I remember when I used to tell people I was going to school to get my Master’s Degree in English. The immediate response was almost always, “oh, so you want to teach?” At the time, I thought I did. But then I graduated and taught Freshman English at UNCC for one semester. And that was all it took for me to realize that teaching wasn’t my thing.
Getting a Master’s Degree wasn’t cheap. Between my undergrad and graduate degrees, I spent a total of eight years in college. All in all, I racked up about $40K in debt, and I’m still paying it off.
It was a decision a lot of people would probably call stupid. Getting a degree in English is like getting a degree in Political Science.
Or any other field where the resulting career path is unclear.
It’s one of those degrees you get just so you can say you have one, and what you do with it, ultimately, doesn’t matter.
It’s one of those degrees you get to shut your parents up because they won’t stop talking about how important it is to have a college graduation (although these days, most people who are graduating from college can’t find a job at all, much less find a job in their educational field.) You can’t figure out what you want to be when you “grow up.” All you know is that you’re sick of going to school. So you pick something to get your elders off your back already…
I can confidently say that none of that was the case for me. I’m really glad I got an English degree, and I’m one of the few people who actually uses what she learned in college on a daily basis. And no, I didn’t end up being a teacher. (Thank God.)
Here are 3 reasons why I’m glad I got a degree in English:
1. I use it in my job every day. I’m a writer by trade, so I get to use the skills I mastered through eight years of college on the regular. And I love it.
I’m more than just a writer though. My English degree enabled me to find a job in content writing, shortly after graduating, which led me down a path towards online content marketing. That’s what I do now, and it feels great to actually be using what I learned in school on a daily basis while doing something fun.
2. It made me a clear communicator. Albeit verbal communication is not my strong-suit, I can organize my thoughts into written form like a champ. Simply put, I know how to write. That’s a skill that a lot of people don’t have, and it’s extremely valuable in today’s online marketplace, where content is king.
3. It taught me critical thinking. That’s something we need way more of these days. It seems like so many people are content to sit back and dwell happily in their own ignorance. The world feels like it’s half-asleep sometimes. No one wants to ask hard questions anymore or wrestle with ideas that take them out of their comfort zone. It’s easier and safer to blindly accept what we’ve always been taught, without question.
My English classes were so much more than language and grammar studies (though that is a large part of what you learn). I also learned how to ask hard questions. How to think for myself. How to analyze the world around me with a critical eye. Admittedly, I can overdo it sometimes, but that’s better than not doing it at all.
Now, I get to write blog posts like this for fun and for cash. I must say, it’s pretty awesome.
Plus, if I hadn’t gone to school for English, there’s a small chance I could have ended up like this guy…