Ashamed of my major/degree (English), advice?

As the title says, graduating with a B.A. in English Literature from a T50 flagship and deeply regret my choice. As a transfer student, I put my focus freshman/sophomore year into resume building, treating f/s essentially as remedial college prep. Now: I’m a senior, excellent GPA, no debt, feel terrible and am open to further schooling.

My interests have primarily been in creative fields related to design and media, though I’m also interested in financial growth potential and a leadership/strategy role. I want to be able to work with ideas, facts, and/or aesthetics. I enjoy the outdoors, architecture, interiors, oceans, computers (though I don’t know how to program) and economics (though I never took calculus).

TLDR; Regretful English Major, INTP, career tests suggest executive, lawyer, or artist (lol) Absolutely no interest in education/social work/teaching.

Just get a job. Head to career services, ask the question “what do other English Lit majors do after college” and then follow their advice. Reach out to recent alums, apply for jobs that are listed with career services, you don’t need this to be your forever career- just get moving.

Why are you regretful? What’s that about? And if you’re interested in computers you can head to a bootcamp; not too late to take calculus.

Don’t you need to support yourself? It’s a little late in the game to get moving, but snap to it. Surely you realized you were graduating???

Ashamed? You write with great drama. Have you explored roles in the entertainment industry???

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@blossom I’m regretful because I study sooo many options! I see so many paths I could taken now. I’ve looked at LinkedIn, Handshake, college exit surveys, etc. - what other English majors do after college at my uni/similar: teaching, barista, cashier, bookseller, tutoring - those options don’t sound appealing.

I’m actively applying to a variety of internships & positions, just looking for any other input. Thanks for your reply :slight_smile:

Are you interested in grad school? Law school?

English is a good major. Teaches and hones critical thinking and writing skills that are useful in a wide array of fields. Sounds like you’re having trouble figuring out what types of jobs actually interest you, rather than you not being qualified.

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@vpa2019

Yes. I’m interested in everything, but it all seems… abstract? I’ve been isolated as a student, first before transferring and now with distance learning, so it’s hard to get an idea.

I worry because aside from ivy grads, I don’t see many English majors in promising careers.

Go to career services (or contact them if you remote from campus) if you haven’t yet.
Have them go over your resume (on it, don’t forget to highlight professional skills and relevant coursework).
Are you graduating this Spring, like, this week or next?

@MYOS1634 Thanks, and no, end of August, possibly December if I can commit to a minor. I’ve done the resume overview and attended workshops, continuing to sign up for events.

I understand where you’re coming from. Your class was cheated out of internships last summer to atleast try out a job.

You don’t necessarily need to be trained before you start an entry level job. I’d say choose a few areas that seem interesting to you and discuss with the career center.

@vpa2019 What sorts of entry level jobs are you thinking when you say that? Any suggestions with good growth/path potential? Also what are your thoughts about minors - worth it to stay for an extra quarter?

Just a small sample, my D (chemistry major) works for a company that handles pharmaceutical clinical trials. There are many people who start at the entry level like her who aren’t stem majors and they are trained by the company. She can work her way up to project manager if she’s interested. Or she could go work in house at a pharma company.

Likewise her bf and one of her close friends both got jobs out of college working with account management (not exactly sure what they do) but he was a business major and the friend was an art major. Both being trained on the job. My niece went to Connecticut college got a job with a brand management company, then got her MBA now works for wayfair. None of these kids probably envisioned working where they first ended up. My other niece ended up doing scientific writing and has lived abroad for many years. Your first job isn’t permanent.

If you get an internship this summer that might turn into an offer of full time employment. That’s what happened to my S. Interned junior summer with an employment offer after graduation.

Another possibility if you’re interested in econ/business or maybe marketing/advertising (for your creative side) is to do a one year business masters such as this one

I don’t think minors are that critical. You can take a few classes in the subject but 6 classes of one subject doesn’t net you much. Maybe a business minor if you want to get a basic understanding of some concepts.

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It’s a false assumption that English majors only go into education. Here are some other career paths of English majors: Marketing, consulting, advertising, communications, publishing, editing, management, media relations, law, public policy, foreign service, grant writing, journalism.

Honestly, you will be very well poised for any career that requires critical thinking and writing skills. And empathy. Literature majors graduate with great capacity for empathy.

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@vpa2019 Thanks, this is helpful info!

Why regret? You majored, you’ve had success. English is no different than History, Poli Scie, Anthropology, and other liberal art majors.

Finding a job is not easy, even for an engineer. It takes dedication and a positive attitude. You’ve accomplished so much - why dismiss yourself.

I have a history and journalism major. After working at ESPN for a year, I got into sales and three years later went for an MBA and have worked in Automotive for 22 years.

If auto interests you, apply to any of the OEMS (Ford, GM, Nissan, Toyota) - you start off in a call center but after proving yourself, then you’d move into an area such as incentives, distribution, etc.

If that’s not the path for you, look at jobs that post at school. Set up an indeed for entry level college jobs - entry level liberal arts majors or english majors. There’s a million jobs out there that you have no idea exist. Maybe you can work on a political campaign or in a museum. No clue what your interests are - but to simply regret four years is not a good sign for life.

Go out, learn about the world, try some things - ask people to shadow them.

You can do a lot - but only if you have the mindset to do it.

Don’t regret the past - make your future.

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Focus on what you’ve done - for example, I found an admissions counselor job at Dartmouth. Did you give tours or work in the admissions office?

I found a GAO Student Analyst Intern in Huntsville - $44K-$63K.
Liberal Arts Entry Level Jobs, Employment | Indeed.com

Academic Advisor for the MLK Program at U of MN

Digital Media and Content Editor at www.msj.edu in Cincy

Junior Researcher at Federation for American Immigration Reform in DC

Investment Operations Associate - at NEPC in Atlanta. May be up your alley.
Liberal Arts Entry Level Jobs, Employment | Indeed.com

My point is - you’ve accomplished a lot. But now you need to learn sales. Guess what you are selling. You.

Go out and fight for an opportunity. Find something you might enjoy. Even if you ultimately don’t like it - so what. Learn, experience, and grow!!

If you go out and tell people you are ashamed, you’ll go nowhere.

If you tell people your story - how hard you worked to get through college, what activities you did and how they helped you grow. If you show interest in the organization you apply to through learning about them, asking insightful questions, and showing the skills you have are transferable to the opportunity…if you sell YOU, then you’ll make a fantastic leap forward!!

It’s all attitude. You’ve worked too hard to throw everything away. If you wish to study something else, go make your mark in the world, experience what it has to offer, and then if you want to study something else, you can pivot in grad school later.

Good luck.

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English major here. I started out as a technical writer, then editor, then publications manager, eventually heading into corporate education where I taught software applications and operating systems (I had gotten deep experience with systems software during my tech writing days). Then I decided to take a risk and join a computer services startup where I ended up in an executive role and headed off to Harvard Business School at 30. I spent the rest of my career in management and had a preference for hiring articulate English majors for their critical thinking, writing, and presentation skills as well as their range of general knowledge. The jobs I hired them into could teach them specific technologies but couldn’t teach them to write or communicate effectively (often elegantly), skills which enabled many of them to skip up the corporate ladder.

I retired four years ago. My best English major hire succeeded me and is currently running the data analytics operation at a global corporation.

You may not be interested in technology, but command over words and ideas and the ability to think clearly and communicate effectively is a gift to business that can take you far in almost any field. Your major is the last thing you need to be ashamed of. Use it.

(And ditto all the good advice upthread.)

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almost certainly no.

Since you don’t have any idea (at all?) what you enjoy / would like to do as a job, try picking a sector that is interesting you, and apply for entry level jobs in that field. Think about what you really enjoy spending your time on- and look for jobs at firms that that’s what they do. Seriously- it can be as simple as ‘I love doing X’ and finding companies that make X, sell X, show other people how to do X’. Genuine enthusiasm for the sector can take you a long way- and it makes those entry level jobs more fun (you can be a salesperson/data analyst/etc for anything- might as well be for something that you enjoy learning more about!)

ps, make sure that you spend some time with the careers counselor (or similar) to figure out your skills, strengths & weaknesses- both practical and tempermental (are you good at project management? are you notably better working on your own or as a team? are you number-phobic? etc).

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I majored in English Lit. and back then, I didn’t even have to study literary theory. I am proud of my degree. You should be proud and not feel ashamed for one second. You’ve EARNED a degree! My goodness, the world needs people who can comprehend difficult reading and who can write competently. There was literally a thread just the other day in which it was mentioned that apparently med schools like to admit English majors.

There are plenty of career paths for you. My daughter has two friends who graduated last year with English degrees. One works for an advertising company and the other works at a major newspaper. Just start looking for jobs. Utilize the campus career center and alumni network. Hold your head high. Be confident. It takes perseverance and hard work to earn a degree. Congratulations on your achievement.

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My D just finished her first year at a LAC and has yet to pick a major. She is leaning toward English, History, or International Relations but has no idea what she wants to be “when she grows up”. This is what I constantly remind her of: I was a sociology major back in the day (I chose it because the few electives I took were a lot easier and my grades were better than those I got as a pharmacy major). My first job out of college was as a trade show manager for a tech company that was an Apple developer. I got to travel all over and I had a lot of responsibility overseeing a $1M budget. I loved it! It in no way had anything to do with my major and I had no idea that a job like that even existed before I was doing it. I went to an employment agency and started temping, just to see what was out there. That first company saw what my personal characteristics were and hired me for that job, which wasn’t even what I was sent there to do. The skills you have acquired will translate into many different arenas and you don’t know what you don’t know (in terms of careers and jobs). The right opportunity will present itself if you have the right outlook.

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English major here…the world has changed, yes, but our skills are still in demand and unless you want to there’s no need to go into teaching. If you want a higher salary out the gate, look at public relations or marketing jobs in the banking, tech, or pharmaceutical industries. It’s great to be able to code or create vaccines…but those industries need people who can effectively communicate their product offerings and breakthroughs through their publications. If you are more creative there is so much going on with content development-social media, podcasts, email marketing are all exploding now. I agree with the advice to just get a job, even if it seems administrative-your first job out of school will give you essential, general work experience - like project management - that you can take in any direction.

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A quick review of your prior posts reveals the basis of your problem—you are graduating debt free. Clearly, you misunderstand the educational system here in the US.

However, do not despair. You now have another opportunity to “get it right”.

Do you prefer law school debt, medical school debt, business school debt, or do you prefer to just test the water with a bit of debt earned through participation in a one year masters degree program involving study in the humanities ?

In short, debt free is not always a good thing as one may lack the motivation created by desperation & necessity.

Now, we just need to find you an interesting way to accumulate some much needed motivation through the accumulation of educational debt. After all, it is the American Way.

Law school is a great way for an otherwise directionless recent graduate to accumulate educational indebtedness. Start by studying for the LSAT or consider taking the GRE as it can be used for more graduate programs than the LSAT.

Either test is the first step toward creating motivation = accumulating educational debt.

Seriously, study for the LSAT to determine whether or not you can attend law school on a full tuition scholarship or take the GRE for more flexibility regarding type of graduate school to which you can apply.

Remember: Debt & procrastination of one’s entry into the real world = the necessary level of motivation needed to see a world of opportunity, and not a world of regret & despair.