The age-old joke of certain majors winding up in a career of flipping burgers has come to an end. While the majority of students currently enrolled in universities across the United States are flocking to the STEM majors, the few that stick to the classics of English and history, as well as relatively unknown majors such as music industry, are proud of their choices as well as their futures. While these degrees may not have a massive population, businesses are continually searching for potential employees with these backgrounds. Four majors will be highlighted to show the reality that many students are currently facing.
1. English is Not Just About Books.
The English major, while mistakenly thought of as a useless major, serves as a desirable background for employers looking for potential employees with critical writing skills. In fact, CEOs love to hire English majors. In the corporate world, critical writing and thinking, skills gained through the English degree, are viewed as vital tools for success. In fact, English majors can find success in any number of fields; technology, business and education are just a few of the career choices. Sometimes, having a knack for reading and writing can lead towards a triumphant path.
Dorine, a student studying English, is a fan of writing and reading, something she finds that many people do not share. “I rarely find anyone who is an English major because I think they associate it as a lot of reading and writing,” Dorine said. “I chose to be an English Major because I felt it would give me an opportunity to enhance my writing skills a bit more.”
As for Dorine’s future, she is confident that her major will take her far. “I was thinking of being a journalist or pursuing different types of writing like playwriting or screenwriting,” she said.
Cecilia, another proud English major, arrived to campus believing that her major was popular, only to discover that it was frowned upon. “As I joined the community college and started telling people my intended major, most people responded by saying, “So, do you not know what you really want to do,” as if studying English is the same as being undecided,” she said. However, Cecilia genuinely feels that books have shaped who she is and provided her with a sense of belonging.
Cecilia is unruffled in her ability to gain a career in developmental editing for young adult fiction. “I am confident that I will get a job in the publishing field, however the specific type of editing I want to explore is rather rare in fiction publishing,” she said.
2. Education Actually Makes a Difference.
The field of education within the United States, when compared to standards across the globe, is one of the most poorly paid important occupations. Why would anyone want to become a teacher then? Despite this circumstance, teachers realize the importance of their work in educating children. Supporting teachers to do their best will ultimately reflect on the students. Education majors face discrimination due to their future salaries and careers. Putting together two of the most frowned upon fields leads one to the major of English education. While high school chemistry experiments gained excitement, English class was most certainly dreaded by most students. However, the benefits of literature far outweigh the countless sighs of boredom.
Re’Nyqua, a student studying English education, found more sympathy than support when it came to expressing her career aspirations. “I've wanted to be a teacher since about middle school, but I couldn't admit it to myself until high school because education is looked down upon as a major and teachers are poorly paid,” she said.
While Re’Nyqua is aiming to be a teacher, she is quick to point out that that is not the only thing she can accomplish. “Sure, I still want to be a high school English teacher, but I also want to write a book, learn Spanish and travel,” she said.
3. Music Industry is Chock-Full of Talent.
The music industry is one of the most competitive markets. Securing a job within this market requires the right education, skills and drive for success. Any major revolving around music is generally frowned upon, as the degree does not guarantee an immediate position in the field. This degree requires talent. While to some this major may seem like a waste, having a degree in music is crucial for networking within the notoriously cutthroat music industry.
Samantha, a music industry major, is well aware of the hurdles she may face. “I guess some people just don't quite understand anyone who would want to go into the music industry because it is so difficult to make a solid living, but in a way, they have a point. There's no such thing as job security and there's so many people who are starting to want higher quality work for less money,” she said.
As for her future within the industry, Samantha is keeping her minor in business on the backburner as a safety net. However, she said, “My dream is to be a music producer and I think the courses that I will be taking the next few years will prepare me for some of that, but since there isn't any job security there's always the fear that nobody will hire you.”
4. The Arts are the Future.
Being an artist in any form can come with its tribulations. Those who seek to gain an art degree so as to teach are true future educators: having an arts education is linked to academic success for children. With budget cuts forcing arts programs out of schools, this leaves many future art educators in a predicament. Aside from education, art majors are faced with the all-too-familiar reality of strangers, professors and even close friends and family informing them that they will never make bank with their degree. However, the arts degree opens up major avenues of success, despite the stigma surrounding it. A career in marketing or publishing can prove lucrative with the skills acquired through higher education.
Angelisse is a student currently triple majoring in English/creative writing, illustration and costuming. While she attends a college that has a large arts program, she still faces the pressure of having to choose a major that will prove lucrative in the long run. “When it comes to my family and professors, there’s a lot of pressure to choose a “money making” major because they feel as though I won’t be able to support myself after college,” Angelisse said. “If I wasn’t an arts major, I’d actually be studying to be a pilot for NASA or becoming a veterinarian. I found through English and art, however, I could do everything!”
While she is aware of the stigma surrounding the financial futures of arts majors, Angelisse is still focused on becoming a comic book author and illustrator. “I know at first I will not be able to support myself on that alone,” she said. “I would also love to be a high school teacher in English or art, with a focus on special needs students. Being in Florida, Disney World is always an option too; they always need costumers and artists.”
Despite the pressure and the statistics being stacked against her, Angelisse proudly stated, “I am confident in my overall ability to thrive as an artist.”
Engineering and business may be the hotly pursued fields of study, but these majors are crucial and will hopefully one day become more appreciated. While English, education, music industry and the arts as well as countless other majors are not attracting massive crowds of students, their importance should not be undermined.
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