What’s in store for the life of an English graduate?

When I decided that I wanted to study English Literature and Linguistics, I had no particular career in mind, I was simply 18 years old and thought I’d pursue what I was good at and, here I am, three weeks before my final submission of my final year with still… no idea what I want to do.That’s not to say that the teaching hasn’t been inspiring or the course hasn’t given me some kind of direction, I just feel that I’m still too young to decide what to do for the rest of my life, but I’ve come to learn that it’s okay.

Studying English Literature and Linguistics gave me the opportunity to see what I could do with my passion for reading and writing. I became the Deputy Editor of my Student Union’s Newspaper, gained work experience at Condè Nast, have an editorial position at a charity organisation and I studied Spanish for a year! So, I guess you could say that I may have followed a conventional route of an English student in pursuing editorial work but that’s just one of the many possibilities of an English degree. In looking at graduate jobs the skills that I gained from my various positions placed me in a good position in applying for communications, marketing, research and even doing a conversion course to Law!

I’m frequently asked when I’ll be doing my teaching qualification and the answer is, not any time soon, if ever. In saying that though, teaching English as a foreign language around the world sounds more than appealing to me so if I do ever take that leap of faith onto the other side of the education system at least I can travel the world and sit sipping a cocktail on a beach somewhere afterwards.

I realise the irony in this article, writing about writing and not knowing what to do with my life. You probably assume that I’m sat in an artsy cafè drinking a super-skinny-no-milk-no-sugar-no-happiness latte, reading Sylvia Plath and lamenting my past three years at university. But that’s not the case at all, and those are common misconceptions of English students, I’ll have you know. I’m more one of those cant stand Shakespeare, folds the corner of pages, writes in books in pen and has lived by the mantra “if I don’t finish the book in time, I’m sure the film is accurate?” kind of student.

My answer to the initial question is, I still don’t know. Thankfully, studying English provided me with a whole lot of transferable skills and the opportunity to meet some very different people with some very strong personalities and interests. Whether I decide to pursue editorial work, journalism or become a teacher, the possibilities of doing many other things alongside it are still there. Excuse the cliché but as long as I enjoy what I do and I’m happy pursuing it as a career, I think I’ll be fine so don’t assume that an English graduate only has a few options or that they’ll spend the rest of their lives attached to a poetry anthology. There’s plenty for me to do to keep myself busy for now and the rest… well, the rest I guess I’ll figure out along the way.

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