Encourage your children to choose a major they’ll be happy with, not just one they’ll become rich with.
This post was originally published for The Odyssey on March 14, 2017.
Have any of you ever received any flack from your parents and family for choosing the major that you did? Choosing something in the liberal arts field is especially dangerous because you better be ready to answer all the spit-fire questions coming your way. In the English major, those questions can become offensive, annoying, and exhausting real fast. If you’re an English major, you’ve definitely heard these 13 questions at least once.
1. “What are you going to do with that?”
Generally, this question is asked within the first two years of college, and usually, you don’t know what you’re going to do with the degree until later. Even if you have an inkling, you may change that later. Truth is, English majors can take a variety of jobs in the workplace due to their ability to think critically and analyze any situation. Plus, our writing and grammar skills can place us in just about any field as well. Many times, people don’t ask other majors what they’ll do with their major, so stop asking English majors.
2. “So, are you going to teach?”
Look, just because we’re English majors doesn’t mean we’re all going to teach. Like I said, there are a variety of fields people can enter into that aren’t teaching. No matter if your student is looking to teach or not, do not judge them. Even if your student doesn’t know what they’re doing, they’ll figure it out.
3. “You know you can’t pay the bills with writing, right?”
If I had a dime for every time my advisor said this to me in school, I could probably pay off a semester’s tuition. If your student is planning on being an author of books, they will work whatever jobs they need to in order to support themselves while writing. Also, there are loads of other types of writing, like technical writing, which could absolutely pay the bills. Keep an open mind with your major, please.
4. “Why don’t you pick a more practical major?”
There’s nothing impractical about learning to write and read critically through different types of literature. Why would I choose another major that I’d be miserable in, when I know I’ll be happy finding a career through English?
5. “Why would I pick a major where you just read all the time?”
6. “Why aren’t you going to teach?”
7. “What’s it like having an easy major?”
8. “How can you be such a grammar nazi?”
Stop putting the word ‘nazi’ next to things you don’t like. It’s not politically correct, and it’s rude. Also, you’re in college and you should know the difference between basic words like ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ and ‘their’, ‘they’re’, and ‘they’re’. This is basic English that you will need no matter which field you go into. Get a grip and know when to use ‘no’ and ‘know’.
9. “Could you write my essays for me?”
10. “So what are you going to do for money?”
11. “Do you think you’re going to regret your major later?”
Do you think you’re going to regret your major later? No? If you won’t, then why would I? Like everyone else who leaves college, English majors will figure it out, and they will maneuver the professional world with their elevated grammar skills and critical thinking. English majors will end up where they’re supposed to be, just like you. Also, worry about your own damn future.
12. “Why do you need to major in English? You know the language well enough, don’t you?”
My friend, let me dispel the myth for you that English classes aren’t just about language. In fact, they are rarely about the English language, but instead how to utilize and apply it. Maybe you should take an English class and learn a few things before you start judging me.
13. “Oh. You’re an English major?”
Yes, I am, and I’m proud of it. I’m well-versed in all the questions you have to ask me, and instead of looking down at me for what I’ve chosen to do with my life, how about you get to know me instead? We’re not our major’s stereotype.