Majoring in English…For What?

Image Source: Alvaro Serrano (Unsplash)

I’m sure that most, if not all, English majors have come across this question many times, and in many different forms, throughout their college journey. You try not to sound annoyed when you’ve been asked for the thousandth time, “Are you going to teach?” when you know they’re thinking “Because what else are you going to do?” or when you tell someone your major and their eyes betray their smile when they reply hesitantly, “Oh, that’s good!”

And then there’s the ultimate question, the question that everything around you continuously shouts at you, and that the world never fails to skeptically ask while wearing its famous, judgmental frown, “English?! What in the world do you plan to do with that?”

There were times when these questions stumped me and made me rethink my career goals, mostly throughout high school, so that when I went to community college I decided to major in Computer Information Systems, thinking I needed a backup plan. This wasn’t something I chose on a whim, though. I was interested in computers, though I wasn’t sure what profession I really wanted to go into yet.

Halfway through the major, when courses like Accounting and Applied Calculus reared their heads, I began to question my decision not to major in English, the only thing I felt really good at. I did well in my computer courses but, when it came to numbers, I was lost, and I started to question what I had gotten myself into. I realized my skills were best put to use when writing.

When I graduated, I had taken with me many valuable computer skills, such as some basic coding and how to navigate Microsoft Office, but I had thrived in courses like English Composition, Philosophy, and Psychology. I loved reflecting on things and writing about them, exploring different perspectives. So when I went to university, I majored in English without a second thought. I don’t regret getting an Associates in Computer Information Systems. I gained a useful skill-set that I apply on the job I have today, but I’m also very happy that I chose to pursue English at university.

There are many useful skills available to gain on the journey as an English major. I have learned to effectively and properly gather and present information, whether from outside sources or thoughts from my own mind. It’s important to know not just how to write, but how to write well. Many jobs are looking for someone who can communicate well, who can research, speak, and write their ideas clearly, which the English major is all about.

Look for jobs where your skills as an effective writer and communicator will be needed and wanted. Find ways to add writing experience to your resume, such as joining your school’s newspaper, creating your own blog or website (sites like WordPress and Weebly can help you get started). Apply for any internships that will give you valuable experience, anything that you feel will help expand your skills as an English major and writer. Here are a just a few professions English majors can end up working as:

These are just a few examples, but the English major provides many skills that include effective communicating, writing, researching, and critical thinking. Whether the world will admit it or not, it needs English majors.

But the most important point I want to make is that you should major in English because you have a passion for it, because you love writing, love exploring thought and ideas, reflecting and thinking. I am most happy when I’m applying myself through writing. I was born to write and I will do whatever I can to fulfill this purpose.

The question isn’t “Why am I majoring in English?” it’s “Why would I not do what I love when I have only one life to live?”

Originally published at on November 29, 2019.



Lifestyle blogger promoting unity, prosperous health, and reflective thinking.

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