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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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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3 Things i learned at pride in NYC

The people, the flags, and the glitter are even more magical in person.

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On Sunday, June 24th, my girlfriend, my best friend and I, all hopped on a train to the World Trade Center in New York City. After a short subway ride, we arrived at 16th Street, where the parade festivities began. Dressed in our decked out rainbow attire, we entered a vibrant crowd of flag wielding, self-loving having, beautiful people. Pride is something the LGBTQIA+ community knows how to celebrate well. Lesbihonest, I think its safe to say that the LGBTQ+ community essentially created loving yourself, along with embracing those around you, whether you know them or not. While at Pride, I learned a few things about myself, about how to love others, and what it means to be apart of a community.

1. Love thy neighbor

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Because pride is such an important event to the LGBTQIA+ community, the number of people that attend each year is increasing by the thousands. There were an expected 48,000 people this year and when you're amerced in such a large crowd keeping your cool is super important. I learned that in most cases, giving love will result in receiving it, especially in 84-degree weather. So when I was making my way through energetic crowds, I used my p's and q's and was met with the same energy from strangers.

2. At pride, the dress code is no dress code

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If you're in the mood to wear your birthday suit, glitter, or witty t-shirt and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community as a member or as an ally, pride is the place to be! The extravagant outfits and expression of self-pride through clothes and even lack of clothes made me feel extremely comfortable in my own outfit. I think we all have had our share of being uncomfortable in our skin or clothes, but being around thousands of people dressed in whatever made them most comfortable that day was a beautiful experience.

3. Pride is not solely about the LGBTIA+ community

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Heritage of Pride, the nonprofit organization that organizes New York City's LGBT pride events each year, strives to work towards creating a future that consists of equal rights for all under the law. The march is an annual civil rights demonstration that brings awareness to the fight against aids, the Black Lives Matter movement and memorializes those who have lost their lives to illness, violence and neglect. This year over 450 different organizations participated in the march and about 110 floats were shown, each float bringing awareness to different organizations.

As an Afro-Latina, lesbian, I felt very represented and extremely grateful to participate in a civil rights event such as pride. The opportunity to educate myself and even feel more comfortable in my own skin, and enjoy myself with the people I love most, is something I will truly cherish. Hopefully, my experiences and knowledge will expand next year at the 2019 NYC pride!

Cover Image Credit:

Em Goss

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