Jack of all trades: Why I chose the English major

Luis Santana/Staff Writer 

Recently, The Atlantic put out an article claiming that FIU’s English bachelor is the second biggest waste of money in obtaining a college degree. As an English major, I was a bit bothered by this. I didn’t want to think that some publication had the power to declare that the degree I’ve been working hard to obtain was “A waste of money.” Looking at the metrics behind the article, I’m relieved to see that not only is the aforementioned article not true, but that they took incomplete data and tried to make it seem complete. This reflects so poorly on the Atlantic as a publication, that it makes me wonder why the writer took the time to write such a long winded article if it was missing factual information.

When I decided last year to be an English major, I didn’t expect to find a job immediately after my college career. I knew very well that a humanities degree wouldn’t secure a job for me, but rather I was taking these classes because for as long as I can remember I’ve enjoyed reading and learning about history. I wanted to enjoy my college career, and instead of having a major that would secure me one sort of job, I wanted to have a major that would allow me to try all sorts of different jobs. I wanted to become a jack of all trades and learn many different facets of life rather than pigeon hole myself into a single sort of career. And I’m not alone in this thinking. Sergio Aranda an English Alumni Association board member said, “My English degree has allowed me a lot of flexibility in terms of what I wanted to do in my career.”

This leads us to the question of what has college become and more importantly how will this new wave of what college is affect the humanities.

I’ve addressed this before, but I see college becoming a means to an end, and no longer about the pursuit of knowledge or doing something that you like. With the generation of failures that we have leading our government breathing down our necks and telling us what we need to study to ensure the safety and monetary stability of America, I can see why some people pick majors solely on monetary value. I can see why ‘logical’ majors like STEM–Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics–are chosen and given scholarships over the humanities. But let’s not forget what allows these ideas to be told to each other. It’s our language, written and spoken. Its stories like those written by Asimov that inspire people to think of a scientific future. Its stories written by Hitchcock that allow us to overcome our fears and be courageous. To downplay any major is to bring down those who have stood for what the major embodies.

To those choosing what to major in, pick what makes you happy. If that so happens to be a lucrative degree, then by all means do it. But to my fellow humanities majors, don’t allow yourself to be discouraged because our majors are looked down on.

Creativity and versatility are at the heart of our major and though at first you may not be able to live out your dream of writing a book or creating the next modern art masterpiece, keep your dream in the forefront of your mind and you never give up on yourself. I assure you one day you will be making the things that you love, and making the world better through it.