What Are You Doing with That Degree?

Category:  Opinions
Wednesday, February 17th, 2016 at 7:09 PM

What are you doing with that degree?

Honestly, after spending so much time and money on it, I was considering eating it. I get asked this question more often than I’d care to admit. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me that, I’d have enough money to pay for said degree. I’m an English major. I’ve wanted to be an English major since the ninth grade. It’s always been part of me, before I was an adult, and as an adult, it’s become a bigger part of my life than I ever imagined it could.

But what am I going to do with the degree? I’m going to cherish it, first of all, because as I said, this is what I’ve wanted since the ninth grade. Job wise? I’m not sure yet. I could work for a newspaper, or an advertising company, or even teach, if I wanted to. The only issue I’m finding with that is, how many people with English degrees actually teach?

Edinboro has a pretty hefty English program. I could probably use both hands to list English professors, and then still have some left I don’t personally know. I like the English Department, truly, I do. I’ve met some wonderful students who’ve helped me break through in areas I never thought I could (thanks, Em), and I’ve met professors who have flat out told me not only do they expect better, but I am capable of better. There are some wonderful people in my department.

But, then again, there are some not so wonderful people. I’ve heard horror stories about some professors. Absolute horror stories. Professors who have no real interest in the subjects they teach, or their students, and are only in it for the paycheck.

It will never fail to amaze me when I walk into a classroom and find out my professors aren’t passionate about their subject or their students. Why does one go into a teaching career if they don’t like teaching? Why teach if you don’t like students? What is the point? Perhaps they were passionate about it once, but not anymore.

And then there are professors that I absolutely love as people, but not so much as professors. I could sit and have conversations with them for hours, but I can’t stand to sit in a classroom with them. They’re talking, but I won’t be learning. The words will be empty, like they’re simply reading off a slideshow. I can’t learn like that; I don’t actually think many people can. I want my professors to be engaging, I want them to be as excited to teach me things as I am to learn it.

But they’re not.

I want to know why Edinboro has such a phenomenal English program, as it’s outstanding, really. Yet we have professors who don’t want to teach, students who have no interest in their majors, and no graduate programs. Something has to give. It’s unacceptable to expect to inspire students when nobody else is inspired. I’m in this program because I want to spend the rest of my life doing what I love, but I have never been so discouraged as I am when I see professors who don’t love it, too.

To the decent English professors at EU, thank you. To the not so decent ones, something really must be done. To all the English professors at Edinboro University, remember what your job is. It isn’t the money that’s important, it’s the students.

I know what I’m going to do with my degree, but what are you doing with the one you already have?

Melanie Overturf is a Staff Writer for The Spectator.

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