Valerie Boyd, a writer in residence at Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, reads an excerpt from The Color Purple, during the Banned Book Bash on Thursday, September 27, 2018, at Avid Bookshop on Prince Avenue in Athens, Georgia. The Georgia ACLU hosted the event. (Photo/Christina R. Matacotta, crmatacotta@gmail.com)

The University of Georgia is better known for Terry College of Business and the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Robert E. Park Hall serves as the safe hub for English majors among campus. Our safe hub is often overlooked as a vital part of the university — but our voices are more diverse than you may think.

The humanities, in general, have 10 departments and 25 degrees  departments in the university, with over 2,000 students enrolled. Haley Luther, a senior English major enjoys the versatility of the degree.

“Writing is so important. In business, in advertising, all of it,” Luther said.

Professors in the English department, such as Barbara McCaskill, Christopher Pizzino and Susan Rosenberg, constantly remind us that we are developing skills to be analytical, to problem solve, to be observant and charismatic. DataUSA has created a diagram that shows what skills English majors can obtain in their academic careers, ranging from the obvious of reading comprehension to negotiation and complex problem solving.

Luther also confirm such growth with her own experience.

”Having an English degree isn’t about just being well-written,” Luther said. “It’s also about building analytical skills and deciphering true meaning in subtext. A lot of people use English as a pre-law or pre-med degree.”

It’s surprising really how many successful people are credited with a B.A. in English —  awarding-winning novelists,film makers, businessmen, broadcasters, comedians and politicians on both sides of the aisle. Barbara Walters, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Steven Spielberg, John Mulaney, Sting and Mitt Romney are all high profile examples of successful people with English degrees. This degree proves it’s vast opportunities — we are not limited to teachers, writers or tutors.

We do more than just reading Jane Austen for the 100th time and writing endless essays. We developed the skills to communicate, persuade, complex problem solving and social perceptiveness. I feel people don’t understand this when they think of English degrees. Employers tend to overlook the advantages we bring to a job and universities could do a better job in promoting their English department.

Even UGA forgets the importance of its English majors. Terry and Grady have state of the art buildings and resources whereas Park Hall doesn’t even have clean chalkboards. The building’s desks are still from the 70’s (which is about as comfortable as you think). We learn how to critique on an academic level, we learn to debate, and analyze — but our facilities do not reflect our high-quality education.

English majors can make our way into any profession if we put our minds to it. It’s time everyone knows exactly what we are capable of accomplishing.

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