Why Major in English?

Tarah Harkins, 2003
Public Relations

Faculty - Tarah HarkinsWhen I graduated with my degree in English everyone asked, “So, you gonna be a teacher?” It seemed that people thought a teaching career was the only option open to me with an English degree. Even worse, some of my peers in the Business School were not shy about advising me that my degree would be “worthless” outside of the academic world.

As it turns out, it wasn’t.

After graduating, I pursued a successful career in Human Resources despite the fact that I didn’t have an organizational development degree. Companies valued my ability to assimilate large amounts of information, interpret it, and present it to others. Today, I work with CSX in Public Relations where I partner with high-profile congressional, senatorial, and municipal stakeholders on strategic projects such as expanding rail terminals and high speed rail initiatives. I also represent CSX’s interests in public forums and share the economic and environmental benefits of freight rail. My success in the business world is largely due to the skills I gained at UNF.

During my Human Resources career, I often partnered with UNF Career Services by conducting on-campus interviews and sharing job seeking and interview tips with the students. I always made a point to sell the benefits of an English degree. Ultimately, companies will always value abstract thinkers and those who can communicate well in every medium. In my humble opinion, English degreed graduates offer a diverse skill set that cannot be matched.