One of my best friends here at West Chester University is an English literature major, and if there is one question that has become the bane of her existence, it’s, “What are you going to do with that degree?”
As a communication studies major, I sometimes also run into questions like this, as I am positive a lot of students in the humanities do.
So what can undergraduate students in humanities here at WCU, specifically in the English department, do to combat these questions?
The first step is gathering all of the information you can about extracurricular activities and internships.
I recently sat down with Dr. Eleanor Shevlin to talk about the opportunities available for the latter topic.
Dr. Shevlin, who is the English department’s internship coordinator, was able to give me a lot of information about how to apply for English internships.
Dr. Shevlin also shared with me some of the success stories of past and current West Chester students.
She informed me that having an internship during college is vitally important to a student.
Not only can it help you gain experience in a possible future field, but an internship can help you make connections, show how your knowledge gained in the classroom is applicable to the real world, and even expose you to the “do’s and don’ts” within the job market.
I got to learn about some of Dr. Shevlin’s students, both past and current, who have amazing internship stories.
English students at West Chester have interned at local establishments like the Chester County Art Association and County Lines Magazine.
Many have interned at more prominent establishments like the Warner Music Group and even Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
Stephanie Loeh, a recent English student graduate of WCU, had nothing but positive things to say about how the English program helped her get where she wanted to go post-graduation.
“WCU’s English program truly does prepare students, like myself, for the ‘real world.’”
It’s that kind of “real world” experience that not only English majors, but all college students need before going out into the workforce.
According to a study done by the Chronicle of Higher Education and American Public Media’s Marketplace, employers consider internships to be the most heavily weighted attribute for a college student.
An employer wants to know that they will be hiring someone who knows the job, both from a student’s and a professional’s standpoint.
Internships during college can offer this to students and give them a leg up on competing candidates.
So, if you’re an English major here at WCU, check out the pantheon of opportunities for internships.
Dr. Shevlin is a great professor to get to know and start the process with.
She can help point you in the right direction and key you in on future information sessions.
Typically, students get internships during their junior or senior years. There are rules that have to do with the amount of credits needed in order to start thr process.
But if you’re like me and not an English major, there’s no need to fret.
Check out our school’s website or strike up a conversation with your advisor to get the ball rolling.
It’s never too early to start asking questions and gather ideas.
Rachel Alfiero is a third-year student majoring in communications with a minor in Latin American studies. She can be reached at RA806657@wcupa.edu. Her Twitter is @alfieroperson.