I don't like kids, or I had a bad time in high school. I just think that it's wrong for society to default on one occupation for millions of people to go into when there is a world of options out there.
So next time, take pity on your poor English major friends and ask them what they want to do with their degree — everyone is different and enjoys talking about what they love.