As an English major in a STEM-major dominated school, I have talked to many non-English majors who think they know a lot about the field. Here are some questions and statements that some have asked me as well as other misconceptions us English majors may have come in contact with.
1. So you want to be a teacher?
No, not all of us want to be a teacher. Surprisingly there are a lot of other job opportunities that don’t require being in a classroom environment. While some English majors do choose to be teachers, others choose to become lawyers, journalists, reporters, writers, editors, publishers, or work in PR or Marketing. There are a multitude of directions English majors can go in.
2. How does it feel to be in a major that is unemployable?
Yes, a STEM student asked me this, verbatim, my freshman year. After thinking of all the possible witty comebacks months later, I am now armed with the knowledge that an English Major is in fact employable. Like I previously answered, there are many fields that are very conducive to having an English degree.
3. Why did you choose a field of study with a declining market?
While print might not be thriving as it once had, online media is growing faster than ever. News media is booming with the help of social media. Also, the need for precise and honest communication is a necessity in the current age of “fake news.”
4. Being an English major seems so easy.
I’m not going to try to equate being an English major to a Bioengineering major, but it’s not as easy as some make it out to be. English papers and assignments deal a lot with abstract ideas, crafting arguments, and learning how to artfully display thoughts and concepts with the right words. English majors usually have the skills to construct a five-page paper in a few hours and read for the important details (with the help of a Red Bull or two).
Moral of the story: People have different skill sets. Some are masters at calculus and problem-solving, others are better equipped with writing. One is not better than the other, just simply different. So the next time a non-English major claims to know more than they let on, be ready with these facts in a carefully crafted response.
Written By: Hannah Rohaley