Amongst a variety of career paths to take such as medical, law, or business, the humanities route, specifically an English major, is perhaps one with a less positive reputation than others.
The common stereotypes associated with being an English major are that one can’t make money to be financially stable, the job is never-ending, and that studying literature does not open up solid job opportunities for an individual. According to an article by The New York Times, the number of English majors at Yale University dropped from 165 in 1991 to 62 in 2012. The decline was mostly due to both student and parent fears that such a degree guaranteed nothing but a difficult future.
“Since I have always been interested in creative writing, my dream is to become an author,” said Anandi Chowdhury, a sophomore at a Palos Verdes high school. “There were numerous cases in the past, however, when my very own English teachers told me that I should reconsider my path.”
Compared to being a doctor or lawyer, having a job in the field of humanities may be more difficult to achieve affluence in. The same N.Y. Times article however, argues that this route offers a wide selection of jobs, which range from poets and novelists to teachers and journalists. One could even end up working as a writer in the media industry.
“After graduating as an English major, I’ve worked as a teacher, journalist, published my own books and reports, and been involved in the media sector as a film reviewer,” said an anonymous tutor at Veritas Academy. “Humanities offers such a diverse way to spend your after-college life; why should everything be about money?”
In addition to offering a variety of career options, specializing in English allows one the versatility of thought and language. Almost any job calls for basic communication skills, and English majors are, therefore, able to bring a rich sense of words and fluency.
According to Stanford University’s page, “Careers after an English major,” the school states that “literature studies not only allow distinctive verbal capabilities such as persuasiveness and clarity, but also strengthen one’s analytical abilities and engagement with modern writing.”
So, while it may seem impossible to achieve success by studying books and language throughout college, the skills overall will serve you well in a wide range of fields. The area of study you pursue in college provides you with a broad range of opportunities, so experiment and choose the path that allows you to feel passionate about life.