5 Reasons Why I Will Never Regret My English Degree

5 Reasons Why I Will Never Regret My English Degree

You don't have to live life "practically."
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Last Friday, I had a phone interview with two representatives for a contract job at Beth Israel hospital. My consultant at the temp agency I work for had sent in my resume that Monday and the next day Beth Israel asked for references. Then, once all my references responded, they asked for a phone interview. I was psyched.

Long story short: I bombed it.

That’s my own fault. Phone interviews have always been a weakness for me (funny thing coming from an introvert, isn’t it?). I need to work on that. But during the call, one of the interviewers said:

“Is temp work all you could get?”

Maybe she hadn’t meant it to come off as rude, but her tone suggested otherwise. I told her the truth: in the months following my graduation in 2016, I struggled to find work. I sent out resumes and even scored a few interviews. Aside from not getting a response at all, the final answer was commonly “we’re looking for someone with more experience.”

Even RETAIL proved to be a problem. I got turned down for a job at Bath & Body Works. My first real job as a Magna Cum Laude college graduate was in women’s shoes at Macy’s, and the store I worked at closed four months later when HQ in New York made the executive decision to close chains around the country after Amazon kicked their butts at Christmas.

In college, I was an English major concentrating in creative writing with a double minor in Communications and Women & Gender Studies. Even as a freshman, I knew the job market was not entirely promising for me when I graduated. But I never regretted my degree. And here’s why:

1. I was not good at subjects with promised jobs.

Having failed math and science throughout my twelve years in public school, I knew careers like nursing and engineering were off the table for me. Education might have been an option—I was told I would be a good teacher. Only that requires some knowledge of math and science, too, especially if I went down the elementary school route.

But the real reason I decided not to pursue a teaching degree is because of my overall disdain of school politics. The powers that be in the educational system care more about test scores than whether or not the students are actually learning anything.

2. I built on what I was good at.

An English degree allowed me to do what I loved most—reading—and build on what I am good at—writing. Writing is something I am not only good at, but I have a passion for. Four years in college, I produced work I am still proud of to this day, including an 84-page novella I wrote my freshman year and a one-act play that Curry College’s theater students performed in the 2016 New Plays Festival.

I was encouraged to keep writing after graduation. I started a book blog, where I review books I read and do a lot of fun bookish posts. All of you currently reading this article on Odyssey’s website are graced with my entertaining writing skills because I chose to study English.

Writing itself is severely underappreciated. You have to send emails to your bosses and co-workers, right? How do you think you’re going to look to your employer if you send him or her an email filled with typos spell check ignored and you were too lazy to actually do the spell check yourself?

My English degree also gave me the ability to explore new ideas, build on old ones, and explain my opinions in an eloquent way that a professor once told me: “I disagreed with everything you said, but you are very persuasive.” I would never have found that if I had never said “screw you” to being practical.

3. I was happy and my grades showed it.

High school did not go well for me. By my senior year of high school, the book club I was a member of was disbanded and English electives were gone. When I was applying to colleges, my parents didn’t seem to pay too much attention to what I chose to study. Dad was more worried about me getting into a school, while Mom was more preoccupied with me getting a yearbook and a class ring and going to prom.

Then, a year later, the final grades for my first semester of college came in and I got a B in math — the first time ever in my life. In fact, throughout my whole college career, I got only three Cs.

You could say I was a good student, which I was, but there was more to it than that. I was happy. Not only was I making friends, I was doing something I loved. I was excited to go to my English classes, even if it meant analyzing Beowulf or The Communist Manifesto. I was letting out my creativity through writing.

4. So many people I knew pursued “practical” and they were unhappy.

Many of you probably experienced this yourselves in college, or you know someone that did. I can’t tell you how many times I heard: “My parents would have killed me if I didn’t do something practical.” More often than not, people nowadays choose their degrees based on what their family wants or what they think will score a job after graduation. Throughout those four years, most were probably miserable.

Newsflash: if you wanted a guaranteed job after graduation, you should have gone to trade school.

5. I studied what I love and it helped me set the path I am meant to be on.

Reading and writing is what makes me happy. I could have been a teacher. I could have gone into something in the health and wellness field. I could have done something technological. But I doubt I would have been nearly as happy or have found my true calling in life.

If there wasn’t the pesky matter of not wanting to live with my parents forever, I would absolutely devote myself to writing. Unfortunately, I will have to contradict everything I just ranted about in this article and agree with practical. I admit that not everyone is J.K. Rowling. But my decision to go graduate school to get my Master’s in Library and Information Science is rooted in my English degree. I love books and literature enough to make it a part of my life as much as I can.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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5 Things I Learned While Being A CNA

It's more than just $10 an hour. It is priceless.
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If I asked you to wipe someone's butt for $10 would you do it? If I asked you to give a shower to a blind, mentally confused person for $10 would you do it? If I asked you to simply wear a shirt stained with feces that was not your own for 12+ hours for $10 would you do it?

You probably wouldn't do it. I do it every day. During the course of one hour I change diapers, give showers to those who can no longer bathe themselves, feed mouths that sometimes can no longer speak and show love to some that do not even know I am there all for ten dollars.

I am a certified nursing assistant.

My experiences while working as a CNA have made me realize a few things that I believe every person should consider, especially those that are in the medical field.

1. The World Needs More People To Care

Working as a nursing assistant is not my only source of income. For the past year I have also worked as a waitress. There are nights that I make triple the amount while working as a waitress for 6 hours than I make while taking care of several lives during a 12 hour shift. Don't get me wrong, being a waitress is not a piece of cake. I do, however, find it upsetting that people care more about the quality of their food than the quality of care that human beings are receiving. I think the problem with the world is that we need to care more or more people need to start caring.

2. I Would Do This Job For Free

One of my teachers in high school said "I love my job so much, if I didn't have to pay bills, I would do it for free." I had no clue what this guy was talking about. He would work for free? He would teach drama filled, immature high school students for free? He's crazy.

I thought he was crazy until I became a CNA. Now I can honestly say that this is a job I would do for free. I would do it for free? I'd wipe butts for free? I must be crazy.

There is a very common misconception that I am just a butt-wiper, but I am more than that. I save lives!

Every night I walk into work with a smile on my face at 5:00 PM, and I leave with a grin plastered on my face from ear to ear every morning at 5:30 AM. These people are not just patients, they are my family. I am the last face they see at night and the first one they talk to in the morning.

3. Eat Dessert First

Eat your dessert first. My biggest pet peeve is when I hear another CNA yell at another human being as if they are being scolded. One day I witnessed a co-worker take away a resident's ice cream, because they insisted the resident needed to "get their protein."

Although that may be true, we are here to take care of the patients because they can't do it themselves. Residents do not pay thousands of dollars each month to be treated as if they are pests. Our ninety-year-old patients do not need to be treated as children. Our job is not to boss our patients around.

This might be their last damn meal and you stole their ice cream and forced them to eat a tasteless cafeteria puree.

Since that day I have chosen to eat desserts first when I go out to eat. The next second of my life is not promised. Yes, I would rather consume an entire dessert by myself and be too full to finish my main course, than to eat my pasta and say something along the lines of "No, I'll pass on cheesecake. I'll take the check."

A bowl of ice cream is not going to decrease the length of anyone's life any more than a ham sandwich is going to increase the length of anyone's life. Therefore, I give my patients their dessert first.

4. Life Goes On

This phrase is simply a phrase until life experience gives it a real meaning. If you and your boyfriend break up or you get a bad grade on a test life will still continue. Life goes on.

As a health care professional you make memories and bonds with patients and residents. This summer a resident that I was close to was slowly slipping away. I knew, the nurses knew and the family knew. Just because you know doesn't mean that you're ready. I tried my best to fit in a quick lunch break and even though I rushed to get back, I was too late. The nurse asked me to fulfill my duty to carry on with post-mortem care. My eyes were filled with tears as I gathered my supplies to perform the routine bed bath. I brushed their hair one last time, closed their eye lids and talked to them while cleansing their still lifeless body. Through the entire process I talked and explained what I was doing as I would if my patient were still living.

That night changed my life.

How could they be gone just like that? I tried to collect my thoughts for a moment. I broke down for a second before *ding* my next call. I didn't have a moment to break down, because life goes on.

So, I walked into my next residents room and laughed and joked with them as I normally would. I put on a smile and I probably gave more hugs that night than I normally do.

That night I learned something. Life goes on, no matter how bad you want it to just slow down. Never take anything for granted.

5. My Patients Give My Life Meaning

My residents gave my life a new meaning. I will never forget the day I worked twelve hours and the person that was supposed to come in for me never showed up. I needed coffee, rest, breakfast or preferably all of the above. I recall feeling exasperated and now I regret slightly pondering to myself "Should I really be spending my summer like this?" Something happened that changed my view on life completely. I walked into a resident's room and said "Don't worry it's not Thursday yet", since I had told her on that Tuesday morning that she wouldn't see me until I worked again on Thursday. She laughed and exclaimed "I didn't think so, but I didn't want to say anything," she chuckled and then she smiled at me again before she said, "Well... I am glad you're still here." The look on her face did nothing less than prove her words to be true. That's when I realized that I was right where I needed to be.

Yes, I was exhausted. Yes, I needed caffeine or a sufficient amount of sleep. My job is not just a job. My work is not for a paycheck. My residents mean more to me than any amount of money.

I don't mind doing what I do for $10; because you can't put a price on love. The memories that I have with my patients are priceless.


Cover Image Credit: Mackenzie Rogers

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5 Truths About Being An Ag-Comms Major, And None Of Them Involve Talking To Animals

"You're an ag major? That must be easy."

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Being that this is my second year at Kansas State University, I've started to notice some misconceptions about the major I love and know. After introducing myself as an agricultural communications and journalism major, I always receive comments such as "that must be easy" and the famous comment of "so what... you, like, talk to animals?" After being at Kansas State University for a year, along with being an ag major, I comprised a list of the most common misconceptions we as agriculturalist, deal with DAILY.

1. We Didn't All Grow Up In The Boondocks

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We all don't go straight off the farm and into the "big city" to go to college. There are TONS of ag majors who grew up in large cities that have a burning passion for agriculture. People need to understand agriculture is EVERYWHERE! Meaning, there is all walks of life on campus...even in the college of agriculture.

2. It's A Lot Harder Than It Looks

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There's an unspoken stigma that people not involved in the industry often assume ag majors simply aren't smart and that our majors are easy. Have you ever taken Reproduction? I didn't think so. If you did, you would tip your hat at every person who made it out alive. We don't just study how to farm and talk to farmers. We learn the structure of crops, every inch of the reproduction tract and how to properly communicate with producers and design their image to their brand.

I invite anyone who thinks agricultural majors are easy to spend a week taking our classes and then see what they have to say. People not involved in the industry may have some pretty off-the-wall misconceptions about what it's like to study agriculture in college. But those of us that live it and breath it know the truth. And most importantly, we know that our passion for the American agriculture industry will only grow as we continue our educations.

3. We Don't All Wear Boots & Cowboy Hats

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Whenever you mention you're an ag major, people picture ripped blue jeans, rugged old co-op shirt and filthy boots. Believe it or not, we too enjoy Nike shorts and tennis shoes. Agriculture has such a bad stigma of being grungy and dirty. As an agricultural communications and journalism major, I personally know appearance is EVERYTHING. How people perceive you can make OR break relationships in the agricultural world.

4. We're Not All Going To Be Vets

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No grandma, I'm not going to school to be a vet. Sorry.

One of my BIGGEST pet peeves is when people assume you're going to be a vet since you're an ag major... annnnnd if you aren't you're going to be a poor farmer. In reality, jobs in the agricultural field are thriving (and not just vet ones). There are multiple jobs that pay as much as, or more than what vets makes (and should we mention less school?).

5. It's A Small World After All

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The agricultural world is CRAZY small. Everybody knows everybody. Ask anyone in the major, you always find a link to back home. Here's a tip to future ag majors — sit down in class and ask a simple question to the person next to you, "where are you from." I absolutely guarantee you'll find a connection with that person... or through somebody... and the next thing you know you're roommates and best of friends. By saying that, you have to be VERY careful not to burn bridges... because after all, the agricultural industry is a small world after all.

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