“So are you going to teach with that, or what?”
I probably don’t have to say the statement that provokes this question, as it is one that every English major I know has been asked. Teaching is what’s expected of most humanities majors, and it’s highly respectable, though not everyone (myself included) can teach. I’ve had the same major since I was a freshman, but the past three years have been as much of an exploration career-wise as if I had come in undecided.
Not having the constriction of a straight-to-job path like pre-med or engineering, I had the freedom and time to discover my passion, while English gave me the critical thinking and writing skills to succeed in a variety of fields. I’ve had the fantastic opportunity to work at The Daily Beacon as the Arts & Culture Editor, and this year, as Editor-in-Chief. I’ve interned at a non-profit in Nashville and a software company near Oak Ridge. Last spring, I worked with Attack Monkey Productions, the music management company that puts together the annual Rhythm ‘N Blooms Festival downtown.
That experience led me to accept an internship with Big Picture Media in New York City over the summer. BPM is a music publicity company that works with media outlets to promote their large roster of indie/rock/alternative clientele. Moving to New York was probably the most adventurous thing I’ve ever done — the city is huge, and about as different from Knoxville as you can get (strangers don’t smile when you make eye contact there).
My job was mainly research and compiling press reports for the bands, but it was real work with a real purpose in the company, which gave me a great perspective on what working in PR in the music industry is like. While working the press tent at the Village Voice’s annual 4Knots Festival, I got to meet many young journalists working at music magazines I love, like Rolling Stone and Stereogum.
Being in the city was just as much of an education as the internship itself. The huge array of museums, parks, and history combined with the independence of living on my own helped me figure out who I want to be after graduation, and how I can get there. Though I haven’t decided yet if I want to work on the PR or journalism sides of entertainment media, I now know that both are options I would be happy with and have valuable experience in. With the excellent teaching and education I’ve received in both Knoxville and New York, I’m excited to see where the next opportunity will take me.