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Counting Down to Commencement

posted Sep 25, 2017, 6:11 AM by Ruth Mitzel
I always thought the ripe old age of 18 was so far away. Now, front and center, is my senior year of college. To sweeten this up even more, it is my senior year of college as an English major. By this time, us English majors have written hundreds of papers each accompanied by a large cup of coffee. Now, we face the dreaded question posed to us by family members concerned with keeping up the family expectation and career counselors whose expert input is mandatory for the undergraduate curriculum.

They ask, “What are you going to do after school?”

Whenever I tell someone that I am an English major, they always ask me if I am going to teach. I adamantly shake my head and confess that children and I do not get along. However, teaching is a great option for those who feel comfortable in the classroom and want to teach others about English. I never really saw myself as a teacher because I do not personally have the patience for kids. Teaching takes a certain kind of person, someone I am not.There is also the graduate school and teaching certification to consider, which leads me to my next point.

Graduate school is another option for English majors. Many of the professionals and experts in English literature have a Master’s degree or higher. This is a great way to continue on after undergrad to pursue a certain career that might require a certain degree level. Though, there are things to consider when looking at grad school. At Arcadia, there is a great MFA graduate program that a lot of English majors pursue not only because of the program itself, but because there is no looking at a different university. In many other cases, there is a transition from your undergrad university to a graduate university, which is something to think about.

I myself find this next option quite appealing: the gap year. I’m sure many parents’ ears are bleeding at the sound of this because there is always the follow up, “But a gap year would make it so hard to go back.” After spending 16 consecutive years learning the craft of English, the idea of two more in a rigorous graduate school may not appeal to some. A gap year would provide some space to travel, work, or just relax. Especially as an English major, this would give you the time to write and spread those alumni wings.

And finally, there is always the option of one and done. Some people might only want one degree and then move on with additional adult things like finding a job to pay all those school loans. Though it is slightly uncommon for English majors to only have a bachelor’s degree, it has and can be done.

We are all in school because we wanted to learn more. We wanted to study English literature and create stories, poems, interpretations, memoirs, and an intellectual way of thinking. Don’t let the fear of the dreaded question stunt your progress. In the end, it’s about what you can do with what you’ve learned in a way that makes sense to you

Although keep in mind, adulting from here on out is going to require a cup or two more of coffee.