Campus News

Professors Give Tips for Undergrads: Literature and Language Department

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MISHAWAKA—Many students decide to go for an undergrad after they graduate. Bethel offers some excellent undergraduate programs, including an undergrad in the Literature and Language Department.  

Some of the professors in this department offered their tops three tips to anyone who might be considering an undergrad in literature and language. 

Dr. Robby Prenkert, Associate Professor of English/Humanities said, “I would say talk to students in our department, majors who are English, English Ed., Humanities, or Communication. Talk to upperclassmen and ask them about their experience in the department.

"And I would say if they are considering this, take a class in the area. The second tip I would give is really explore your area of interest. The college major is not for a huge percentage of majors who are out there and it is not a direct line ticket for a particular career outcome. There are some that are, such as if you want to be a nurse, you major in nursing and will likely become a nurse.

"But for other majors there is an almost unlimited number of possible career outcomes that can result from them. The third piece of advice is to ask yourself would I be energized by going to the classes that this major requires and do I really want to learn about this subject. Come and pursue your passions here and expand your horizons by pursuing the things you are passionate about.” 

Jennifer Ochstein, Assistant Professor of Writing said, “Those who enjoy reading, working with ideas and words, as well as those who enjoy interpreting human behavior based on literature and other texts, would likely do well in the Literature & Language Dept. Sometimes students ask how they could possibly make a living after studying in the Literature & Language Department for four years.

"Popular wisdom suggests that the only things they would be good at are careers in teaching, writing, and editing. And while that's certainly true, graduates of Literature & Language can do so much more. The reality is that ALL employers need graduates who can think critically about all kinds of texts, and that's part of what the Literature & Language Department is all about. Students often find this answer unsatisfying because it's different from, say, a nursing major, who will likely go into the medical field, or an engineering major, who will design and build, or an accountant, who will work with finance or hard numbers.

"The reality is that Literature & Language graduates can work in those fields, too, just in administrative, managerial, supporting positions, and more. On top of that, because so much of our world comes to us now based on written texts and visually significant texts (think web-based communication and video), employers need sophisticated readers who can analyze those texts and be able to communicate their analysis of what they read and see.

"The Literature & Language Department is in the business of cultivating thinkers, communicators, and writers. I can't think of one field that doesn't need more people who can think, communicate, and write well with charity and empathy.  The Literature & Language Department offers several majors that pair well with other majors like business, philosophy, religion, psychology, history, math, art, theater, the sciences, and more.

"Our department chair, Robby Prenkert, has done a brilliant job over the years of shaping the majors in the department so that someone could not only study a more specific skills-based interest, like business or accounting, but also pair it with a major or minor in the Literature and Language Department in order to further develop their thinking, writing, and communication skills. Those who want to get the most out of the college experience could consider a double major or a minor in Literature & Language to help them develop the kinds of skills that all employers need in the marketplace today. We should never underestimate the need employers have for people who can communicate and think well, both verbally and with written texts, in our global society.” 

And Dr. Christian Davis, Associate Professor of Writing, said, “Expect to do lots of reading and writing--and thinking. Be creative in your career plans: many employers want people who can think and communicate well. Consider a double major. (English and communication go well with almost anything.)” 

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