What do you do with a BA in English?

A few years ago, an ex-boyfriend (a history major, mind you) showed me this lovely gem of a song from Avenue Q.

And I must say I was quite offended! English majors can do anything! If you can read or write (basically if you’re literate) you got life in the bag. Yah, I could go into journalism, publishing or teaching, but if I really wanted to I could go into law or communications. Quick! Send me to astronaut training; I’m going to the moon! I fought tooth and nail to get my point across, and eventually, with a heavy sigh of defeat, he conceded. Looking back on it, I’m not sure if it was because I was right, or he just wanted to let me have my moment.

Now here I am, two months after graduating college, with no job, a dwindling bank account and my parents constantly on my back. I’m well aware that I’m not the only one in this postgrad limbo, but I can’t help but feel that if I had majored in something practical, say psychology, instead of what I was passionate about, I wouldn’t be still sitting on my couch blogging and writing short stories to pass the time.

How did this happen?

I’m convinced that it’s due to a nearly blinded, narrow-mindedness towards anyone in the major.

“Oh, you’re an English major and a female?! You must obviously want to go into teaching!”

NO! Teaching is a very respectable career, don’t get me wrong, but for an introverted, nervous-nelly like me, who stutters talking to even the smallest group, I just don’t think it’s the path for me. Maybe if all classes were filled with respective, diligent young minds eager to learn (like a classroom full of little me’s), then maybe I could cut it. Unfortunately, I know through my own long experience in public schools that that’s not the case. Career Services, however, thinks that teaching in the only option. Not a single career fair, not a single alumni networking event had any options for publishing in any sort organization. Maybe if I wanted to teach underprivileged children how to read, I would be turning away options. Instead of finding a job, I’d be trying to figure out what country to travel to among the long list of options. Part of me still isn’t opposed to dropping everything and running away to Japan for a year. Even if I hopped on a plane to avoid my problems, it would only delay this same dilemma… What do I do with a BA in English?!

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