The best answer is to enjoy it-and also, along the way, to think ahead to the many ways that it will serve you well if you approach it creatively.
To expect English to prepare you directly for a career is not, as some suppose, too much to ask.
Colleges and universities, public and private schools, legal firms and court systems, media and publishing enterprises, technical writing and advertising firms, as well as commercial businesses, healthcare providers, and foundations--all the human enterprises in which communication and imagination are at a premium need literate professionals to carry on their work.
A conscious effort is required, though, to connect your English major with your future vocation. Here are some of the steps to consider:
Combine majors and minors: Students in English often pursue a second major or a minor in another department as a way to combine their love of literature and language with preparation for a career.
Likewise, many pre-professional students choose English as part of a double major in order to develop their skills in such areas as analytical thinking, effective writing, and practice in reading people and imagining situations that don't yet exist, but one day might.
In particular, the value of an English degree is widely recognized in Pre-law and Pre-medical programs, where our majors often rank among the most successful applicants for advanced study.
Consider interdisciplinary certificates: Academic programs that allow students to take courses in more than one department are increasingly important as ways to prepare for employment. The English faculty at SLU has been unusually innovative in creating and supporting such programs.
The SLU English Department's internship program supports upper-level English majors who wish to supplement their academic course of study with an educational work experience.
The English Department seeks to place its students in internship environments where they go beyond doing purely clerical work and can make meaningful connections between their course of study and the practical, social, and intellectual demands of a workplace. For this reason, the English Department requires a significant academic component to the internship, one through which students extend their on-site work through a process of critical reflection and analysis.
Here are the basic elements of a SLU English internship:
1. on-site work (amounting to 10 hours/wk for 15 weeks)
2. academic component
Internships are voluntary (unpaid) but can be taken for 3 hours of course credit within the major if they meet the English Department's guidelines and requirements, which can be found http://slu-english-internships.weebly.com. Here students can also determine whether they are eligible to register for an internship and read about the stages of the internship process.
For questions about the English Department's internship program, please contact the department's Internship Coordinator, Saher Alam, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saint Louis University offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees at its campus in Madrid, where hundreds of students from the United States and around the world study each year.
With English as its primary (but not its only) classroom language, SLU-Madrid is the ideal place to get a feel for the international world, acquaint yourself with the national culture of Spain, and continue to participate in the shared vision of Jesuit education.
Spending a semester or a full year abroad, you will be able to take courses in the core as well as in a variety of concentrations, including English, Film Studies, Spanish, Communication, and International Studies.
Studying in Madrid is an especially attractive option for SLU English majors.
The University offers more than a dozen other programs of study abroad. For further information please visit SLU's Study Abroad webpage.