Known from the Broadway musical ‘Avenue Q’ song “What do you do with a BA in English”, getting a degree in English sounds like a punch line to the general public. People ask, “What kind of career can you get with that?” According to the Purdue University North Central’s spring 2015 class, English 42001: Careers in English, led by Dr. Fielding and Dr. Lee, the possibilities can be endless.
Signing up to the class required talking to both the academic adviser and Heather Fielding. It was necessary to do prerequisite work – to guarantee an internship for the spring semester. Dr. Fielding and her students worked hard to achieve internship interviews in fall 2014. We learned how to look for internship opportunities by looking at our own talents and interests in an English-related field. We were thrown into the job search and interview experience before the class even started. I signed up for this class because it proved to me a sign of hope that you can get a job from having a bachelor’s degree in English. You just have to know the avenues on how to do the job searching, learning the job environment, and how to position yourself. I learned this and more.
Aaron Ratigan, fellow classmate, stated, “I’m very appreciative of this class and the facility's efforts to ensure students receive experience they can use in the real world."
This class was not like any college class I had taken before. Not only did it help me get job experience, it provided extremely valuable information to those wanting to go into the job search for English related jobs such as: writing, teaching, journalism, marketing, social media coordinating, or law school. The class was hybrid, where most of the class was spent off campus at the internship. In January, before the internship started, there were classes twice a week. These class meetings discussed tools to job searching, market expectations, professionalism, and graduate school. English graduate guests also came in and talked about their job and grad school experiences.
One key aspect of this class was learning how to write cover letters and resumes. We workshopped and revised our own cover letters and resumes with the teachers and our peers. We all received thorough feedback. This experience proved to be very beneficial for when I started marketing myself in the job market. At the end of the class and internship, the students will make a professional portfolio with sample work from their internship. I would not know where else to go to get specific knowledge or strategy in making a cover letter and resume for a writing or English-related field. This class was the only place I could get it.
I would recommend this class to anyone who has a passion in writing or the arts and wants to learn ways to use that passion for their career. This class can help you see many opportunities for a brighter future. I know that the information I learned in this class I will use for many years to come.
I feel that because I took this class, entering the work force will be easier and I will be more effective knowing how things might go. This class has helped me get my foot in the door.
Dr. Heather Fielding, the class teacher, stated, “We’ve been working on this class for several years and it’s our responsibility to get students from the classroom to their careers, and that transition is harder for English majors than nursing majors. But at the same time, an English major can go out and do anything depending on just a matter on the possibilities, what you’re good at, and how to position yourself to where you want to go.”
This class helps English majors find their passion, figure out how one can use that passion in a job, and helps get that valuable job experience for a better chance of getting employed. It is both easy and hard and we get some guidance.
This class not only helps the students with work experience but also helps the organizations around the area who are mostly non-profit and have only volunteers to help keep it running. Some of the for-profit and non-profit organizations the class internships at include: The Times of Northwest Indiana, Slam Camp, Independent Cat Society, La Porte County Historical Society Museum, Festival Players Guild, Pickleball Cellar, Indiana Writers’ Consortium, La Porte Symphony Orchestra, SMDG, Ideas in Motion Media, and Ivy Tech.
Dr. Fielding spent a lot of hard work to get this class up and running. I have always had a wonderful experience working with her. She will help you problem solve and generate ideas. She always has time to help you with something. Things just seem to go smoothly when Dr. Fielding is in charge. When she says she will do something, she does it. I know that while working with Dr. Fielding, if there is a problem, she will help solve it right away. She is an inspiration. She takes her job seriously and does her best to help her students.
She also provides excellent and detailed feedback on papers, resumes, and cover letters. Be sure to do the work she assigns you. She takes the most mundane learning assignments, such as the structure of an academic paper, and makes the involvement of educating feel like you are experiencing a ride on a roller coaster. With her sparking enthusiasm, she makes all classes fun and exciting.
The Careers in English class will be offered at Purdue University North Central every spring semester.