You've officially decided to dedicate your college career to the English language. After careful consideration, you've come to realize that you have a passion for reading and writing, and you want to spend the rest of your life delving into literature. There's just this one huge problem: whenever you say, "I'm an English major," people hear, "I want to get some obscure tattoos and work at Starbucks."

So for all you English majors out there, here's a list of the top five reactions you receive when you tell someone new what you're studying.


1. "Wait, why are you studying English? You already speak it!"

Very, very funny. As soon as people hear "English," they suppose it must be like studying a second language. No, we're not conjugating verbs and doing speaking activities in class. We're researching fascinating topics and digging through beautifully written, antiquated texts.

2. "Oh, my God, I hate writing essays! How do you do that?!"

Pursuing a degree in English is so much more than simply writing long essays (although there is plenty of that). It's developing a passion for closely analyzing literature; it's picking apart clever wordplay and evaluating a novel based on its composition.

3. "English? You want to be a teacher?"

Just stop right there. There are so many more opportunities for English majors than to be a teacher. Teaching is an excellent and noble path, but it is important to realize that English is a broad degree, and our options upon graduation are vast. They do, in fact, extend beyond the education sector.

4. "Oh, so you want to work at [insert hipster eatery/coffee house here]."

No, we are not dedicating years of our lives to this degree so that we can better fit your idea of the perfect hipster, serving coffee and wearing t-shirts with famous Shakespeare quotes printed across the chest.

5. "That's not a real major."

This is, perhaps, the most ridiculous reaction of all. Occasionally, we English majors run across an individual who honestly considers English degrees irrelevant and genuinely does not understand what we're doing with our lives. Simply because our major does not come equipped with a specific list of job options, does not mean that it is any less important than other (read: science) degrees.