Two years after graduating, it appears that I’m doing exactly the opposite of using my English major. After graduating Davidson in 2010, I joined Teach for America, moved to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, and began teaching four grades of middle school math.
Although I traded similes for symmetry and prose for parabolas, I still rely on my English education. The English department gave me more than a familiarity with the literary canon, it provided me with a means to navigate through the post-graduation professional haze. English majors learn how to dissect texts, view issues from different critical lenses, articulate their thoughts, and most importantly, write. The skills that I learned as an English major translate into every aspect of my life today.
At Davidson, I learned how to change thoughts into words—spoken or written. I learned how to see every angle of an issue, whether it be a frustrated parent or a student struggling with quadratic equations. But most importantly, I learned how to write. Every opportunity for which I have applied since graduating required an essay. Confidence in my writing ability has resulted in multiple opportunities for which, without a strong written response, I would not have been a candidate.
I chose my major because it fit my interests at the time. It wasn’t until after I graduated that I recognized the professional strengths I had gained in the department. Without it, I would not have been able to transition from midterms to lesson plans, and from seminars to board meetings.