English and Communications Degree: Careers, Grad School, and Finding Your Path

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Figuring out your career path when you have a degree that doesn’t lead to a specific job can be tough. People who study subjects like English, history, philosophy, or general maths and sciences like biology or chemistry are often assumed by others to have limited jobs available to them.

It’s certainly not as straightforward as studying engineering, nursing, education, medicine, law, social work, mental health, or accounting. Degrees that lead to a specific career path take out the guesswork of having to choose a career after graduation. Having a more broad degree still has it’s advantages, however, because you don’t have to feel stuck in one career path.

For creative types, this can be a good thing, because we can get restless, curious, and bored if we feel restricted to one path. I know, this all sounds fine and dandy until you’re left with an empty wallet, no sense of direction, a “useless” degree, and an overwhelming pile of debt. But the truth is, the old mantra they used to tell us in elementary school is true, knowledge really IS power.

All degrees open up doors to more careers and more opportunities. The challenge of carving out a career path when your degree doesn’t lead to a specific job is exactly that, a challenge. Are you up for it? I think you are! Even people who have degrees in accounting or engineering should know that their degree opens MANY doors, not just the one path. Anyone can want a career change in their life at any time, so the truth is, what you study, in many cases, doesn’t matter. Many people end up pursuing careers not related to what they studied.

If you have a degree in English, Communications, or any other liberal arts subject, don’t believe there are no careers out there for you. There are several. Does that mean it will be easy to get started? Not at all. You have to choose a path that’s right for you, and then you have to build your resume up with relevant experience if you don’t already have it. Volunteering for a local nonprofit is probably the best way to do it.

Internships can be good, too, but sometimes you need experience for those, too. Choosing a nonprofit and volunteering with them for at least a year is a great way to gain experience. Try to volunteer doing something related to the career you want. If you don’t know what you want to do, try out a few things within the organization. If you can do this before you graduate, even better.

Building a career is a marathon, not a sprint. Take your time, try things, fail, and fail again. It means you’re one step closer to success. If you’re still trying to figure out your career, your not alone. I’m in the same boat, but I know we can do it 🙂 Here are some careers to consider if you have a degree in English or Communications:

Journalist for newspapers, magazines, or blogs

Editorial Assistant

Publicity Assistant

Junior Copywriter

Senior Copywriter

Grant Writer

Fundraiser

Technical Writer

Accounting Clerk

Social Media Manager

Event Planner

Public Relations Specialist

Marketing Assistant

Marketing Manager

Account Executive

Assistant Manager

General Manager

Human Resources Assistant

Administrative Assistant

Medical Receptionist

Executive Assistant

English/Literacy Teacher

ESL/TESOL Instructor

Tour Guide

Art Gallery Associate

These are some of the careers you can consider if you have a degree in English or communications. For some, you may need to learn new skills or get a new certification, but if it’s something you really want to do, it’s more than worth it. You can also consider these subjects for grad school:

English

Creative Writing

Library Science

Media Studies

Education

Literacy and Language

Public Relations

Advertising

The truth is, you can study anything in grad school. Don’t have the prerequisites you need? Go back to community college and take them. That’s not to say that it’s easy, or that taking on more debt or spending more money is a casual decision. But it’s important to realize that you are not limited by your degree. There is nothing wrong with studying something you love. In my opinion, it’s what you should do every time. Follow your bliss.

Building a career is not easy. Having options is great, but you do need to choose a path and you do need to gain experience. The path to gaining experience, interning, or volunteering may seem long, but look at it this way. The time you spend volunteering and learning from experience, is not much different from the time someone else is spending in grad school, med school, or law school. Things take time, and that is okay.

Stay strong and believe in yourself. You have options, you have a future, and you have opportunities. Get out there and find them. I’ll be doing the same. ❤

 

 

Life after college: hacking my education

There’s a lot of pressure when you graduate from college. It feels like you’re expected to automatically start doing big, amazing things (while earning an impressive paycheck). But the reality is, transitioning into the “real world” doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process. Life is a journey and we are always growing.

There’s also this feeling that adulthood is this one, big thing that we have to have all planned out. But the truth is, it’s not like that at all. Everyday is a new beginning. And a new chance to learn, grow, connect, create, and be our best selves.

I spent a long time feeling stressed out about whether I should go to grad school or not. I still might, but I know if I do it, it will be for the same reason I did undergrad. Not for money or a job, but for personal enrichment.

School provides structure and gives you an idea for what a few years of your life will look like, and that’s super tempting to go back to. But it also costs a lot of money. And unless you have a specific career in mind (that you will actually enjoy doing), it’s not always worth the investment.

I realize that I don’t need grad school or community college to learn new skills. I want to attend workshops and learn new skills outside of traditional classrooms. There’s several things I’d like to learn more about, from coding to design to business. I want to hack my education, because the truth is, there is always room to grow and to better myself.

Having a degree gives you certain credentials, and how much you need advanced degrees depends on the job you want. I know that I don’t want to be limited to doing one kind of job, and so I want to do what I can to keep my options open.

I’ve been out of college for a year, and my idea of what I want in life has changed a lot as I’ve experienced different things. I realize that I need to be patient and open-minded. This is my journey, and I am doing just fine with where I am.

I used to think it was so important to have a career. But what matters to me now is having a Life’s Work. There are some kinds of work that you will do, and maybe it won’t get you a lot of money, but it’s still valid and it still matters.

I’m trying to take life one day at a time. And trying not to worry about the future. I don’t need to impress anyone or live the way anyone else thinks I should live.

The world is my oyster. And as I think about hacking my education, gaining new skills, and trying different things, I feel like that statement is true.

I’m doing okay, and so are you.

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#MyThoughts