10 Things Every English Major is Tired of Hearing

11 Things Every English Major is Tired of Hearing

Yes, we know. Our major is an entire language.


Ever since I started college, I noticed a trend in the responses I would get when I shared that I am an English major. Here are the worst ones.

Are you going to be a teacher?

No. I'm not going to be a teacher. There are a million other things to do with an English degree than to help other people get an English degree. I can be a copywriter, a technical writer, a journalist, a blogger, a content strategist, a news reporter, an analyst, a lobbyist, a brand strategist, an editor, a proposal writer, an event planner, or a writer for television and radio. I could work in public relations, marketing, radio, sales, or social media. I could even work for the government - yes, they need communications officers. How do you think the public get press releases and government officials write speeches?

But you already speak English!

I know, believe me. How do you think I got this far? Believe it or not, there's more to English than just stringing words together. There's critical rhetoric, literary analysis, history, grammar, and literary criticism. Moreover, there's creative writing. That's your favorite sci-fi novels, your favorite book of poems, your favorite film's entire transcript. We learn the practices, techniques, and business of writing something that will sell, and more importantly something that will resonate with a reader. We learn how to write proposals, strategies, reports, and communication deliverables. We learn how to apply the principles of audience, context, purpose, and writing strategies to a piece. It's not memorizing parts of speech and remembering which letters are vowels.

Do you read Shakespeare?

Yes. So much Shakespeare. If I hear his name one more time, I'm dropping out.

Are you going to graduate school?

Refer to my first answer...there are a million and one things to do with an English degree. Going back to school is very far down on my list.

How are you going to make money?

Oh, boy...the question that keeps me up at night. I could go on a long, drawn out rant about how valuable arts and humanities degrees and professionals are. Unfortunately, that spiel tends to fall on deaf ears. To make a long story short: my dream job pays, on average, $53,500 a year. I am going to have to marry rich...to someone whose degree cost just as much as mine. Sigh.

What's your favorite classic novel?

Ask anyone from any other major this question - my answer will be the same as theirs. I don't have one. Classic literature is boring. Authors got paid by the word. That's the only reason novels were so long! I don't want to read them any more than you do! Reading Old English and medieval literature is like an English major's version of learning coding. It sucks.

Aren't you supposed to be an English major?

Every. Time. I stutter or fumble over my words...this is the first question that gets asked. My roommate has started calling me a "gibberish major" because of how often I can't speak correctly. Look, I could insult you in Old English and you wouldn't understand a word. Don't test me.

Are you a hipster?

Alright. I get it. Poetry snobs and "I'd rather stay in bed and read" folks seem to give the rest of us a bad rap. Trust me, I don't think in rhymes and consider myself smarter than you.

I thought you were an English major!

Look, I am trying my best. But when you use big words, don't assume I have the Oxford Dictionary at-ready inside my brain. I still use a thesaurus when writing papers for my 4000-level English classes in order to prevent sounding like a third grader.

Can you write my paper for me?

No. A million times no. I write 20 essays a semester. And by essays I mean 5-10 pages at the very least. Please do not assume that I want to write your two-page history paper for you. I promise I don't.

Who even gets an English degree?

Oh, I don't know...try John Mulaney, Emma Watson, James Franco, Sting (The Police), Mitt Romney, Conan O'Brien, Barbara Walters, Steven Spielberg, Michael Eisner (a former Disney CEO), Matt Damon, Paul Simon, Jodie Foster, Tommy Lee Jones, Jon Hamm, Joan Rivers, Stephen King, and Christopher Nolan, to name a few.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. If I wanted to rant about all the things I hate hearing about my major, I'd have an article longer than the 40 page portfolio that I have to write for my literacy class this semester (yeah, 40).

Popular Right Now

My Freckles Are Not A Beauty Trend For You To Appropriate And Immitate

Those with faces full of freckles can't wipe them off like you can after a photo shoot.


While it is fun to use makeup to express yourself, one can argue unless you are in costume, it should be used to enhance your features, not create new ones. The trend of artificial freckles puts a nasty taste in my mouth reminiscent to the feeling I get when I see a Caucasian woman apply such dark foundation to her face that she appears to be donning blackface.

To someone who has a face full of freckles, it is offensive to see you paint on freckles as if they were not permanent features of other people's skin that they cannot remove with a makeup wipe. I remember asking my cousin at 5 years old if I could surgically remove my freckles and crying when she broke to me that I'd be stuck with what she called giraffe spots my whole life.

I'm not alone in feeling self-conscious about my freckles. The face is the fulcrum of the identity, and it can feel like my facial identity is like a haphazard splash of orange/brown debris. Another against the fake freckles movement retorts: "you'll soon regret them when people begin to describe you as a polka-dot-skinned troll or a cinnamon-toast-faced goblin. Also, when your eyebags start to sag in middle-age, that 'cute' skin art will probably deteriorate into something more closely resembling oblong blackheads. Sincerely, A Freckled Person"

One woman recalls her struggle with accepting the patterns of her skin from a very young age:

“When I was a young girl, I remember staring at myself in my bathroom mirror and imagining my face without the scattered brown dots that littered my face and body. I dreamed of having the small imperfections removed from my face and obtaining the smooth porcelain skin that I envied. I looked at my bare-faced friends in awe because they had what I wanted and would never know. For some odd reason, I had made myself believe that my freckles made me ugly."

I've come to appreciate the beauty of these sun kisses, and many nowadays have too. However, freckles haven't always been considered cute. There is a history of contempt toward red reader freckled people, just ask Anne Shirley! The dramatic young heroine laments: "Yes, it's red," she said resignedly. "Now you see why I can't be perfectly happy. Nobody could who had red hair. I don't mind the other things so much — the freckles and the green eyes and my skinniness. I can imagine them away. I can imagine that I have a beautiful rose-leaf complexion and lovely starry violet eyes. But I cannot imagine that red hair away. I do my best. I think to myself, "Now my hair is a glorious black, black as the raven's wing." But all the time I know it is just plain red, and it breaks my heart. It will be my lifelong sorrow." (Montgomery).

Historically, freckles on ones face have been seen as dirty or imperfect. It's easy to forget that Irish features such as red hair and freckles have been subject to hateful discrimination for centuries. In some places, the word ginger is even used as a slur.

I am not a red-headed stepchild for you to beat — or for you to appropriate.

My facial texture is not a toy for you to play with.

It is rude and inconsiderate to pock your face for a selfie while those with randomly splashed spots get someone once a week trying to rub off the "dirt speck" on their face.

Greg Stevens has a theory to why there is anti-red prejudice

“Skin tone is another one of those well-studied features that has been shown to consistently have an impact on people's assessment of physical beauty: Those with clear, evenly-colored skin are widely regarded as being more attractive than people with patchy, blotchy, or freckled skin.
Nowhere is this more obvious than when looking at professional photos of redheaded models and celebrities. Even those "hot redheads" that flaunt the redness of their hair usually are made-up on magazine covers to have almost unnaturally even skin tones. Moreover, there is a reasonable theory to explain why the bias against freckles might be more than just a cultural prejudice. Not to be too blunt about it, but freckles are cancer factories."

By that, the author means freckles can be early indicators of sun damage or skin cancer. This illusion that freckles indicate deficiency may also play in negative connotations toward a person with freckles

While I acknowledge the intention of people with clear skin who paint freckles on their face isn't to offend — rather it is to appreciate freckles as a beauty statement — the effect is still offensive. If you are thinking about trying this freckle fad, you should put down your fine tipped brush and consider what it would be like if you couldn't wipe away the spots.


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It’s Okay To Be Vulnerable

Vulnerability Is Not A Bad Thing.


One of the scariest things in the world is vulnerability. Letting someone is and allowing them to know what's going on can be absolutely terrifying, but life is a lot harder when you're doing it alone. Now let's just get on with thing clear, vulnerability is very much a struggle for the writer of this blog.

I've always kept what's going on to myself because I didn't want my burdens to become burdens for those around me and I have trusted people before and completely was robbed of it. Over the years of struggles with anxiety and depression, I've learned that holding it in and not being vulnerable is one of the most unhealthy things you can do and makes everything so much worse. The good thing about being vulnerable isn't that you get to choose who's you're vulnerable with.

You don't have to be vulnerable with everyone, but you need to be vulnerable with someone. People were placed in your life for a purpose and there are people around you who do care and who want to be let in. Don't hold back when it comes to those who care about you most. Vulnerability is a hard thing to face, but it is an amazing thing to allow yourself to face.

Vulnerability breaks down barriers, helps you find your own inner strength and brings you closer to the ones who want to build that relationship with you. Vulnerability with the wrong person sucks, but vulnerability with the right person is amazing. Don't let the bad that came from the vulnerability with the wrong person stop you from being vulnerable with the right person. That person that has been with you through it all, that person that loves you for you and not what you can offer them, that person that wants the absolute best for you and challenges you to be the absolute best, that's the right person, that's the person to be vulnerable with.

Open up and talk because people want to listen.


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