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I am of two minds

September 6, 2006

I am of two minds about the truth you speak. Yes, there are too many English grads–I am one.

Dean Dad has a nice post where he examines the ramifications of a U of FL announcement to not replace a boatload of retiring profs—choosing, rather, to take the opportunity to prune departments and realign focus back to sciences and such. The Liberal Arts, taking a frontal assault in the process.

DD argues, rightly I am afraid, that “English graduate programs should take fewer graduate students.”

I am of two minds about the truth he speaks. Yes, there are too many English grads–I am one and it is a bitch to find a job.

The two minds, though, cleave along the personal and professional. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to have studied at the level I have. I feel as if I have clawed my way into a world-view and understanding unknown to my family and class. I have read myself into a place where I feel, perhaps too securely, that I can read my way into understanding quite nuanced arguments and situations. That is, I can think critically. Isn’t that what every into composition course wants?

Professionally, I think my personal view was selfish and short-sighted. Critical thinking is not the sole prevue of English studies. The sciences, IT, etc. all can lay claim to fostering critical thinking AND providing a skill-set that can actually pay the bills—most of which were incurred while obtaining said skills.

So, my professional self looks to my personal self with dismay, bordering on aversion. Bankrupt your family so that you could indulge in reading—reading that could have been done in the evenings after your real job.

So, there we are. Personally satisfied, professionally stymied. Thanks English degree. Thanks so much.

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One Comment
  1. Ivory permalink
    September 10, 2006 5:42 pm

    It is a myth that science and IT graduates have an easy time finding jobs after college. I know plenty of biology majors that end up in dead ends after they graduate because they didn’t get internships or work during school that complimented their degree. I think the key thing here is that you need to develop many skill sets while in college – and some of them cannot be learned in school. If every English major volunteered in a hospital or worked doing HTML tagging in an internship while earning their degree, they would have many more options after graduation. The key is to realize early on that it is a combination of experience and your degree that will get you hired and to go out and seek experience, sometimes in areas that appear to fall outside your area of study.

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