What do you do with a BA in English?

Lately, perhaps spurred by rewatching season one of Teen Mom (Gary and Amber could make anyone feel better about their relationship) and seeing all the online classes they withdrew from, I’ve been severely jonesing to further my education.

I never finished my degree. High school, yes. Further education…nah.

It embarrasses me that I don’t have a degree.

Everyone else was hitting the books, and I had babies.

I like my babies more than a BA, no doubt. But a part of me feels like kind of a loser. Less of a person.

I’ve been looking into degree programs and online classes. I filed my FAFSA today (even though actually applying to school takes money that I’m not sure we have) and it felt kind of surreal. Still does.

I don’t know what I want to pursue. I could focus on English and have a worthless degree that got stage time in Avenue Q, or I could do Psychology and have a degree that is useless without even more degrees. I could be sensible and do something like Business Administration or Paralegal.

Perhaps this is why I was no good at college – because I get overwhelmed by all the choices. I know it’s why I’m no good at any sort of design or styling…because I LIKE IT ALL.

I feel like I’m standing on the edge looking forward at a life I could have, but I’m really nervous to take it. I mean, I can’t fail at college a third time.

Oh yeah – I went back to school after Max was born. I didn’t last a semester. Probably because my dumb ass was majoring in Theatre.

Seriously, what the hell was I thinking?

I just really want to stop feeling subpar. At the risk of sounding cocky, I know I’m not dumb. I know I could do great things if I had the drive. And there, that? See? The drive? I sound like an ass. Since when is it okay to laze around and not pursue goals just because I don’t feel “driven?”

Not that I laze around. I didn’t mean it like that.

Hi, I’m Emily. Have I mentioned my kids? Lazing is not part of the drill.

I’m tired of being embarrassed of how little I’ve accomplished. Yeah I know, my kids are accomplishments and I’m not denying that – my kids are the greatest thing I’ve ever done. It’s just that I want to be proud of me and not just them.

Does that make sense?



10 thoughts on “What do you do with a BA in English?

  1. Have you looked into auditing courses online? I’ve known of some reputable schools offering such. You wouldn’t get the classroom interaction, but it’d be a pretty cheap deal with no big (financial) commitment.

      • It is totally worth it if you will feel a sense of accomplishment. However, I have a BA in English and most of the things I’ve accomplished have not been a product of that degree at all. Just sayin’.

  2. Okay… yeah. I finally found the little balloon you are supposed to press when you want to comment on a specific blog. So, all the stuff I said in the contact me message was supposed to go here. Anyway… I agree largely with KB.

    • Thank you for reading and commenting. Lots of folks tell me they read but mostly they stay quiet.

      I realize that I may be giving far too much credit to actually having a degree. I’m absolutely romanticizing it a fair bit.

      Money obviously comes into the equation. I am putting a lot of stock in the thinking that if I have a degree, I’ll be more likely to find work. Aside from growing a penis, that’s pretty much my best bet at making a living.

      And as for writing a novel…I’m working on it. It’s discouraging, but I’m doing it.

  3. Here’s my story: I have a B.A. in English. I’ve used it for nothing. I feel like I slipped in just under the line where you can have a useless degree and still get a good job. If I were to do it today, I’d go the practical route. Whatever that would be. Tremendously helpful, right?

  4. BA in English here because English is what I love and my mom was an English teacher… I knew grad school was in my future (Library Science) so I figured why not get the degree in what I love? Oh and I started grad school when Ian was 8 months old. School with babies is hard. Good luck with that this go-round!

    Interestingly enough my husband has a degree in psychology. Whenever I ask him psych-related questions he doesn’t have answers. Whenever I ask him what he studied in college he doesn’t have answers. I know he earned good grades, wasn’t a party guy, and attended classes. I have no idea what he did in college! He’s been working for a small automotive publisher since graduation, 10+ years now. At least English plays out really well in a library!!!

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