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  1. #31
    Free-Rangin' Librarian Jae Rae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eileen View Post
    Seriously, I'm with everyone else who says that you shouldn't have to defend your major. I do think that an English major is less rigorous than lots of majors, but so is a degree in business or communications (which are supposed to be "useful"). And it's kind of cool that you can get an English major and take a variety of directions--teaching, marketing, editing, writing, etc. I was an English major for two reasons: I wanted to teach high school, and that was the subject I felt I'd excel at the job with; and I liked reading and writing in depth. I took on a religious studies minor because I loved reading and writing in depth about religion. Is it going to get me a job? It is unlikely. Do I feel smarter and more enriched for it? Definitely.
    Seriously I think we can take it further than that. How about enforcing some boundaries with people who question your choices? It's your major. There are too many people getting into other people's stuff without being asked.

    If the OP was "I have an English major and I don't know what to do with it" that would be one thing. But the problem seems to be meddlng friends who are judging why someone would major in English.

    By the way, Eileen, your last paragraph is spot on and the last sentence is the most important.
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  2. #32
    Plumage and Moult proteanmix's Avatar
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    I majored in English and I'd do it again because it's the most awesomest major! I'm totally liberal arts and if it wasn't English it would've been something even worse like Sociology or Anthropology. This happened more when I was fresh out of college, but when I told people I was an English major they'd say "oh so you're an English teacher?" When most people think of English they think literature, but I really didn't like the literature part I enjoy the rhetoric and language parts. I use it as a moment to educate people so I really don't get offended or feel like I have to justify myself. I understand that it's frustrating to have people question why you majored in what you majored. You do what you want to do with your education.

    BUT, I went through the trouble of translating it to make myself more marketable to employers. When people ask(ed) I tell them what I can do with English.

    Critical thinking skills/Information synthesis is the my most often cited defense of an English major. Yeah, but what does that mean? Say I'm writing a grant proposal because my organization wants funding for a project. I'm reading news articles, clinical studies, surveys/evaluations and I think to myself hmmm, there's a need for XYZ group to be informed in this topic area (after you identify a common thread throughout what information you have), and then you figure out how to make that happen. You write your thesis about why you need funding in such and such area. You identify your target audience and any peripheral audiences. You support it with the data you've found that says there's a need. You tell them what you intend to do with the money and how it will positively impact the intended recipients, or your expected results. It's a bunch of stuff really, but I really thank my English major for it.
    Relationships have normal ebbs and flows. They do not automatically get better and better when the participants learn more and more about each other. Instead, the participants have to work through the tensions of the relationship (the dialectic) while they learn and group themselves and a parties in a relationships. At times the relationships is very open and sharing. Other time, one or both parties to the relationship need their space, or have other concerns, and the relationship is less open. The theory posits that these cycles occur throughout the life of the relationship as the persons try to balance their needs for privacy and open relationship.
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  3. #33
    Plumage and Moult proteanmix's Avatar
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    Moved to Academics and Careers
    Relationships have normal ebbs and flows. They do not automatically get better and better when the participants learn more and more about each other. Instead, the participants have to work through the tensions of the relationship (the dialectic) while they learn and group themselves and a parties in a relationships. At times the relationships is very open and sharing. Other time, one or both parties to the relationship need their space, or have other concerns, and the relationship is less open. The theory posits that these cycles occur throughout the life of the relationship as the persons try to balance their needs for privacy and open relationship.
    Interpersonal Communication Theories and Concepts
    Social Penetration Theory 1
    Social Penetration Theory 2
    Social Penetration Theory 3

  4. #34
    Free-Rangin' Librarian Jae Rae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    I majored in English and I'd do it again because it's the most awesomest major! I'm totally liberal arts and if it wasn't English it would've been something even worse like Sociology or Anthropology. This happened more when I was fresh out of college, but when I told people I was an English major they'd say "oh so you're an English teacher?" When most people think of English they think literature, but I really didn't like the literature part I enjoy the rhetoric and language parts. I use it as a moment to educate people so I really don't get offended or feel like I have to justify myself. I understand that it's frustrating to have people question why you majored in what you majored. You do what you want to do with your education.

    BUT, I went through the trouble of translating it to make myself more marketable to employers. When people ask(ed) I tell them what I can do with English.

    Critical thinking skills/Information synthesis is the my most often cited defense of an English major. Yeah, but what does that mean? Say I'm writing a grant proposal because my organization wants funding for a project. I'm reading news articles, clinical studies, surveys/evaluations and I think to myself hmmm, there's a need for XYZ group to be informed in this topic area (after you identify a common thread throughout what information you have), and then you figure out how to make that happen. You write your thesis about why you need funding in such and such area. You identify your target audience and any peripheral audiences. You support it with the data you've found that says there's a need. You tell them what you intend to do with the money and how it will positively impact the intended recipients, or your expected results. It's a bunch of stuff really, but I really thank my English major for it.

    Excellent post, Proteanmix. You and Eileen have figured out for yourselves why the major was right for you and how it fits in well with your lives and goals.

    The part that bugged me in the OP was the friend's negative and naive attitude that certain college degrees are worth more than others. Questioning someone's major shouldn't involve sarcasm.
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  5. #35
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eileen View Post
    Seriously, I'm with everyone else who says that you shouldn't have to defend your major. I do think that an English major is less rigorous than lots of majors, but so is a degree in business or communications (which are supposed to be "useful"). And it's kind of cool that you can get an English major and take a variety of directions--teaching, marketing, editing, writing, etc. I was an English major for two reasons: I wanted to teach high school, and that was the subject I felt I'd excel at the job with; and I liked reading and writing in depth. I took on a religious studies minor because I loved reading and writing in depth about religion. Is it going to get me a job? It is unlikely. Do I feel smarter and more enriched for it? Definitely.
    Yeah, I don't think that most criticisms are leveled on the basis of perceived rigor (maybe if you're talking to some jealous computer science major crying about how hard their homework is). I think that's reserved for interdepartmental wars in the higher echelons of academia.

    Mostly it's about how the major is useless for future career endeavors (which your response aptly addresses), and this criticism can be applied to all majors within all arts and sciences colleges. For instance, philosophy is fairly rigorous (though not nearly as hard as some people make it out to be), and yet you should hear the shit that they have to put up with from their parents/society/jealous friends whose parents made them major in finance. Same with linguistics.
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  6. #36
    WTF is this dude saying? A Schnitzel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jae Rae View Post
    Questioning someone's major shouldn't involve sarcasm.
    What if it's on a first date?

  7. #37
    Free-Rangin' Librarian Jae Rae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A Schnitzel View Post
    What if it's on a first date?

    NT dating conventions are different.
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  8. #38
    WTF is this dude saying? A Schnitzel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jae Rae View Post
    NT dating conventions are different.
    You're totally right. This INTJ was so into me after I did that.

    She just had to prove me wrong.

  9. #39
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edcoaching View Post
    In a rather typical NF fashion I majored in English because I like to read and write. An ST friend just made a sarcastic comment about the stupidity of English essays, saying "When you're done, what good is it?" He didn't buy my line about critical thinking or about providing insights into human nature that build leadership and even marketing skills...

    Anyone else had success explaining "fluff" majors to STs???
    This probably won't convince the people you are referring to, but English has to be one of the most useful majors out there. Communication skills are universally desirable for anyone moving into a manager position. I'm not sure if written communication or public speaking courses prepare a person more for this sort of thing, but either is more helpful than the majority of possible education programs out there that most majors offer.
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  10. #40
    Junior Member Yorick's Avatar
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    There's always law school. Join us. It's a way to put off the "real world" for three more years. (I was an English major too)

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