After two months of searching, I gave up. My eyes were sore from the blue glare of the computer screen and my fingers were numb from the keyboard. I had spent hours a day, dedicating my time to this seemingly unattainable goal. Thoughts rolled through my head of how I am not qualified enough, how I am not impressive enough, and the other people who must have been too perfect to pass up.
The job search was difficult for me. I began with high hopes, only to have them
destroyed by my impatience and high expectations.
As an English major, searching for a job in the marketing and sales field seemed odd to my peers. They were unable to see the direct correlation of my degree and dream career.
Even though I was able to see how reading literature translated into “real world” skills such as critical thinking, the ability to assess people, and problem-solving. Others, however, the journey from A to B seemed like a stretch.
I was working hard to make that stretch a less windy road and more of a straight path.
“So what are you going to do with that?” my mom questioned me, “That’s really the title of the course?”
I had to assure her that yes, that was the name of the class, and yes, it was going to be applicable to my degree. So many times I had been asked about my major and how I was going to apply it to my future career. Signing up for a professionalization workshop Humanities at Work, or better known as So What Are You Going to Do With That?, was where I received my answer.
Starting the Conversation
The Liberal Arts are shamefully unprepared for sending their students out to the workforce. The comparison of other departments and the preparation of their students to the Humanities is a stark one.
Engineer majors were gaining mentors their freshman year and required to go to career fairs. Business majors had teachers who brought in guests speakers that were currently looking for applicants.
The stories I was gaining from my friends were very different from my own experiences. I felt like I was falling behind, and fast.
It wasn’t just me either. My roommate, an artist who’s photos are moving and full of life, was considering her diminishing options after college. “I guess I’ll move in back at home,” I’d hear her say.
“We have skills.We are hard-workers.” I would tell her.
Even though that is the case, we didn’t have the resources to translate our skills and attitudes into desirable candidates.
The Humanities need to have more conversations about their students. I know that there is value in having a humanities degree towing mentor who has been on the job search for a non-academic career. There is value in having instruction on the job market today, outside of wanting to publish novels.
There is value in having instruction on the job market today, outside of wanting to publish novels or teach. We just need the world to see it that way.
More training? Yes, please!
“Should the humanities include more professional training for its students?”
Yes, even if a student decides to go into teaching or writing, having these extra “real world” skills will help them succeed in their careers. This is one of the downfalls of the Humanities and it is such an easy fix.
When you pair job training alongside a cultural background of a humanities degree you gain an individual who is adept at a variety of different things. They have interpersonal skills as well as technical. Workplaces are looking for diversity among their employees, that is what makes a company successful!
There are a variety of career paths for a humanities major. Some of which I had never considered before outside of marketing. Working for a non-profit was largely one of them. Not only can an individual apply their skills of compassion, they are able to work at a job which they can leave happy about. Just knowing what else was out there calmed me where I had been borderline panicked before.
One thing I have learned after sending in countless of job applications and being rejected
over and over again is to just keep at it. As my teacher, Dr. Szwydky said, “This is a numbers game.”
You can improve on yourself now as you continue looking for other jobs. Blog posts, like the one I am writing now, can help you build your portfolio and make you a better candidate for a job. Don’t wait to improve yourself. If something interests you, go after it. May this be copy writing or marketing, there steps you can currently be doing to make your dream into your career.
- Copywriting-start a blog
- Advertising- learn Adobe Applications
- Marketing- start an Etsy store
- Fundraising- volunteer or take a grant writing class
If I had taken this class earlier in my college career I would not have lost hope so early on, I would have kept looking and understood the importance and pride that comes along with my degree. Never lose hope because you are more than worth a satisfying career.
Thank you, Dr. Szwydky for an amazing intersession and your passion to continue this conversation among the Liberal Arts. You are changing the Humanities, for the best, one class at a time.