yconic - How would you respond to someone who said this to you about the degree you want to pursue?
Hide Menu

My Feed Money for School Student Help Brands Winners Support Center



Explore yconic
Explore Student Life Topics
Scotiabank
STUDENT CHAMPION
yconic proudly recognizes Student Champion Partners who are providing our community with superior support for their student journeys. Learn More
Student Help Brands

How would you respond to someone who said this to you about the degree you want to pursue?

A photo of napinhei napinhei
Let’s say you had your heart set on a particular program at a particular university. You’re incredibly enthusiastic and cannot control your excitement to attend. Then you come across someone who has completed the same degree with the same major that you are thrilled about. You ask them what they think only to have that person tell you that they don’t have anything to say about it. Furthermore, they start telling you that if you expect to get a job when you graduate, you are sorely mistaken, especially if you are going into it with no clear cut image of the job you want to pursue. Remember, this isn’t someone currently in the program or someone who knows nothing about the program, but someone who has graduated from the exact program at the exact institution.

How would you feel? What would you do?

I was at work yesterday when a co-worker told me her brother attended UW and got an Arts degree in Rhetoric and Professional Writing. Before I could say anything, she’d called him up and handed me the phone so I, awkwardly, asked him about the program. He seemed incredibly pessimistic about the whole thing and told me one could not get a job with that degree, and that the material taught was very dated. I was so stunned by what he said that my mind totally blanked and I never asked whether he did co-op, whether he specialised, what he had originally wanted to do with the degree, when he’d graduated (to see if it was a long time ago, but I was told afterwards that he is 28 so it couldn’t have been more than seven years ago), what he has done since graduating, etc.

I found this so surprising because I have a friend in this same major who is in her third year right now, and she told me she loved it. What that guy – who would obviously have more experience with searching for a job than my friend – said has really confused me, though. I don’t know what to do or think. I’m just utterly devastated.
Was this helpful? Yes 0
15 replies
 
A photo of ktel ktel
I think you would probably get a similar response from a lot of students who did English degrees. You have to be very careful in preparing yourself so that you don't end up jobless.
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of napinhei napinhei

@ktel wrote
I think you would probably get a similar response from a lot of students who did English degrees. You have to be very careful in preparing yourself so that you don't end up jobless.



Well, I thought by choosing Rhetoric and Professional Writing -- rather than the English Literature program UW offers -- that I was ensuring I chose something which was much more marketable. I also thought that by adding the Digital Media Specialisation, which would have me taking some computer science, media, and fine art (in digital imaging) courses, would be something that would really benefit me and open me up to a lot of different potential careers. Oh, and I can't forget to mention that I intend to do co-op! I figured that, with the plan I had put together, I was covering important bases and giving myself an edge. I'm wondering now if all that will even make a difference... I literally am not good at anything else except for writing. I'm starting to panic. :(
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous

@ktel wrote
I think you would probably get a similar response from a lot of students who did English degrees. You have to be very careful in preparing yourself so that you don't end up jobless.



It's not just Arts degree's...

You also have to look at all these people graduating with a B.Sc. every year, sure your argument will be that the majority of them want to get into professional school, but how many of them will actually be admitted. Plus, you can say the same thing about people with B.A., a lot of them might want to do Graduate studies or professional schooling but how many will go that far.

When people say Psychology is a useless degree, then I just laugh and tell them that it's meant to prepare you to get into further education.

When it comes down to just getting jobs straight out of undergrad with either a B.A. or B.Sc., not one is better than the other. I've heard many people say that they couldn't find jobs with a Biological Sciences or Physical Sciences undergrad program, I also hear the same for people with B.A.'s in Literature, History, Communications...

So the point of my rant is this, If you're graduating with a B.A. in English, History, or Sociology or if you're graduating with a B.Sc. in Biology, Chemistry, or Physics, don't expect to find amazing employment opportunities with just an undergrad degree.

These kind of degree's should be meant for people who actually know that they'll require further education on top of their Bachelors studies.

Now to OP, you can't expect just with a B.A. to find a lot of jobs, you're going to definitely look into graduate schooling.

Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of napinhei napinhei
[quote=Medic93]
@ktel wrote


Now to OP, you can't expect just with a B.A. to find a lot of jobs, you're going to definitely look into graduate schooling.





Ha, you're just everywhere on here, aren't you, Medic?

Oh, I'm totally aware! I never planned to stop at just a B.A., but, as you said, who knows whether I will manage to get that far... And even then, I had my eyes on UW's Experimental Digital Media M.A. program. If my area of interest is a sinking ship, should I even consider going as far as a Masters?

I was certainly challenged by many people when I shared what I wanted to pursue, but never cared. It was only when someone with experience said it to me that I began to have doubts.
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
[quote=napinhei]
@Medic93 wrote

@ktel wrote


Now to OP, you can't expect just with a B.A. to find a lot of jobs, you're going to definitely look into graduate schooling.





Ha, you're just everywhere on here, aren't you, Medic?

Oh, I'm totally aware! I never planned to stop at just a B.A., but, as you said, who knows whether I will manage to get that far... And even then, I had my eyes on UW's Experimental Digital Media M.A. program. If my area of interest is a sinking ship, should I even consider going as far as a Masters?

I was certainly challenged by many people when I shared what I wanted to pursue, but never cared. It was only when someone with experience said it to me that I began to have doubts.



You should definitely consider doing at least a Masters, make sure the program is applied and instructs practical knowledge.

I'm also worried about not being able to potentially continue onto a Masters then PhD program. Then people will say; "You're stuck with a useless program which many people have a degree in"

When people say that kind of stuff to you, honestly ignore them!

A lot of people with B.A.s are going back to College for Graduate Certificates which give you some practical training, fields like Public Relations are quite popular for English grads.

The harsh truth about today's economy that there is an over saturation of people with Arts, Humanities, or w/e degrees and not enough jobs to employ these people, so they end up working in un-related fields. This happens due to the fact that they don't have the motivation or intentions to continue onto Graduate Studies.

Since today's world is constantly about the latest technological innovations and such, there is a high demand for people with a technical education. The truth is, not everyone cares about becoming an Engineer and doing Calculus and Physics for 8 hours a day while in undergrad LOOL, plus that stuff is boring to begin with (no offense to anyone)

I would never even bother going into Psych if I didn't want to go onto Grad or Professional school.

So my bottom line is, it's smart that you're doing to Digital Media Specialization, you need practical skills to apply your knowledge.





Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of ktel ktel
I think you can expect to get a job with a BA or BSc if you know where and what sort of job. Medic, I know you're trying to be helpful, but you're selling graduate school as the answer to the problem. It's not. Further training isn't going to make it any easier to get a job if you're not preparing yourself or know what you'll do with that training. What is a Master's in English going to get you that a Bachelor's wouldn't? I guess you could get a PhD, but then what? Become a professor? That's a huge challenge in itself.

There are jobs out there. The problem is everybody wants to work in exactly the perfect job and they get very picky. The world still needs janitors, secretaries, etc.
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous

@ktel wrote
I think you can expect to get a job with a BA or BSc if you know where and what sort of job. Medic, I know you're trying to be helpful, but you're selling graduate school as the answer to the problem. It's not. Further training isn't going to make it any easier to get a job if you're not preparing yourself or know what you'll do with that training. What is a Master's in English going to get you that a Bachelor's wouldn't? I guess you could get a PhD, but then what? Become a professor? That's a huge challenge in itself.

There are jobs out there. The problem is everybody wants to work in exactly the perfect job and they get very picky. The world still needs janitors, secretaries, etc.



You're right, I was primarily stating that Graduate school would assist in finding a job, even with a PhD in English or Philosophy, you're looking at mainly becoming a professor (which yes indeed is a whole other challenge)

People should know what they want, I'm fortunate enough to be REALLY specific in terms of what I want to achieve and have back ups if I don't achieve it. The problem these days is a lot of students are looking at things too broadly and aren't focused in any particular areas. The more you narrow things down the better IMO!

I know some brilliant people, but they don't have "life" skills, by that I mean they don't really know how to utilize their knowledge but yet still expect amazing things to happen.

The thing is, If you're going to University, make sure you have a damn good reason for doing so, if you don't then I'd direct people to learning a trade or something!
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of ktel ktel
I don't think you need to necessarily hyper focus either. Because then you're pigeon-holing yourself. Students just need to be aware of the job market and what sort of job they think they could live with. Hell, you might be stuck working retail or some other job that's not your dream, but hey, at least you're working.
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of WhiteNoise WhiteNoise

@napinhei wrote
I literally am not good at anything else except for writing.



Why does this not surprise me?

If only they gave degrees for doing laundry!
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of WhiteNoise WhiteNoise

@napinhei wrote
I was certainly challenged by many people when I shared what I wanted to pursue, but never cared. It was only when someone with experience said it to me that I began to have doubts.



Are you serious? There is voluminous research available regarding employability of different undergrad majors.

This just supports my speculation that arts majors are ignorant/delusional about their opportunities after graduation.

Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of AdJan AdJan
I may get attacked for this.. but:
barely any degrees have strong face values, meaning few employers will offer you a job just cause you have a BSc or a BCom. However, graduate degrees mean a lot in face value.

I feel undergraduate really shows more of your work ethic and effort instead of hardcore knowledge and theory. An example is comparing Schulich BBA compared to Ryerson Business Management. In theory and knowledge, you learn the same thing more or less. But how come Schulich BBA seems so superior to Ryerson Business Management? Because of the work ethic Schulich students have which got them in the program in the first place. However, if a strong and hardworking student goes into the lesser program (Ryerson) I can assure you they can still get a job. It's not the program, but rather the student that gets a job.

P.S. There are lots of jobs available for BAs. Don't let no one tell you otherwise.
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
This post was deleted

 
A photo of stoichiometry stoichiometry
To be honest, with an English degree, the best idea would be to take an additional year or two to get bachelor of education, and become an English teacher. Plus, if the only thing you are good at is writing, then why not teach kids how to write.
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of napinhei napinhei
Listen up, WhiteNoise... Anyone who reads your posts knows you're Quant. I get it. You've got a problem with women, arts majors, the whole world. Sometimes it even seems like you specifically have a problem with me since you gravitate towards every thread I start and post I make just so you can trash me. Regardless... Whatever your mental issues are, take them elsewhere. If you hate my gender, my interests, etc, and you believe that I have no future, then laugh to yourself, be happy in your delusions of grandeur and go look at other threads. No one is forcing you to post here. If you don't like what is going on in this thread, then leave.

In fact, everyone who doesn't like my life decisions can just leave. I honestly don't care or want to hear from anyone who has anything other than constructive criticism, and/or helpful comments. Got it? Excellent. Let us all move on and make the Studentawards Forum a friendly, welcoming environment where people speak politely or do not speak at all.

Good.

Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of WhiteNoise WhiteNoise

@napinhei wrote
Listen up, WhiteNoise... Anyone who reads your posts knows you're Quant. I get it. You've got a problem with women, arts majors, the whole world. Sometimes it even seems like you specifically have a problem with me since you gravitate towards every thread I start and post I make just so you can trash me. Regardless... Whatever your mental issues are, take them elsewhere. If you hate my gender, my interests, etc, and you believe that I have no future, then laugh to yourself, be happy in your delusions of grandeur and go look at other threads. No one is forcing you to post here. If you don't like what is going on in this thread, then leave.

In fact, everyone who doesn't like my life decisions can just leave. I honestly don't care or want to hear from anyone who has anything other than constructive criticism, and/or helpful comments. Got it? Excellent. Let us all move on and make the Studentawards Forum a friendly, welcoming environment where people speak politely or do not speak at all.

Good.





Get a grip, you silly broad.

What did you expect people to say? You posted something that is considered general knowledge - that people with arts degrees have a difficult time finding employment after graduation. You're not looking for "constructive criticism" - you're looking for people to reassure you that your choice to pursue a degree in English was the right one. They didn't, and you threw a hissy fit.

If you want to maximize your chances of finding employment after graduation you have two choices:

1. Opt for a different major;
2. Major in English, but [outside of school] develop a skill relevant to a career in a field in which it is easier to find employment, and master it so that you become an expert.

Choice 1 alone may increase your chances slightly, but probably not significantly. Choice 2 will have an enormous positive impact on your chances.

Or you can always become a housewife.

Either way.
Was this helpful? Yes 0