Friday, May 17, 2013

Studying English makes you wildly successful

Yes, I do believe that. It's now been 27 years since I graduated from Pacific Lutheran University with my B.A. in English (holy Beowulf!!), and my English degree has definitely helped me in life. Strong writing skills are highly sought in many fields, and people who do not have a good grasp of the English language can appear less professional and educated (even if this is not true).

Studying English helps you in the following ways:

  • Strengthens your writing skills, which are needed in many professional careers--I had to write essays for each of my English exams in college, teaching me how to write spontaneously and quickly
  • Makes you look at the forest as well as the trees, as you critically assess poetry, fiction, and nonfiction and try to determine its meaning--I think I'm out of practice with this now!
  • Helps you organize your thoughts and consequently, those organization skills spill into the rest of your life (too bad it doesn't help with cleaning, too!)
  • Makes you a more well-rounded, literate person (I'm smarter after having read Shakespeare, Melville, Austen, Eliot, Vonnegut, Barth, Bronte sisters, Angelou, etc.)
Dr. Harold Varmus
Check out these 16 people who majored in English and became WILDLY SUCCESSFUL. Some of these are not terribly surprising...many people major in English before entering the arts, law, or business fields. But I especially love that Nobel laureate Harold Varmus, who went on to earn his medical degree and become director of the National Cancer Institute, received both a bachelor's and a master's in English (from Amherst and Harvard). Talk about well rounded!