When you tell people you are an English major, most people look at you with a hint of confusion and a touch of sympathy. The most common response tends to be, “Why? What are you going to do with that? Be a teacher?” Contrary to popular belief, not all English majors go on to be teachers.
There are a lot of generalizations made about the liberal arts, but if college will teach you anything thing, it will be to not believe everything you hear.
Get to Know your Advisor
As an English major, I have a list of class requirements in order to graduate with an English degree.
My first piece of advice to prospective English majors would be to get to know your undergraduate advisor. Their job is completely dedicated to helping you in your next four years of school and, if you have an amazing advisor, they’ll be one of the most beneficial people you meet during these years.
Concerning your major requirements, absolutely start them as soon as you can and spread them out. It’s easy to get caught up in college life and forget you have a Shakespeare lecture, British Literature course, and three upper levels left in your last semester.
Schedule Your Day
A general piece of advice I would give to any college student is to plan your days out. Adjusting to college is difficult largely because students are used to having their days planned for them. Time management skills are key to a successful college experience. We know there will be those nights where you cram for a test or stay up all night writing the paper you forgot about, but those instances should be few and far between.
Find a Proofreader
Paper writing is a huge part of being an English major. There are teachers whose criteria and expectations will be on two different spectrums, you have to be able to adjust your writing to fit any topic, format, teacher, and situation. Doing this requires practice and peer editing. Always, always, have your paper looked over by someone else at least once, and then revisit and revise. Professors hold those in this major to high standards when it comes to producing an essay, so you should be proud when you earn a good grade.
Being an English major doesn’t just involve reading books and writing papers. You learn transferable skills, such as thinking critically, analyzing a text, being able to see something from multiple points of view, learning to creatively solve a problem, among many more. If you move on from your liberal arts education and go into a profession, such as marketing, these are skills you are using in your job to think creatively about a new marketing tactic, looking at consumer results from different angles and analyzing why one of your marketing ideas didn’t test well. The English major teaches you to be a well-rounded individual, ready for the working world. I absolutely love my major and would highly recommend it!