16 Things Every English Major Knows To Be True
Start writing a post
Student Life

16 Things Every English Major Knows To Be True

Watch us steal your jobs

16 Things Every English Major Knows To Be True
Bowers Writers House

“Oh, you’re an English major,” they sneer, looking down their noses at those of us who have chosen to pursue studies of language and the traditional liberal arts instead of STEM, or business, or law.

“Yes, I’m an English major,” I assert, proudly. The language is the ninth most popular major in the United States, so clearly, I’m not alone. Those who have chosen to take this route along with me are adaptable, mastering the arts of thinking, speaking, and transcribing in ways that help others solve problems by refining the verbal and written means of interaction that might otherwise have been jumbled by those who are not experts in communicating.

To those of you who don’t understand the value of getting a degree in English, I ask: “What language are you speaking right now?” Here are 16 things all English majors have wanted to clarify to the general public at some point or another:

1. There isn’t enough time in the day to read everything we "should" read.

Not all of us have read "Moby Dick" and "War and Peace" and "My Antonia" and "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and "Oliver Twist." We don't want to. We don't have time to. We are in no way required to read every installment of the Western Canon, and that's fine. I'll gladly recommend a recently published book to you over Chaucer any day, and I'm sure we'll have more fun chatting together about new releases than criticizing Hemingway, anyway.

2. Yes, there are jobs for English majors.

In fact, we’ll probably be taking the jobs that you want but for which you are less qualified than we are. English majors are in demand, mostly because of our command of language and ability to connect the big businesses with the rest of the population. That elite 1 percent relies upon us to ground them, communicating with ease their intentions to augment their sales and supporters. We are the translators of jargon, simplifying the arcane aspects of the industries the everyman must interact with but hardly wants to, all while adding the appeal of beauty to the concepts most mundane.

3. If you’re nice to us, we’ll happily offer to edit your papers.

If you're annoying about it, we're probably "too busy."

4. Instagram captions and tweets with typos/ grammatical errors make us less likely to throw you a like.


5. Writing well will get you so, so far in life.

Sure, you might be able to fix a car, but we can share with others how they can do it themselves. Sharing knowledge, one word at a time. Being able to express yourself through language -- especially written language -- can only solidify the perception others have of your intelligence, and that intelligence might just be able to change the world.

6. English is not an “easy” major.

No, we might not have hours-long exams like our pre-med friends, but we have twenty pages of original analytical content due at the end of the week -- for each class. We work hard to understand the writing of others so that we might hone our own communication skills, and there's never a "right" answer. While we try to smooth and synchronize our use of English, no writing will ever be consumed identically by two different people. English is endlessly applicable but will always be subjective.

7. Not all of us are interested in becoming the next J.K. Rowling.

Professional writing is a lot less creative and glamorous than you’d expect -- it simply means “writing for publication.” This includes technical writing, which many only reach an audience of ten engineers, but the communication is necessary for progress to be made. Creative writing might be fun, but not all of us are inclined!

8. Teaching isn’t our only option.

In fact, for some of us, it’s not an option at all! Why limit ourselves to one field when we fit into all of them? Law, medicine, journalism, biology -- the need for communication is everywhere. If we’re not teaching it, we might as well be applying it!

9. We do have some professors who wax poetic every chance they get.

OK, not all stereotypes are grossly exaggerated.

10. Listening to other people read their drafts is super awkward.

Listening to other people read their own writing (or doing it yourself) is super awkward. Especially if it's in a formal writer's house or sponsored by a literary magazine; everyone is always trying a little bit too hard to prove that their talent exceeds everyone else’s. It's respectable and the extra credit is usually worth it, but no matter how hard we try, we can't help but internally edit everything we hear or compare others' work to our own.

11. Carrying heavy books makes an awesome alternative to arm day when you can’t make it to the gym.

12. We do leave the library.

Mostly for food.

13. No, we don’t always use big words.

But what a convivial time we have enacting such befuddlement upon otherwise unvarnished circumstances!

15. Unpaid internships are a thing.

Hey, the publishing industry is hard to break into! And future teachers can’t exactly take on a traditional summer internship -- we might not have money now, but we’re setting ourselves up for an awesome selection of jobs by majoring in a language that is useful in literally every field. Generous paid options will come to us upon graduation.

16. Seeing your name in print is the best feeling in the world.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Student Life

Love Lost

Being the girl that is falling for the boy is never easy.

Love Lost

You constantly text my phone telling me that you want to see me and hang out, even though we may not have sex we cuddle and that’s intimacy in its own. I’m tired of buying you food and being there for you like a girlfriend when you consistently tell me you aren't ready for a girlfriend. I am constantly feeling I’m getting slapped in the face because I’m doing all these things and getting nothing in return. Every day I feel myself liking you more which is just crazy because why would I even waste my time liking someone there isn’t a future with. I just want you to be honest with me and with yourself, tell me how you feel from your heart, stop just saying you aren’t ready. You are wasting time telling me you aren’t ready because while you are “getting ready” some guy somewhere else is telling me that he likes me and thinks I’m beautiful and wants to date me. I’m not asking for much, but I at least want exclusivity because you ask me for all these things but in return you give me nothing.

Keep Reading...Show less
Pretty Little Liars

From reading the books in eighth grade to watching the television show all throughout high school, "Pretty Little Liars"basically defined my teenage existence. I was completely and totally obsessed on all accounts. However, even though I loved the fact that the books and the show are starkly different, there are simply just some ways in which the books are much better. Let's take a look:

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

To The Girl In The Back Row

I just want you to know you are loved. You are loved so very much.

To The Girl In The Back Row

Recently I was blessed to be a counselor at a wonderful camp, secluded in a cornfield somewhere in Virginia. I consider myself to be a seasoned camp counselor, as I have not only been a camper for most of my life but have been privileged enough to work multiple camps with all kinds of different facilities. I have worked camps with multi-thousand dollar facilities, with zip lines, rock walls, ropes courses, and boats. I have worked at camps with amazing water sports, camps with paintball, camps with canoes and paddle boats and floating blobs or trampolines in the middle of the water. I have worked at camps with in ground pools and camps without any pools, and even some camps with go-karts. I've had problem kids, kids who refuse to listen to anything I say, kids who sneak out after lights out to meet a significant other, and kids who are every camp counselors dream.

Keep Reading...Show less

Why The United Nations Is Key For The World

"As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th"- Donald J. Trump

Why The United Nations Is Key For The World

The United Nations (UN) has been in existence since June of 1945. Since then, the world has come together to work on and solve some of the harshest problems that face the Human Race. Be it children in societal ills like Human Trafficking, natural issues like Deforestation, or issues of extreme poverty, the UN has worked together in an attempt to make it a better place for us all. It's the only organization in the history of the world to bring people together in a willing, peaceful way; a feat that not even the League of Nations could do in the Post- WWI era. Why was it that one organization failed, and the other one is still going strong, 72 years later?

Keep Reading...Show less
Rory Gilmore

Quick-witted and insanely smart, Rory Gilmore has a track record for memorable, relevant quotes that have become a part of fans’ repertoires. With it being finals season, many of Rory’s words can be conveniently interpreted to reflect life during the last weeks of the semester. Here are some of Rory’s wisest words that explain your life during finals season.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments