An English student’s open letter to Dad

Illustration by Miles Huffman

Hi, dad. It’s me, your democrat-voting, organic food-eating, cat-adopting, English student child. I just wrote a 10 page paper on the imagery of Langston Hughes’ poetry. Later, I’ll be reading Virginia Woolf and discussing feminist themes in “A Room of One’s Own.” How are you?

Calm down, calm down. Before you ask, “So what are you going to do with that?” Let me assure you that this education has me poised to succeed in any field that requires critical thinking, creative problem-solving, research, and effective writing. So, practically everything.

These are the skills my English education has equipped me with, and believe me, they are highly valued by future employers. Matter of fact, these skills are what make me and my peers heavily sought after in the job market.

Sure, I’m not studying Health Technologies or Computer Systems Analysis (both great fields, no judgement here). And yes, I probably won’t make any money as a writer.

But the one thing to keep in mind is that this liberal arts education is more than diction and similes. It’s taught me the creativity and critical thinking skills any company expects from its employees.

My future career probably won’t involve villanelles and haibuns, but when an employer needs a product to appeal to consumers, or a written report needs to capture every aspect of an organization’s services to bring in clients, chances are they’re going to be looking at the guy with the English degree.

Especially in this fast paced, technology-driven economy, organizations need employees that can adapt to and present new ideas. That’s why companies are looking to me and my nerd friends to join their teams, believe it or not. Our workforce needs leaders that are great communicators and culturally aware, characteristics that are inherent with English education.

When systems change, markets shut down, and clientele disappear, companies need creative employees the most. That’s where I come in.

So, Dad, don’t worry too much about me. I’m accumulating some skills that are going to open plenty of doors for me in the future. No matter what line of work I enter, I’ll be prepared to succeed.

Please send money.

Your child,

An English student

Dylan de Wit can be reached at [email protected] or @DylanTdeWit on Twitter.