13 Questions English Majors Are Tired Of Hearing

We’re not our major’s stereotype.


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?”

Yes, we read a lot of articles and books. We also spend a lot of our time writing. Don’t act like you don’t read equally as much in Biology, Math, or Political Science.

6. “Why aren’t you going to teach?”

Not everyone wants to or feels like they can be a role model in a classroom. Maybe I want to go into publishing, editing, writing, technical writing, business, law, or literally anything else.

7. “What’s it like having an easy major?”

Please, kindly carry my backpack and read these three novels by Wednesday. Write these two 10-page-papers, learn all the lenses of theory and then check yourself before you wreck yourself.

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?”

Plagiarism isn’t just a myth your professors warn you about. Write your own one-to-two-page essay about your general education course. Read ‘A Doll’s House’, it might do you some good.

10. “So what are you going to do for money?”

Well, after graduation, eight of us are going to get a studio apartment for one in New York and we’ll just see where it goes from there! What about you?

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.


13 Signs You Definitely Belong In The English Major Or Minor

If your significant other or best friend uses the incorrect form of a word, they better expect all hell to break loose.

Let’s eat Grandpa. Let’s eat, Grandpa. Punctuation saves lives.

This article was originally published for The Odyssey on September 5, 2016.

No matter if you’re already an English major, or are thinking about declaring, this article is for you. Are you super creative? Do you enjoy writing and reading? How about making up your own words? If you said yes to any of these questions, you’re destined to be a member of the English department. The major isn’t just talking about your favorite books, but also includes writing several page papers while downing several cups of coffee in a six to eight hour period, releasing steam by writing creatively or honestly in a journal, getting excited about your favorite well-written pieces of media and correcting people’s grammar. If you’re not an English major and are thinking about joining the major, you’ll definitely want to join our elite group after reading this article.

1. When people ask you if you can write their papers for them, you’re like:

PLAGIARISM IS A REAL OFFENSE PEOPLE. Do you want to get us both kicked out of college? Also it’s gen-ed English, I think you can afford to read this Ibsen play and write a two page essay.

2. You get a little too hype about writing workshops and visiting authors.

Being given the opportunity to work with an actual published author is such a riveting experience! How many times will you get this chance again? Who cares which movie will be playing in the quad tonight? I have to prepare my poetry for the visiting author workshop in three months.

3. When people complain about gen-ed English classes, you think that you’d like to see them survive Advanced Literary Theory.

Oh no, you have to write a paragraph summarizing the twelve pages you read last night? You also have to write a four page maximum paper about ‘The Great Gatsby’? Boo hoo. Let me know how you feel after you’ve achieved the mirror stage and also realized the gender is performative.

4. Writing papers is a natural habit for you.

Oh, this paper is only 5 pages? I was prepared to write 10!

5. You go through several packs of highlighters each year…from underlining books and articles.

I have to highlight quotes, buzzwords, vocab, themes and you know what? I should underline the copyright information just in case I need it later.

6. You buy your books because you know you’ll mark them up.

I’m sure the bookstore didn’t appreciate my underlining of ‘American Pastoral’…but here we are. You live and you learn.

7. You plan/outline your papers weeks in advance.

You probably change this outline two to three times during that time too. Alternatively, if you don’t plan and outline, you probably write your paper all in one shot. Spending eight to ten hours on a paper is common for you.

8. You are the most organized disorganized person ever.

You have every single assignment in a folder with a page protector but you may or may not have misplaced several pencils, assignments and your laptop charger. Oops! I found them in my copy of ‘Jane Eyre’!

9. You do not hesitate to check Purdue Owl if you’re confused about literary rules.

Between citing quotes, oxford commas and how to write your paper depending on the style, the owl is probably a bookmark on your browser.

10. You’ll send your rough draft to just about anyone.

In a group email to your professors, your peers, your tutors and your mom, you’ll ask for honest advice and constructive criticism. Here’s hoping they have different opinions. Sometimes you need to triple check that grammar.

11. Whether you are an education major or in the writing concentration, you know most, if not all, of the people in the English Department because of how often you see them around campus.

Between clubs, classes, in passing and study sessions, you’re buds with people in the major. You probably walk around campus and are constantly waving to them.

12. Spelling and grammar are really important to you.

If your significant other or best friend uses the incorrect form of a word, they better expect all hell to break loose. Grammar is seriously important for all aspects of life. I just don’t respect you as much as I could if you do not know the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re’.

13. All-nighters are both your best friend and worst enemy. At first you’re like…

…and then you’re like:

One day you’ll learn time management. Today is not that day.