Dear Prospective English Majors,
I’m here to tell you to not major in English. I’m here to tell you that the English department at your school is lying.
If you choose to major in English your degree will prove to be worthless in the job market. Nobody cares about the ability to write anymore. Nobody cares where the comma goes, where the apostrophes belong or what the Oxford comma is.
If you choose to major in English you will spend four years justifying your choice to everyone. And after four years you’ll begin to wonder if all your justification was for them, or for yourself.
If you choose to major in English you better get published. And good luck with that. As wonderful as the internet and blogs can be, they are one of the major culprits in devaluing your worth. Everyone can have a blog; many times the blog with the most followers are poorly written or pure junk. And I’m a blogger.
If you choose to major in English you will defend yourself and your classmates to those who have never taken an English class and genuinely cannot understand how rigorous your course load is. It is not a STEM major so obviously all you have to do is read books and say whatever you want to about them.
If you choose to major in English you will endure countless jokes about your degree. “Are you learning how to say ‘Do you want fries with that?'” “Well at least you’ll use your writing skill for writing names on the side of coffee cups.”
If you choose to major in English you will learn to love the written word, and the richness of language. And that will make you hate things like Twitter and texting. There is no reason why you should be restricted to 140 characters or less. We are destroying our language and enhancing the stupidity of society.
If you choose to major in English you will spend four years of you life thinking that somehow it will all work out. And then you will examine the job market for those with your degree. You will feel so worthless, valueless, and at times, completely hopeless. You will see that writing jobs are either volunteer work or so pathetically underpaid that it should be illegal. You’ll think to yourself, “2 cents per word and $50,000 in debt?” Something just doesn’t add up here.
If you choose to major in English you will start to realize how often you were lied to as an English major. Your academic advisor and your professors all told you that you can get any job with an English degree. That companies realize how valuable the English language is. And that the job you get will absolutely be relevant to your degree, because everything can eventually be connected to English. And then you’ll realize that it was all a big joke. And you’re the funniest punchline of all.
If you choose to major in English you will start to wonder what the return policy is for your degree. College is one of the only service we purchase that is non-refundable. What a rip-off. “Hey Dean I don’t have a job and I have a bunch of loans, I’m going to need my tuition money back please. You can only have it when I find the job that is so relevant that pays me a living wage.”
If you choose to major in English you will spend your last semester stressed and angry. You will spend your nights combing through the depths of the internet looking for jobs that are tolerable. You will lie awake in bed wondering what you’re going to do with your life once you walk across that stage; wondering if you will ever be able to make it on your own; wondering why this magazine didn’t hire you, or why that company didn’t answer your calls. You will wonder how many years you will have to live paycheck to paycheck; will you be able to have the wedding you hoped of; will you be able to afford to have a family? You will wonder was college even worth it?
If you choose to major in English you will be pushed down and stepped on and laughed at. And you will remember a quote from a book or an author that inspires you and keeps you going. You will cry and doubt your worth, your intelligence.
If you choose to major in English you are going to go to class one day and be really mad. “Why am I here? Why am I wasting these years of my life? Who are you to tell me how or what to write? Who are you to ruin reading for pleasure?” And you’re going to walk out of class, and maybe you go for a drive, or a run or just zone out with headphones in. And the next day, you wake up and you go back to class. You robotically go through the motions and play the game that they force you to play. You know the moves they want you to make and the rules they want you to follow. So you act as their pawn until you can make it out of there. Because you are paying for this after all.
If you choose to major in English make sure you know what you are signing on for. Because I didn’t. And as cliche as it sounds, if I knew then what I know now, I would have never stepped foot in the English Department.
If you choose to major in English… I hope you don’t regret it as much as I do.