Alumni Talk Post-Grad Opportunities for English Majors

Crystal Simmons, Staff Writer

College can be a very confusing time for many students as they work to figure out what they want to pursue after graduation. Some walk amongst campus with a clear vision or even a realm of where they want to take their careers. Others may be in a major that someone told them they should take, or may know that they belong there, but do not quite know what they should do with their degree once they complete it.

Aside from exploring the Career Center and doing copious amounts of research on jobs related to a specific major, students also have another resource to help them decide what steps they can take. One of the ways to figure out where their passions really lie is by speaking to someone who has walked in their shoes and been at the same crossroads. On Thursday evening, the Career Center hosted an intimate gathering on the fourth floor of the D ‘Angelo Center for “English Career Night.” Current students and alumni of the English department were able to connect over food and similar experiences that the Alumni could help students navigate.

A common question being answered throughout the night was how the experience as an English major helped the alumni in the positions that they currently were in now. Most of the time when one thinks of the English major, they automatically assume the career path is becoming a teacher and nothing else. However, as each alumni shared their experience during brief introductions, they made it clear that the transferrable skills they gained as English majors, like critical thinking and being able to analyze large texts in small amounts of time, have helped them in their positions today. The alumni panel ranged from various professions and companies such as Audible, POPSUGAR, The Wendy Williams Show and Harper-Collins. Some even shared helpful tips about internships students should pursue and how learning from these experiences can help move them into new directions.

Assistant Beauty Editor and Alumni Tembe Denton-Hurst shared how her experience with various pieces of literature at St. John’s helped her to develop her voice and her thinking around various aspects of her identity and the awareness of others. As a former student leader, could recount how she was able to use her experience with different literature from her classes here at St. John’s to influence how she navigated different groups with varying political philosophies. “It really made me ask the question ‘who are you reading?’” Denton-Hurst said.

The relatability of the advice from St. John’s Alumni stuck with students as the conversations came to a lulling end. Senior English major Paige O’Donnell  who also had an extended conversation with Denton-Hurst, found the knowledge she gained from career night to be very insightful. “I asked a lot of people they came to be at the place in their lives,” O’Donnell said. Many of them told her that things were stressful, and nothing seemed to be going right but they eventually fell into place.

“The one thing I could walk away with knowing is that [you know] eventually even though I had no idea what I’m doing and no idea where my life is going hopefully it would fall into place. So, I’m pretty confident now.”

For many students, this event was an eye opener for where they could go and how they could apply their passions to a variety of different career paths.