My official job title is office administrator, but it’s a bit more than answering the phone and processing invoices. I’m also the copy editor, graphic designer, and website manager. I learned all of these skills outside of the classroom.
I learned how to copy edit at The Riding Light Review where I was lucky to have a mentor walk me through the process when I started. This volunteer work is the bulk of my experience with copy editing fiction, besides my own writing. My nonfiction experience has been with friends’ essays and emails. Aside from “Oh, you want to be a teacher” and “What’s your favorite book,” “Can you read this for me” has to be the next most common question I’m asked as an English major. While my friends think they’re getting free help, I know I’m gaining valuable experience and exposure to a wide range of content and voice.
Graphic and web design have always been a personal interest of mine. While I have taken a few summer classes, I have primarily taught myself how to use the Adobe CS programs and HTML and CSS coding. The keyword in my resume that landed me the job was WordPress, which I learned through doing this blog.
While the degree was good to get my foot in the door, as most jobs have a minimum qualification of a Bachelor’s, volunteer work and hobbies are where I learned how to do things. I think the most important thing is to do what you are passionate about. Don’t put yourself in a box just because colleges have neatly defined categories for their majors. Go out and explore the world. If you do what you enjoy, it will most likely benefit you whether its in your personal or professional life.