What’re You Gonna Do With That?

When I tell my friends and family that I am in graduate school attempting to get my Master’s Degree in English, without fail, they always ask, “What’re you gonna do with that?” After getting asked this question nearly once a week since I’ve started the program, I have concocted myself a little script: “I plan on going into the publishing and editing world, and I hope to work with books, magazines, and newspapers. But I know these jobs are few and far between so we will just see where life takes me.”

I realize that I am not the only English Grad student getting bombarded by this same question. Out of curiosity, I asked some of my classmates what their scripted responses were, and this is how they responded:

Julie K

Julianne Kaiser –“Well, either I keep going to school for another decade and finally become a college professor or I become the most overqualified barista you’ve ever met. Do you want whip on your Frappuccino?”

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Brittany Barrie- “Anything I want! The extraordinary thing about a Master’s in English is that it does not commit you to any one particular career path. The critical thinking skills we learn from in English allow us to venture into a multitude of professional fields well equipped for success. The age-old notion that we are all studying to be teachers is false. Yes, some of us seek to educate future generations, but many of us have desires which guide us elsewhere. Personally, I’ve considered positions in publishing, editing, and University student services, but I’m not limited by these options. There’s a whole world of possibilities in front of me, and I plan to explore them all.”

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Rayvon Shelton- “I am looking to begin my own magazine as well as become a prolific author. I’d like to start a magazine for African American males that will be progressive in nature and a resource for them to establish and reach their goals whether they are academic or professional. Moreover, I am looking to become an author  will write stories of mystery and such.”


Elena Moran-Cortez – “When I graduate with my MA in English, I plan to apply to colleges and universities in order to teach English composition courses.  If this does not go well, I will use my undergraduate degree in Secondary English Education in order to apply to high schools to teach English.  So essentially I plan on teaching at some level, secondary or higher, with my master’s degree.”