What Exactly Are You Going to Do With and English Degree? Essay

What Exactly Are You Going to Do With and English Degree? Essay

Length: 791 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

What exactly are you going to do with an English degree?
I discussed what it meant to be an English major with a coworker of mine yesterday, and it got me thinking. And when I get thinking on a topic, it usually ends up with me slaving over a manuscript on my computer for an incredible amount of time, the result being this very speech. So, what are you going to do with an English degree once you graduate? It’s probably a safe assumption that your friends do not ask you this question, or your aunt and uncle, and I am guessing this question does not come up during conversations with your parents. Of course, given that each of you are already English majors, you may have done some analysis on your own, and you’ve probably already deduced that I am being what we, in the English studies world, like to call ironic. This question is the only question that is ever asked of any English major.
The act of reading, the act of engaging with stories, is to reach out, to try to understand ourselves and to understand others. In studying literature, the English major enters into the conversation that has been taking place for thousands of years, a conversation which involves men and women, past and present, who simply wanted to understand. Because all of you are sitting in this room, this is already evident to you.
Some of us will be graduating soon, and you, like me, are likely terrified at this prospect. Some of you may be asking yourselves what the real world value is of the English major, not as a kind of theory driven study of the human condition, but rather as a means to achieve an economical end. But you have done right. You are here today as Officers and Members of this Honors Society, one which instills not only the value of reading an...

... middle of paper ...

...tain way, and if you really did your homework, you know how you might make an impact. Not how you might change these people, but how you can create a dialogue, how you can create empathy, how you can understand and reason and think and learn and grow.
Each of you, and myself, have chosen this life path, the path to make sense of this big world filled with all these binaries and markets. The writer David Foster Wallace once said: “I receive five hundred thousand discrete bits of information a day, of which maybe 25 are important. My job is to make sense of it.” So when each of us walk up those stairs and across that stage and accept our diplomas, we will be ready to face that question—what are you going to do with an English degree?—with the simple answer that the very question itself is the most ridiculous question a person could ever ask.

Thank you very much.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

From A Non English Speaker Essays

- From a Non-English Speaker to a College Student My day started as usual, after I woke up and prepared my coffee. When I checked the To-Do list, the first thing on the list was checking the mail. When I went outside, it was a nice weather that made me feel that it is going to be a good day for me. I entered the house and sat on the couch. Then I started to check my mail one by one. There was a white fancy envelope with a golden title that got my attention. I immediately opened the envelope to see what it was about; I couldn’t believe my eyes....   [tags: Education, Academic degree, University, Cher]

Better Essays
1010 words (2.9 pages)

Academic Success And Educational Degree Essay

- Every college student must be thinking and worried about his or her academic success and educational degree. San Jose Mercury News Editorial, authors of “Remedial costs are too high for CSU to bear” highlight that San Jose State University policy that took place in 2009. The policy is about freshmen students who are required to take remedial classes since their math or English basic college-level are not good enough. To notice these students that they need help early, CSU created the Early Assessment Program....   [tags: High school, Education, College, School]

Better Essays
1014 words (2.9 pages)

Going Back to School as an Adult Essay

- ... This idea of being too reactionary has come and gone in other classes, and really reach a head for me in this one. I kept it open and in my face the whole time. It was not till the end of the semester, and the last habit, when I would review the material again asking myself to see deeper, that I would see coming in to the class as an “adult learner” with prejudices, and rejections was also more of being a “reactive” individual. I did not come in the the class as opened as I had hoped, because I had not come in as a proactive individual....   [tags: Covey's 7 habits of highly effective people ]

Better Essays
1817 words (5.2 pages)

Essay about The Bachelor 's Degree For Health And Wellness

- The Bachelor’s degree for health and wellness opens up a number of opportunities for me in my occupational future. The opportunity I would be most interested in at this time is a Fitness and Wellness Coordinator. A fitness and wellness coordinator has a multitude of duties that they would need to preform every day from supervising other instructors to organizing and overseeing fitness and wellness programs. This could also include managing outreach activities, teaching classes in an area of specialization, or even training employees on environmental awareness conservation, or safety topics....   [tags: Health, Nutrition, Health care, Decision making]

Better Essays
1018 words (2.9 pages)

Teaching English For Speakers Of Other Languages Essay

- “Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages” (TESOL) is a phrase used to represent the teaching of the English language as a second or foreign language to foreign individuals. Going through this topic and the role of the grammar, is basically the rules that govern the art of forming clauses, phrases, sentences, and gives the content of speech, and writing a kind of magnificence. I believe knowing these rules in learning a new or even mother language is really important. The principle of teaching grammar can be viewed like signs on the road, which provide useful information for direction and navigation of the vehicle to the intended destination....   [tags: Second language, French language, Lingua franca]

Better Essays
1854 words (5.3 pages)

Benjamin Franklin´s Involvement in the English Empire Essay

- ... Franklin says “The same on foreign wines; a duty not only on tea but on all east India goods might perhaps not be amiss, as they are largely rather luxuries than necessities”. Basically Franklin does not have a problem with these Acts because first, he considers himself as a British and second, he believes that the British government will do nothing to hurt his people. On the other hand, the Stamp Act has a different and a direct effect on the colonies. The objective of the act is to tax legal documents, almanacs, newspapers, playing cards, and nearly every form of paper used in the colonies....   [tags: act, plan, stamp, reconciliation]

Better Essays
1043 words (3 pages)

Essay College Online : It 's Not Just A Degree

- College Online: It’s Not Just a Degree, It’s an Opportunity An older friend of mine on Facebook recently posted a status that I saw that ended with the words “if your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.” She was reflecting upon her educational journey thus far as she started her senior year of college and although she has several desirable job opportunities lined up, they are outside of what her degree is in even though she is fully qualified. She says that even though English is her passion, she wishes she had pursued something outside of it or along with her degree in it to be more successful in her career with another relevant major....   [tags: University, Academic degree, Bachelor's degree]

Better Essays
715 words (2 pages)

Essay about The Importance Of Obtaining A College Degree

- The main reason we all go to college is to obtain a college degree and continue with our lives doing what we love. In today’s society it is basically a necessity to have a degree or you basically cant do anything successful with your life. A degree is showing that you know the material that you majored in and are certified in that field. If you sacrificed all these years of your life and put hard work in school I believe that once you obtain a college degree in whatever you decide to major in, it should guarantee you a job in that field of study....   [tags: Education, Higher education, Academic degree]

Better Essays
845 words (2.4 pages)

The Study of Literature Essay

- The Study of Literature I finally understand the study of literature. As an English major, a reader/ writer/ poet who has spent a great deal of time reading the works of others and writing about them, I am reminded of something I have heard my father, a teacher, say repeatedly about the modern American attitude toward education. "Nobody learns just to learn," he observes sadly, pointing out the way in which students often view particularly higher education as some kind of training ground for a career....   [tags: English Literature Essays]

Better Essays
1159 words (3.3 pages)

Going Broke by Degree by Richard Vedder Essay

- Going Broke by Degree by Richard Vedder David Wood once said, “College is the best time of your life.  When else are your parents going to spend several thousand dollars a year just for you to go to a strange town and get drunk every night?” The costs of college are escalating at an all time high, which is why Richard Vedder went out and looked for a reason as to why this is and what, if any, solutions to this ongoing problem could be. Vedder talks about four main reasons why tuition continues to rise: third party providers and the amount of funding and spending that goes on, there is no market discipline when it comes to universities, price competition, and also government regulation....   [tags: Vedder College Tuition Costs]

Free Essays
1167 words (3.3 pages)