by Hope Dorman
On February 9th, the English Department hosted a panel called “Life After the English Major” which featured alumni who majored in English and provided some insight into what their careers look like a few years down the road. We heard from a news reporter, a school psychologist, a marketing manager at Nike, and one who works in development for MercyCorps This panel demonstrated the wide range of options that graduates with a degree in English have, and the many paths to their ultimate career.
For those of us graduating soon, we may worry that we don’t have something lined up immediately, but this panel reminded me that that’s okay. The news reporter’s first job out of college was working as a firefighter for the Forest Service. The school psychologist worked at Starbucks for a year before deciding upon going to grad school to work in school psychology. The marketing manager and nonprofit development coordinator started with internships after graduation, which then led to their later jobs.
All four panelists were very reassuring that it’s okay if you don’t find your dream job immediately after graduation, especially if you haven’t figured out exactly what it is you want to do long-term in your career. Then, their advice turned to how to make the most of whatever opportunities you do get: be willing to learn new things to build professional skills, use a hobby or passion outside of work to lead your decisions, and if you feel like you might get stuck, you can always look for new opportunities. They reminded us that there are so many unusual jobs that we might not even be able to think of one for which you might be a great candidate. Above all else, they encouraged us to be confident about our skills and to know that the world really does need people who can communicate, write, and think critically – all things the English major teaches.
If you’re not graduating this year, be sure to check out this panel in the future. It’s a great way to get some insight about the world after graduation from people who were in your place not too long ago.