Going into university, I knew I wanted to be an English major. Writing and reading have always been two of my favourite past times, so much so that from a young age, I dreamed of writing award-winning books and making a living sharing my stories with the world. This is still a dream of mine, and it played a large part in my decision to major in English (and minor in professional writing).
I don’t know how many times people have made me feel like majoring in English is not a practical route in university. Most people assume job prospects are slim for those who choose English. They say my only options after graduation are to become a teacher or journalist. While these are important jobs, there are a number of other careers I can achieve that are rarely acknowledged. I could be a publisher, an editor, or a librarian. I could work in public relations, human resources, broadcasting, social media, film, marketing—the list goes on and on! English majors don’t just have one or two options. We develop skills that can take us in a variety of surprising directions.
Contrary to popular opinion, English majors do not just read stories and write reflections. It is true that we read and write (and boy, do we do a lot of it). But we also analyze, search for deeper meaning, and connect what we read to bigger issues in the world. English class discussions often turn philosophical and political as we contemplate the emotional implications of what it means to be human. We learn communication skills, research methods, critical thinking, and how to write well. It’s a lot more complicated than just reading a book and saying how you felt about it.
I’ve never regretted my decision to major in English. My love of books has increased and my knowledge of literature has expanded. My writing skills have improved, which helps me in all of my other courses as well. A part of me is still that little girl dreaming of seeing her name in bookstores and on the bestseller list. But even if that doesn’t happen, I know I still have many other options to pursue after my journey as an English major at UTM is complete.