Apparently, I chose the wrong major.

…But I’m six months away from graduating. Oops.

Let me clarify the issue:

My major is English with a concentration in writing. I chose it two years ago when I transfered from community college because I wasn’t exactly sure which “career” I wanted in life, but I wanted to study something I cared about. I originally transferred as a journalism student, but I changed it just before classes started because I thought I could do more with an English degree instead of a more focused and one-track journalism degree. (I figured I’d chose a focus in graduate school, but I don’t really see that on my horizon right now anymore.) Maybe you think that’s foolish, but that was part of my reasoning.

You know what my other reasoning was? I actually like English. I like studying literature, I like studying why it was written, what it means, what happened in the author’s life, the culture’s life, the movement’s life, that may have influenced the work itself. And I love writing. I actually love writing about and analyzing literature, how nerdy is that? I also love creative writing more than journalistic writing. It’s different, and I was aware of that, so I chose English. I figured that if I was going to spend two years of my time and money studying something, it might as well be something I actually cared about and enjoyed doing.

And you know what? I have enjoyed it. Granted, I wish that my university had a more diverse requirements list because I have no room to take anything extra, and sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in British literature… But I still enjoy it. I wish it had more writing classes, and I wish I could’ve established a better connection with the professors by coming in my Freshmen year. However, coming in as a transfer student, I’ve still enjoyed it. Most of my professors have been awesome, and they really care about what they teach. And you know what? I enjoyed those two years at community college when I was just a “General Studies” major too. I got to take lots of fun classes like art, photography, acting, astronomy, and film, all while accomplishing most of my general education credits and getting an Associates Degree in the process.

If it sounds like I’m defending myself, it’s because recently I’ve been feeling like I might’ve made the wrong decision.

Just today, a friend whom I greatly respect, told me that he wished he could rewind the clock and tell me to change my major.

He was joking, but it made me think. He said it because of the things I’m looking to do in my future. Some of my new-found desires seem like they would work better with a different degree. I agree with him, and it has been something I’ve been scolding myself about even before he said anything.

For example: Slowly but surely I think God has been growing in me a desire to teach, but when I first started as an English major I was dead-set against anyone telling me I was just going to be a teacher. I’m still against it, and I don’t want to be an English teacher right now, but I’m looking at possible opportunities to teach Conversational English overseas … and it would be a lot easier and make a lot more sense if I had known that three years ago and started on a TESOL program at my university.

Example number two: What my friend was talking about was my desire for cross-cultural missions and how I want to have an actual job in the place I live instead of just living on financial support. I don’t know what he would’ve told me to major in… maybe International Studies or Community Development? That’s something I’ve seen as a requirement for internships at non-profit organizations. I guess I missed the boat on majoring in that stuff too.

I think it’s stuff like this that makes me absolutely terrified to make any sort of decision whatsover. Because, you see, I chose English, and the enemy is telling me right now that I chose wrong.

Listen, I’m pretty sure God’s not up there shaking his head and going, “Oh, my dear Robyn, if only you’d chosen this major. Your life will forever be second-best, and you’ll never get the job(s) I had originally intended for you, all because you made the wrong choice in college.”

That sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? So I’m calling the enemy out on his stupid lie.

You know what happened to me this semester in my three English classes?

One: My British literature professor told me he enjoyed reading my essays and having me in his class.
Two: My literary criticism professor gave me an A on a paper that stressed me out to no end, and he told me that it has potential to be published in an academic journal.
Three: My advanced fiction professor went out of his way to email me after he had read my final story and tell me that I had done a great job and made the right choices. He edited my story and sent it back to me because he thought it also had potential to be published.

I’m not trying to toot my own horn here, I’m honestly just stating the truth to myself. I chose English, and obviously there was a reason to it. I enjoy it, and God has gifted me with the ability to study it well and to write well.

Now, I have no idea what I’m going to do with it, but that’s okay. It’s not a useless major, and my college years have not been wasted. The answer may not be right in front of me, and it probably won’t be easy to do when it comes; maybe I will have to go back to school. But I am trying to be confident in God’s timing and God’s opinion of me. He’s not going to drop me off in the world and laugh at how I wasted my time, at how useless the skills He gave me are for anything important. He gave me both the desires and the gifts, and I have to believe that He will bring the two together in His most glorious and perfect way, and He will of course make up for any shortcomings because He is the Lord Almighty.

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11 thoughts on “Apparently, I chose the wrong major.

  1. Your degree has helped grow you in many ways as a young woman and as a scholar. I love Einstein’s quote “The value of an education in a liberal arts college is not the learning of many facts, but the training of the mind to think of something that cannot be learned from textbooks.”

  2. Great post. I have an English degree, which I got this spring. It’s definitely not useless, and you should be proud that you’ve stuck to it because you love it. I questioned my choice for three semesters (since that is as long as I had an English major because I transferred, too). There are so many things you can do. I looked at jobs in law, at colleges, in government, in business, etc. I ended up in a law office for the time being. You can apply most places and try so many things. No one said you needed to know what you wanted to do with your degree as soon as you got it. Most of my professors told me that it would take a little time to find the “right” kind of job/career/path. Good luck!

  3. Girl, I feel YOU! 3 years out of college (wait, did I just say that right? 3 years???? Ahhhh, life crisis realization!) and I still am not sure what I want to do with my English degree. But here’s a nifty little trick that I use. People just ask for a English degree. My degree is in English. It says nothing about my concentration. So if they ask if I have a degree in English (albeit they want ESL), then heck to the yeah I have a degree in English! ;)
    And listen to this lovely bit of truth: your grasp on the English language is such an invaluable skill that employers want! Sure you don’t have a degree in such and such, but you have an excellent grasp on the language, you know HOW to study other languages, you have multicultural/intercultural experience already, you’re a great team player, you’re a hard worker, you’re motivated, and you’re ready and willing to try new things. You are invaluable to whomever decides to employ you! (So stick that on yo cover letter!)
    Oh yes, and here’s a little bit of spiritual truth to back that up: God calls the weak. Flee from the lies of Satan.
    I love you!!

  4. Interesting post. :) Please do not doubt where God has led you!
    He often has strange methods of putting people in the right place at the right time – and often through unconventional means. I am 21 yrs., and I started college at 17. One would think I would therefore be ahead in my career plans, but that isn’t really the case.. I have gone through college and switched my major a couple times, I have decided to double-majored – I have minored in vocal performance/theatre, and I have taken classes eclectically.
    To the superficial eye, it might seem as if I have not had a solid direction, but God knew all along the people I would need to meet in my college studies, the network and support system I would need to build, and the timing that has been and continues to be perfect- even if a little strange at times.
    I now have an A.A. in Psychology, but I don’t want to be a psychologist (I would consider psychology a minor of mine, and still a field of interest). I was pursuing a Communication degree but switched it to an A.A. in International Studies, which I will finish this winter. I will also have a Registered Nursing degree (God-willing) in the next 2 years (even though I don’t desire to stay permanently in the medical field).
    I, too, desire to possibly teach English overseas, even if my credentials are a bit all over the place (my 5-year plan is to finish my International Studies A.A., get the R.N. degree as an “enabler”, and then probably obtain a bachelor’s degree in International Studies while working as a nurse to support myself, or after having worked as a nurse for a year or two – otherwise I can’t afford university education on my own..).
    But I don’t think it is my choices in majors that have propelled me forward toward working abroad, so much as God knowing where I needed to be. If I hadn’t been in college so long taking weird classes in psychology and R.N. pre-requisites, I wouldn’t have wandered into the opportunity to do a short internship in Japan. I wouldn’t have been on the track I’m on. I wouldn’t even have considered TESOL or working in Asia. God knows what He’s doing.
    Having an English degree is in no way going to harm the direction God has planned for you. I’ve talked with people who work in TESOL in Japan (including a professor who has worked with writing textbook material for companies like those behind the CELTA), and they have said that people will even come out there with Bachelor’s degrees in Accounting and will find English teaching jobs. It’s not going to stop you from getting hired, and if anything I think it would be very beneficial.
    Anyway, I kind of stumbled on your blog from the Good Women Project.. but I am glad I did!
    Please don’t doubt yourself, dear – God has amazing things planned for you. =)

    – Hannah K.

    • Thanks for reading, Hannah! And thank you for your encouragement and for sharing your story. That’s crazy because I’m actually looking in to TESOL type things in Asia too, of all places. Perhaps we will work together some day :) I’m grateful for your faith in God’s plan and His sovereignty even when the plan seems all over the place. Thank you again for commenting!

      • You are welcome, Robyn! :) I hope that things work out well for you!! That would be neat if we did run into each other, haha. You are welcome, and I hope that you will continue to have faith in God’s plan for yourself as well! It’s never easy to be satisfied with a lot of unknowns, but He is always faithful.

        P.S. If you are looking into a specific area in Asia, might I suggest getting started on learning a language if you haven’t already? I think this would be a great way to give yourself the leg-up and increase your chances of getting hired or obtaining a more profitable position.. I think it could also possibly have an even greater impact than degree-specifics.

  5. In my last few semesters I also found myself doubting the English degree. And I still do think that the pedantic discussions where people would nitpick about the meaning of this or that were fairly useless. One weakness of the English degree is that although you might be awesome at proofreading, understanding complex information quickly, and synthesizing research from many different sources, it doesn’t automatically give you marketable skills to put on a resume. So while I was looking for a job I found that there are a lot of free online classes you can take in Excel or AP style or whatever, and I think that set my resume apart from others. Those skills have also been VERY useful in my job. I lucked out in that I had an interviewer who once studied Classics and also saw value in a “useless” major.

    • Thanks, Carla! I’m glad you have a job :) It’s good to know there are people out there who still see the value in an English degree. And I’m going to start looking in to those classes so I can put those skills on my resume. Thanks!

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