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Loser With A Liberal Arts Degree


LosingMyReligion
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This spring is my final semester in college. All I need is a P.E. class. I'm glad because I am sick and tired of school...

 

However, my degree is in English(with a minor in Creative writing). I don't want to be a teacher so I'm pretty much screwed.

 

The only reason I went to college is because they offered an English degree. English is the only subject that I love, and I write poetry and short stories. However, there is nothing in I can do with this degree and I'm scared.

 

Plus, I owe around 4,000 dollars in student loans. So I'll probably have to live at home for another year before I pay it off...

 

Sometimes I think college was a waste of time. Some of my friends are highschool drop outs and have thriving careers already. :scratch:

 

Well, atleast it will look good on my resume. :shrug:

 

I just needed to rant. Any advice would be helpful though.

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Is there can way you can use your writing abilities in career -- like journalism? It's not poetry or short stories, but it can be the work that supports your art.

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I was thinking of that. But it is hard trying to make it as a freelance writer nowadays.

 

I'd love to get a job as newspaper columnists or something. I once worked as an editor of a newspaper...I liked it too...

 

hmmm, maybe....

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What about technical writing? Yeah, I know it's not creative, but it might pay the bills until you can find something you like better. Also, what about the advertising industry? There are a lot of advertising/public relations jobs where writing is a focus.

 

Also, I got a degree in marketing but could not find a job in the field because I hate doing sales. However, I've found a lot of jobs doing administrative support. So you don't necessarily need to get a job in your degree field either. And keep in mind that lots of companies value people with good communications skills. Writing is a valuable skill to have.

 

I personally do creative writing in my spare time because I wouldn't be able to pay the rent doing it. I hope that someday I will be able to get a novel published, though.

 

I did go back later and get an AAS in computer programming by taking night classes, and I've done some web development professionally with it. So you might want to keep that in mind -- you can always get another degree later.

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Yeah, right now I am all about making a living. My writing is a total hobby(that I LOVE)at this point.

 

I might go work full-time at a department store or something...Maybe some administrative work. Before I become the next J.K. Rowling...heh.

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Yeah, right now I am all about making a living. My writing is a total hobby(that I LOVE)right now.

 

I might go work full-time at a department store or something...Maybe some administrative work. Before I become the next J.K. Rowling...heh.

 

Heh. Good luck on becoming the next J.K. Rowling.

 

Do you know about Nanowrimo? I'm doing it this year. I started a thread in Totally Off Topic about it.

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Yeah, right now I am all about making a living. My writing is a total hobby(that I LOVE)at this point.

 

I might go work full-time at a department store or something...Maybe some administrative work. Before I become the next J.K. Rowling...heh.

 

Well then, do what I did in go find a job you like but might not love, and keep boosting your skills. Amathyst has some great suggestions. I work two jobs, one as a temporary at a company that does digital forensics for lawyers, but I'm also a freelance writer and artist. While you're right, the money isn't consistent with freelancing, that's not the point. If you want to become an author, get some publishing under your belt if you can. It looks a lot more impressive on a cover letter. Do this and build contacts, and it WILL lead to columns, editing, books, and whatever you want in life. I've had several publishers approach me wanting to talk to me about doing comics professionally or writing books (which I'm not ready for yet).

 

The trick to success in anything is not to give up. Failure is part of the process, but it's not personal. It only becomes personal when you quit.

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LMR,

 

You are not screwed and you did not waste your time. All you need to do is take some Professional Writting courses at some college. You need technical writing and editing classes.

 

With that under your belt people will be fighting over your services. READ MY LIPS.

 

Most Liberal Arts graduates I know go into writing and editing. Here is one liberal arts graduate. Read about her. She is great.

 

Or you could go into Technical Writing. A couple of courses will do. You don't have to write manuals on computers. You can write instructions on just about anything and get paid the big bucks.

 

If you and another technical writer apply for a job, you have great chances of getting it, because of your English degree. That will be your banner from now on.

 

Cheer up and create a career for yourself my friend--there is a lot you could do other than freelance magazine writing, which you could do on the side.

 

Promise me we will still be friends when you are rich and famous.

 

P.S. You can also take courses on Report and Propossal writing, a lot of money there because you will be working for Big Corporate America.

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Guest stinky-tofu

I've heard that there's decent market for technical writers, e.g., writing software documentation, medical instruction manuals, etc. As a scientist, I can tell you that a good technical editor is needed for any technical publications.

 

Let's see, there's the video gaming industry that needs people to write dialog and story lines.

 

Almost every organization will need someone who can help them communicate better, whether it be internally, with the public, with customers, etc.

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Guest Thoth-Amon

This spring is my final semester in college. All I need is a P.E. class. I'm glad because I am sick and tired of school...

 

However, my degree is in English(with a minor in Creative writing). I don't want to be a teacher so I'm pretty much screwed.

 

The only reason I went to college is because they offered an English degree. English is the only subject that I love, and I write poetry and short stories. However, there is nothing in I can do with this degree and I'm scared.

 

Plus, I owe around 4,000 dollars in student loans. So I'll probably have to live at home for another year before I pay it off...

 

Sometimes I think college was a waste of time. Some of my friends are highschool drop outs and have thriving careers already. :scratch:

 

Well, atleast it will look good on my resume. :shrug:

 

I just needed to rant. Any advice would be helpful though.

 

HAHA... join the club. I got my degree in Music and realized I couldn't do anything with it... so I'm going back to school for healthcare.

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However, my degree is in English(with a minor in Creative writing). I don't want to be a teacher so I'm pretty much screwed.

 

Oh, my non-existent god, it's me, twenty years ago!

And, as a favor, I won't tell you about my, ahem, "career".

Good luck. (History doesn't necessarily repeat)

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The only reason I went to college is because they offered an English degree. English is the only subject that I love, and I write poetry and short stories. However, there is nothing in I can do with this degree and I'm scared.

 

What??

 

Hey, LMR...there have already been some encouraging replies to your posts, and I would add another one. Don't think that because you majored in English that that narrows your field. There are lots of positions that involve a college degree as minimal qualification, but the major isn't the critical factor. A lot of employers rather look for entry level employees whose educations are well-rounded, with other positives such as the outside activities you've been involved in. They want people who can think outside the box, and they would know that an English major with creative writing can think.

 

If you were to take a poll, you would probably find a lot of near-graduates with anxieties over where they'll end up in the job market. So don't think you're alone in that, and don't be discouraged.

 

"Arise, go forth, and conquer..." (Tennyson)

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Don't give up hope yet.

 

I'm not in such a good position myself. I graduate with my college diploma in a few months and I lack in a lot of experience in diverse fields. The only types of job experiences that I've had were service types. The rest were independent ways of making profit (no, not drug dealing or anything illegal).

 

I'm not planning on looking for experience anytime soon, unless I can use the weekend for part-time volunteering. I'm too busy with college work and the weekend is the only time I have room for breathing. I'm not good at keeping an organized schedule too.

 

I think the best you can do is look for experience. I don't know what else to say. Maybe once you're able to pay off the student loans and get back in order, you can consider either learning something else or dropping off resumes everywhere and crossing your fingers that you'll be employed somewhere closer to your circle of interest. I really don't know =(

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Whatever else you decide to do, don't give up on the idea of freelancing. Submit your stuff. Get it out there to the publishers, the journals, anywhere that's appropriate.

 

And yes, a degree does look good on a resumé. Even if you ultimately wind up working in a completely unrelated area, the diploma proves that you can tackle long-term projects.

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Listen to Amethyst, technical writing. I was earning almost $80k a year in DC as a tech writer. The best locations for getting a high salary in this field are DC, NJ, NC, TX, and CA. If you're not willing to relocate you are going to have a tougher time of it.

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I think I'm going to a foreign country to teach English. I think that would be cool too.

 

Very cool! Let us know what comes of it, okay?

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Hey, Fellow Liberal Arts Diploma Holder!

 

You are not screwed. You followed what you loved! I studied History, took a WholeLottaHeat from my friends and family for "wasting my time" and "not building my money making skills." They were right about one thing: the moola did not come immediately. It took time. But I told them, basically, to stick it, because I knew that I couldn't make it through university studying something I just wasn't interested in. I was young, somewhat idealistic, and figured my whole life doesn't depend on two or three dozen class choices before I turn 21.

 

I remember a well meaning but sorta clueless family member suggesting I go to air traffic control school (this was just when Reagan fired all of the unionized ATCs) instead of studying History. WTF?! If any of you knew me, you'd know that I really am WAAAAAAAAY too scattered and high strung to be able to handle a job like that. I only mention this to underscore that no one knows you as well as you know yourself. Even close friends and family members will project their own desires, goals and life disapointments onto a conversation with you about "your future." Best to leave others out of the equation and go with your gut. ;)

 

When I was 30 I started working for lawyers, and it has been a great career. The salary is certainly adequate for me to maintain my independence and comfort, and I am appreciated for being literate, well spoken and able to think rationally. Many lawyers studied either History, English or Political Science before going to law school, so intellectually I fit into their world.

 

The hard part of entering the job market out of university is that not all careers start off in the upper 70Ks or even 100k. It means scrapping by with roommates and entry level jobs for at least 10 years. That's the reality for most of us. The quick buck just isn't there for most people. But a rewarding work life is not all about money...unless of course that is something you really want.

 

I'm just not that ambitious or greedy. But it's turned out good for me by following my interests and making good life choices. And being patient.

 

You are lucky to only have $4K in school loans. My sister and nephew are saddled in the mid-$50ks in debt because they wanted to go to private universities, not public ones. :twitch:

 

Take care ... I'm sure you'll do great! :grin:

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I think I'm going to a foreign country to teach English. I think that would be cool too.

 

Even more fun and fulfilling. PM me if you want some insight or pointers. I did a stint in Italy in the late 90s. I think Hui Dan is doing this in China now, so he would probably be a great one to hit up for advice.

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What (if any) kind of qualifications does a person need to do this? As I'm sure you rather well know, I'm pretty keen on the idea of getting out the U.S. and experiencing other cultures, and given my skill with the English language (one of the few, possibly the only marketable skill I currently possess) I think this could be a great way to do that.

 

In relation to the thread topic, I second Curtdude's advice. "Success" has an awful lot to do with individual expectations. There's a lot to be said for living comfortably doing what you love as opposed to living extravagantly doing something you hate.

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There's a lot to be said for living comfortably doing what you love as opposed to living extravagantly doing something you hate.

 

AMEN! *looks around* Are we allowed to say that here? *looks worried* Or is that like sayin darn in church???

 

Normal voice.

 

This has been such an encouraging thread for me. I not only sunk all I had into a liberal arts degree, I went on to do more of the same. Religious studies. Theology. I love what I'm doing--except for the sinking-into-debt part of it.

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

****************************

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

:woohoo:

This was supposed to be two separate posts but apparently the software program didn't realize that and I'm not sure how to inform it so here we go:

 

What (if any) kind of qualifications does a person need to do this? As I'm sure you rather well know, I'm pretty keen on the idea of getting out the U.S. and experiencing other cultures, and given my skill with the English language (one of the few, possibly the only marketable skill I currently possess) I think this could be a great way to do that.

 

Are you looking at a paying position or volunteer work? I don't know but I'm thinking there might be a difference regarding qualifications. The ones I'm most familiar with are religious organizations such as missionary or in some way connected with a Christian church. I know the Catholics and Mennonites do lots of humanitarian work but right now I would have to be pretty desperate to take a position with a religious organization.

 

I think there are secular organizations, too, but I don't know too much about them. Maybe someone else has more info.

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Woody, it just depends, but the truth of the matter is that it's much easier to get a job in this field than detractors are sure to warn you as you pursue it.

 

Many countries claim to require a college degree and a TEFL certification as a minimum requirement. The truth is, however, that most will take you at your word if you tell them you have these qualifications. It's not like it's easy for a school abroad to figure out how to check your references, so if you show some hubrous and lie, you will get away with it 95% of the time.

 

I got a TEFL cert before I taught in Italy. I didn't need it. It was a waste of $2000, plus another $2000 for living expenses in SF to get it. I was hired on the spot at the first agency that I interviewed with. I've talked with many others who had the same experience.

 

My buddy here in St Pete is now teaching for 4 seperate agencies and has more work than he can handle. Jobs are plentiful in many regions and native speakers are hard to come by.

 

One thing that is almost certain: you will have a hard time getting hired without going abroad and knocking on doors. Unless you already have solid qualifications, you are going to have a hard time getting hired over the internet. Not to worry, if you do your research and move to a country where demand is strong, you will be hired right away and will likely make more money than the locals make, offering you a comfortable living. It takes some cajones to just pick up and move overseas, but it's not as scary as it might seem. Just pretend you are on vacation.

 

One more note (sorry this is so disorganized): don't worry about getting work permits in most countries. Each country is different, but you will learn what you need to do from your school once you arrive. It's usually much easier than the official terms are reported. For example, in Italy, you are told you need all types of permissions. Forget it, go their with your passport and forget about everything else. Your school will tell you where to get your tax number (codice fiscale), which is free and takes about 5 minutes to get. After that, you don't need anything despite what their Embassy's website might say. Here in Russia you just pay $400 for a one year business visa and you are good to go. Countries like France and Germany and Japan are going to be tougher. Forget about those types of countries. There are plenty of other countries without the hassle.

 

One more note, choose a place where there are not already tons of expats. You are not going to get a job teaching English in Rio, Florence, Rome, Prague, etc. There are just too many Brits, Ausies, Americans, and Canadians living in those places. You need to pick cities that are not expat destinations, otherwise you have too many teachers to compete with.

 

Check out Dave's Cafe online for more info.

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