Writing majors due respect, jobs

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On Friday, I had the second of many mental breakdowns to come this semester. I confess that I might have been overeager when I decided to involve myself in several extracurriculars, an internship, and a job (I mean, I still have to eat), while failing to realize that these things on top of my course load would prove nearly fatal. And for what?

I’ll tell you what. My damn résumé.

As a writing major, countless sources encourage me to get as much experience as I can and decide what field I want to follow. Being the ambitious person I sometimes regret myself to be, I chose publishing as my passion. That means I need experience at the newspaper, an internship, and some quality design experience. The publishing field, so elusive and grand, always wants more.
But the aforementioned “elusive and grand” field isn’t always a world of unnecessarily attractive people and super couture, like in Ugly Betty and The Devil Wears Prada. These shows and movies with which we are so fascinated actually just provide a glimpse into the overachieving, stressful life that I may someday have to lead to get where I want.

(Although, in my life, there will be no Henry, no man I’m secretly in love with who has to go back to Tucson to care for his baby momma. A girl can only be so lucky.)

But will I even get that far? Let’s be honest: Writing majors don’t get jobs. People who follow their artistically-inclined dreams are left living in grimy cardboard boxes at night, waiting tables during the day, and hearing one too many I-told-you-so’s in between. Where’s the love?

Enough people have the audacity to look down upon us: “Oh... you’re a writer,” they smirk. Yes! I am a writing major, and I am going to do major things with my life. And, for your information, I plan to decorate my cardboard box with really nice linens. Thank you.

Still, it’s hard to convince other people of your imminent success when you can barely convince yourself.

Despite all of this undue pressure I’m putting on myself to secure my future, I’m left with no guarantees. Nobody really knows what will happen post-graduation. I’m not even sure I’ll recover from this semester’s serious lack of food and sleep.

I am aware that you have to earn your place in the writing and publishing fields. I respect that. You have to show your competence and your dedication. In fact, I’ve been thinking of adding a line to my cover letter that says I can deal with a lack of appreciation for my skills and being looked down upon, as long as it means a promotion in the future. If that’s life, so be it. Still, I don’t think the path to any writing-related field should be so dim. Why should we be punished for doing what we want to do academically? Why spend four years in a university, amassing debt, just to be left unsatisfied (and potentially jobless) upon graduating?

I don’t think there are any sufficient answers. Maybe I should dream smaller. But until I concede to a local publication over a national publication (Elle, can you hear me?), I’ll let my ambition get the best of me and continue to run myself down. That’s what college is all about, after all.

(And my résumé will still look quite swell.)