Reading has always been a passion of mine, yet it never occurred to me to pursue English as a degree until I was well into my sophomore year at Geneseo. I arrived as an undeclared major and explored my options by taking classes in several disciplines before I realized that English was the only class where I truly enjoyed myself. I was fortunate enough to explore Broadway with Tom Greenfield, learn about the African-American experience with Beth McCoy, and immerse myself in Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy with Dr. Herzman. I will never forget how lively Maria Lima's class got or how much fun I had in Creative Writing with Kristen Gentry. I was never happier in the classroom than when I explored 19th century British novels with Paul Schacht and the world of Jane Austen with Celia Easton. The work was challenging and fascinating, and I am deeply grateful to every single professor who contributed to my education.
As for my personal story, I am currently an honors student at the College of Saint Rose where I am pursuing a Master of Science in Adolescent and Special Education, with an English specialization. I have been able to work in several local schools already and, though the work is not easy, it is extremely rewarding. I work as a graduate assistant and a tutor while I pursue the degree.
As I currently tell the high school students that I tutor, English class is all about communication. We learn to speak well and write well; we learn to read and interpret what others say and write. We learn to convey our thoughts intelligently. We can vary the things we say and express ourselves exactly the way we want to. That cannot be said for those who do not engage in reading and writing as frequently as we do.
Some people may look at our degree and fail to see the use. I, however, believe English is one of the stronger degrees to have. Reading and writing with depth and creativity is, I believe, one of the key characteristics of humanity. Studying English at Geneseo has made me a stronger communicator, a better writer, and a good critical thinker. These traits are applicable to any field and extremely desirable. We are flexible and intelligent; this is what employers want.
I recommend students obtain as much job experience as possible. Internships in the fields of your choice are key. It's not just the education that you need, but the connections and work experience that you have. Good luck, and enjoy your time at Geneseo.