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 »

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)

Teaching English For Speakers Of Other Languages Essay

- ... Knowledge of the grammar in both languages will help to move the learner from the known to the unknown. The transition enables the learner to find it easy to cooperate with the new rules of the new language. By knowing the grammar rules, tenses, articles, punctuation, parts of speech, and transition words can lead your language perfectly. Moreover, the teacher is also able to explain why certain word combinations can work while others cannot. There is also a need for using my mother tongue in the classroom when teaching beginners because it helps in unfolding the hard words in English....   [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 on Becoming A Degree And A Job

- ... That was the time where I used to stay up all day and night focusing on my school and trying to get my grades up. Eventually when I was in my senior year, I felt more confident because I knew what I had to do to achieve my goals, and I also got used to with the culture, and the way schools work in America. In most of my classes, I was getting an A, and I also got some awards for my classes like, English, government, management, and others. I also got an award for being an honors student for 2014 academic year at Maine East High School....   [tags: High school, College, Associate's degree]

Better Essays
746 words (2.1 pages)

Personal Statement : College And Complete My Undergraduate Degree Essay

- The decision to go back to school and complete my undergraduate degree was one that I did not arrive at on a whim. This decision was guided by many factors in my personal and professional life, as well reevaluating my personal growth and goals. While reevaluating these, it was important to address exactly what it was that prevented me from succeeding in the first place. Ultimately, I arrived to the conclusion that I lacked a plan, purpose, and direction. Placing no blame on anyone involved, it was developed that I lacked communication skills....   [tags: Bachelor's degree, Academic degree, Happiness]

Better Essays
1764 words (5 pages)

Why A Master 's Degree Essay

- Why A Master’s Degree in Nursing Is Important Life in today’s modern era is subject to constant transformation whether it is a technological, informational or even a societal progress. The field of healthcare is by no means excluded from everyday advancements and the changes they bring. To keep pace with the constantly expanding aspects of providing quality healthcare, nursing professionals are by default required to constantly learn and adapt to the evolving world of medical technologies, education and research....   [tags: Academic degree, Bachelor's degree]

Better Essays
801 words (2.3 pages)

Application For A Degree Of Engineering Field Essay

- ... Then I realized that I am not too keen on English literature. Then with my mom’s advice (she was a teacher, and I wasn’t too keen on teaching) I took Bachelor of Education. Then I realized that I l do like teaching. After the teaching degree, taught there for one year, during that time got married to a physician and then moved to England in 1997 with my husband. He came to do his 2nd residency in Internal Medicine. In 1998 I applied for Masters in Computer Science and Information Technology at Staffordshire University....   [tags: Academic degree, Master's degree, Diploma]

Better Essays
944 words (2.7 pages)

Essay on Why I Want For A Graduate Degree

- ... I did not take my education seriously. Working long hours, socializing, and skipping class caused me to fail certain subjects and graduate with a low GPA. My GPA does not reflect the type of person that I am, therefore; I deserve a second chance and the time is now. 2016 is my time to work on achieving my goals. I am ready to apply myself and study very hard to obtain excellent grades. Through hard work and determination, I know that I will succeed. I started working at the age of 16. My first job was at Holliday’s Fashions in 1993 where I was a Key/Assistant Manager....   [tags: Bachelor's degree, Academic degree]

Better Essays
760 words (2.2 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)