There are many reasons why one might take a class: it’s for their major, it looks like it could be fun, or because they’re a soon to be senior who doesn’t know much about the ‘professional’ world. I fell into the latter category. However, I am eternally thankful that I was signed up for this class because it changed my whole perspective on careers, resumes, and standing out amongst a very large crowd. The value of this course is not to be ignored – and I hope that through my personal experience I can show why everyone should enroll in a professionalization course.
Entering into this course this past January, I was dead-set on the idea of becoming a high school English teacher. It might have been because every English major thinks about teaching at one point or another, but I had decided that teaching was my fate. I had researched teaching programs, chosen the one’s I liked best, and had even seriously talked about where my fiancé and I would move once we were married and graduated – based on where the teaching programs were. I did not enter into this class to have my mind changed, but I am so glad it was. It’s not that teaching was ever portrayed in a negative light, it’s just that I began to understand the reality of teaching. It’s much more time consuming than I anticipated, and with other anticipated activities in my future life, I quickly realized that as much as I loved the idea of teaching, it would never fit in with the life I wanted. The day that it hit me, that I wasn’t going to teach, it terrified me. I didn’t know what other options I had for a career. But our class quickly learned of many, many job opportunities for English majors through various assignments, like the informational interviews, and through our job packets where we had to ‘apply’ for different jobs. Without this class I would have gone on to teach, and I would have been miserable. I think teaching is a beautiful thing, but this class taught me that I can appreciate the art of teaching without being a teacher myself.
I believe that the humanities should include more professional training for its graduates. Mostly, because I think a lot of humanities majors are in the place where I was – backed into a corner believing that teaching is their only career choice. Before this course, I was also in a place where my résumé and job interview knowledge was next to nothing. If all humanities majors were required to take a course similar to this one, not only would they be able to thoroughly explore all of their career options, but they would be better prepared applying for a job and securing said job. My practice throughout the semester taught me how to write a killer resume and how to interact with potential employers. This knowledge has already paid off – I just scored a summer job.
One of the main things I also learned was the importance of practicing for job interviews. At the beginning of the semester while going over assignments, seeing ‘mock interview’ made me groan and cringe all at the same time. I didn’t have much practice with interviews and I’ve had issues with serious stage fright. So yes, it was absolutely terrifying for me. However, if I hadn’t practiced interviews in class, I would have been a mess during a real interview. I was able to get my nerves out in a safe environment with nothing at stake. I still have nerves going into interview settings, but I am growing and that is what this class had encouraged me to do from day one – to grow from where you are.
From the age of 5 to 22 (or later) we are solely dedicated to school. Our lives revolve around going to class, homework, studying, working harder, repeat. It’s a cycle we fall comfortably into. But then that cycle (in my case) stops at 22 and you’re thrown into the professional world – a world that is terrifying and unknown in many ways. If this class is integrated into the normal study plans for humanities majors, it would not be such a huge shock coming off of the cycle. It would be a step that students would feel well prepared and excited for. In order to give students a stronger chance at success, courses like this are vital to students, especially students like me.