3 Benefits of Being an English Major

1. So you’re going to be a teacher…
While English majors can teach, they can also go into journalism, law, medical, or business school, publishing, marketing, and more. Wherever there is English being written or spoken, the English major has you covered. Someone writes those instruction manuals on the new iPhone 6 you bought that you never read. Someone writes the scripts for the 30 second advertisement on YouTube that you have to watch in order to see the video. Someone writes the blurb about how yummy Honey Nut Cheerios are on the cereal box you buy from Ralphs. These are mundane things you take for granted, and they show that everywhere you look there is English.

2. So you read books…
When people think that all English majors do is read books, they make it seem like a confining occupation. In reality, it is the most liberating. I can talk about anything because we write books on everything. There are classic works, Beowulf, Paradise Lost, The History of Rasselas, Oliver Twist, and The Grapes of Wrath, but there is also the horror of H.P. Lovecraft, science of Philip K. Dick, and comedy of Douglas Adams. Having a solid literary foundation means you understand references, can link ideas, know psychology as character development and interaction, and see the same moral dilemmas recur century after century in new incarnations. The messages we see on technology, the environment, and philosophy in fiction can be applied to our real world lives.

3. So you like writing papers…
Actually, I do, and writing essays means I am critically thinking about texts and putting together concepts. I think people dislike writing because it is hard, but you can’t escape from writing whether it be emails, resumes, or scholarship essays. Just because I like writing essays, doesn’t mean I think it’s easy, but I know the only way to get better is to practice. Writing is a way to organize your thoughts and ideas. Through writing, you can reach out to other people and start a discussion or spur someone to think or act in a different way. It is through reading and writing that we delve into all aspects of the things that matter the most to us with the world and human life.

3 thoughts on “3 Benefits of Being an English Major

  1. thesixfootbonsai says:

    My husband graduated with an English degree and I philosophy. Both of us worked in manufacturing leadership. Those majors served us well and not just in terms of our livelihood, but also in terms of influence as you pointed out. I am a philosopher despite my title of analyst!


    • Sophie Eden says:

      That’s wonderful! Thank you for sharing your story. I nearly double majored in English and philosophy. I decided to focus on English because I think it is more versatile; we can philosophize within English. (Descartes and Kant have been brought up numerous times in my English classes.) I think we isolate majors too much from each other. Instead of focusing on differences, we should see the connections between them. Keep philosophizing, fellow English major!


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