Arts & Humanities
Bachelor of Arts in English with a Literature Concentration
Writing Consultant and Writing Studio Facilitator
Emily Bennett earned a Bachelor of Arts in English with a literature concentration from the University of Houston in 2011. With her educational background, passion for language and literature, and desire to help others accurately convey their thoughts through the written word, she quickly obtained a position as a writing consultant and writing studio facilitator at a tier-one university. In addition, she holds a position as the Administrative Assistant to the Director of Writing in the Disciplines. Not only does Bennett find working with students extremely rewarding, but she also enjoys being in an academic environment that continually sharpens her own writing skills and contributes to her professional growth.
Why did you choose to major in English?
I chose the English major simply because I enjoy the subject matter. Large amounts of reading and writing are customary with the English major (as with most majors), so I wanted that time and effort spent in a subject I found stimulating.
What did you like/dislike about majoring in English?
Initially, I disliked the amount of work required. For example, one of my classes included six large novels, textbook readings, online discussion posts, and three essays of at least ten pages each — I was overwhelmed to say the least. The difficulty of the course forced me to improve out of necessity, and that has been what Iíve liked most about the major. I learned to read even more quickly and thoroughly, record relevant notes, and utilize the drafting process for effective essays. Essentially, it did what a successful college education is supposed to do — prepare you for your career.
How has your major impacted your career or influenced your career path?
Everyone will tell you that your English major is useless, but that is not true. Yes, in my experience, teaching is the most direct path to employment, but you do have other options. There are many facets to the field of education, not to mention opportunities in editing, communications, and writing — creative, marketing, technical — the list goes on and on.
The English major influenced me to enter education because I wanted to continue my involvement in the discipline. By assisting students, I remain near the academic environment, which encourages continual learning, questioning, revision, and communication. My work with students has to be dynamic because different students have different needs. Thus, I feel my work in the field requires that I continually refine my skills, and I like that.
What knowledge/skills did you obtain from majoring in English that you put to use in your current position?
I work as a writing consultant and writing studio facilitator for college students from all disciplines, both undergraduate and graduate. My experience with the English major is the cornerstone of my professional work. I share my knowledge and skills concerning effective writing with my students, and I identify with their struggles as writers and as students. I often find myself asking them the same leading questions my senior thesis director would ask of me, like, “Why is this claim important? To whom is it important? What role does it play in the larger discourse surrounding this topic?” To be the student and then the tutor is an interesting change, but my experience has equipped me to communicate with and, hopefully, encourage the improvements my students seek.
What advice would you give to students thinking about majoring in English?
Consider the career you truly wish to pursue — if the English major will equip you for that occupational direction, then you should choose it. I basically advise all students to pursue their degrees and careers as specifically as possible, which I understand is easier said than done. The English major will improve your overall communication skills, both written and oral. Effective communication is useful to every part of your life: relationally, professionally, etc. Still, if the English major does not qualify you for the occupation of your choosing, you should choose instead to focus on the most applicable major and be sure to take extra writing courses.
If you can afford to take writing courses, in addition to those required for your degree, I highly recommend it. Also, if your institution offers free tutorial or writing center services you should use them. No one is so talented as to neglect free help.