Defending the Love to Learn

With the start of a new semester, comes a new group of college seniors anxious about entering "the real world." 

Of course, this year's graduating class is facing new trials and tribulations for the life of a post-grad. With a damaged economy and a global pandemic, so much is uncertain. It can be difficult to defend a college degree when the world is relying on first responders and essential workers. So take it from someone who is used to defending her major. While I am not eager to be spending a lifetime paying off student loans, I feel no regret in graduating with an English degree. 

 

I'm not bothered by any "how do you plan to use that?" jab. I was very nervous to declare an English major for fear of judgment from family or friends. We're told the final goal of college is to get a good job, whatever that even means. I was afraid I would be letting people down by "wasting" my chance of getting a degree.   

 

However, we must reimagine the future of the corporate world. Through shifting modalities, the workplace is now our home. As our communities and employers have adapted to the wild world we live in, I believe new graduates have a lot to give. To put it simply, we are going to be the ones making plays. The lines between the sociopolitical and professional spheres are already blurring. I believe this due to those who possess skills taught at liberal arts schools.   

 

I do not think my college experience solely taught me how to be a good little employee. And this is certainly not the primary reason I chose to attend college. Degrees in academic feels such as gender studies, cultural studies or English help educate us on the human experience. I love to learn. I feel it is my responsibility to learn. Of course, this can (and should, but that's a whole other conversation) be done outside the pricey halls of higher education. But I know I am a different and a better person because of the professors and students I've had the opportunity to work with these last three years. 

 

Every day we become more desensitized to stats and figures. The seemingly never-ending issues of the dreaded 2020 do not happen in isolation. We need critical thinkers, strong communicators and people who know how to work the narratives around us. 

 

So, let us be frank. Even if I spend some time fulfilling the English major cliche of working as a barista, I think it will take a lot more for me to regret or feel embarrassed about my degree. Even in these few fleeting months before I graduate, I know I'll be using my degree. I already use it every day.