Major Tips #3

While you do not need to get too worried about the connection between your major and your career, you also do not need to get too worried that the career you think you want now will keep you tied to that path forever.  Do you know that people go through an average of 4-5 different jobs  in their lifetime?   It’s important to know that what you do after you graduate from Wesleyan is not necessarily what you will be doing  five, ten or even twenty years later. 

So what might you end up doing?  Go to the CRC to check out the possibilities.   First, get familiar with what kinds of information they have to offer you and then begin to check out the kinds of positions that are available in the different fields.  There are jobs people are doing—making a decent living from AND enjoying—that you haven’t even heard of.  With the rapid transformation in technology today, there will be jobs when you graduate that do not even exist now.  You can always think about creating your own.  Dream away!

And check out the “Choosing a Major” workshop with CRC sophomore liaison, Jim Kubat, at noon, Usdan 110–today.

Choosing a Major — Thurs., 10/7 at noon

How do students choose a major? Why do they choose one major over another? How, if at all, does your choice of major relate to your career direction after graduation? These questions will be addressed as Jim Kubat, sophomore class liaison, shares the career development point-of-view on the process of choosing an undergraduate college major at noon on Thursday, October 7 in Usdan 110.

Major Tips #2

While you want to major in something about which you are passionate or have the depth of interest to sustain your curiosity and inspiration over the next couple of semesters, don’t get too hung up on the connection between your major and career.  Yes, there are those careers, such as, for example, the sciences or economics, in which you do need a particular knowledge background to go on to graduate or professional school.  However, that does not preclude you from majoring in a humanities, another social science or art, as long as you have taken the appropriate courses–and vice-versa.   

What’s important to remember is that your skill in analytic thinking or writing may be perfect for law school.  Your training in theater may be just what is needed for product consultation at Microsoft (yes, truly, this has been a job for a couple of Wes alums).   Your ability to think critically, speak articulately, and write succinctly are as valued as your imagination, creativity and chutzpah.  Your major and career are not necessarily in a one-to-one relationship.    

It’s fascinating to see the myriad number of things that Wes alums have done with their majors.  To check this out, go to  WesCAN in the Career Resource Center bucket in your portfolio.   But first, you need to need to see one of the CRC staff members.  Tsophomore liaison is Jim Kubat  (, but any  staff member is happy to meet with you.  Your visit to the CRC is worth it in more ways than one.

Major Tips #1

There are some sophomores who know exactly what they want to major in.  There are some sophomores who have narrowed it down to two or three disciplines or subjects.   And there are some sophomores who are still trying to figure out what they want to spend the next five semesters exploring in depth.  While second-semester sophomores declare their majors by October 29, 2010, first-semester sophomores declare their majors between February 3 and March 5, 2011. 

Obviously, you want to find an area of inquiry that excites you intellectually, keeps you interested, challenges you, and inspires you to learn more.  What have you found you are passionate about?  (And if you are still looking, that’s okay!).  Check out check out the major declaration website at, talk with your advisor, professors, and class dean, and stay tuned for the Major Tips #2.

COL Open House for First-Years

TO:    Members of the Class of 2013

The College of Letters cordially invites you to attend one of our Open House receptions, which will be held this year on Monday, March 1 and Wednesday, March 3.  Both gatherings will start at 4:15 p.m. in the College of Letters Library (Butterfield C-413.)  I will speak briefly about the Program and a number of COL students and faculty will also be on hand to answer questions.

The College of Letters is an interdisciplinary major in Literature, Philosophy, and History, with a required area of foreign language concentration, and a semester in residence abroad (usually in France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Russia, or Spain). To learn more about the COL, study abroad possibilities, and the application process please visit the COL website at:

 The major begins, unlike most majors, in the fall of the sophomore year, which is why application for it must be made in the spring of your first year.

This year the deadline for applications is Monday, March 22, the first day after the Spring vacation.  We have only a limited number of places, and our admission process has to be completed before the university’s preregistration procedures, so it is important to apply on time.  If all available places are filled by timely applicants, late applicants will automatically be placed on a waiting list.

I look forward to seeing you at the COL Open House!!

 Ethan Kleinberg,  Director, College of Letters

CSS Open House Info Session — Feb. 23



Join current CSS students and tutors for an Information Session to be held on Tuesday, February 23, at 7:00 p.m., in the PAC 4th Floor Lounge.  Here’s your opportunity to ask questions to a panel of current CSS students and tutors, and to learn what CSS might have to offer you as a major.

Applications are currently available and can be found on the CSS Homepage at, or in the CSS Office, located on the 4th floor of the PAC.  Completed applications can be e-mailed to or brought to the CSS Office until 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.  The deadline for applications is Friday, March 5, 2010, at 2:00 p.m.  Interviews will be conducted the week after Spring Break.

Pizza and beverage will be served at the CSS Information Session.

Thinking about thinking about a major?

Interested in thinking about how to think about a major?  Check out Dean Phillips’ sites on the Class of 2012 blog for thumbnailCA1JGYEWmore information about major declaration and open houses.  This will be you next year!

 There’s also a Major Declaration category on the blog

English Dept. Events — Feb. 10 & 11

English at Wesleyan

English at Wesleyan is sponsoring two very special creative events on Wednesday, February 10.  Both events showcase the creativity, energy, and fun we have in English at Wesleyan.

“How to Write a Love Poem That Doesn’t Suck,” February 10

Frosh and Sophomore English Department Valentine Week Event!

“How to Write a Love Poem That Doesn’t Suck” is actually the title of a poem and it is the perfect title for this creative event!  This first-time-ever writing workshop is just for frosh and sophomores, and it will introduce those who attend to the artfulness and energy of English at Wesleyan.  Frosh and sophomores interested in trying their hand at writing on the theme of love–poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction–can receive guidance from the EnthumbnailCANDE80Aglish Department’s exciting Creative Writing Concentration faculty:  Silverberg Shapiro Professor of Creative Writing and Coordinator of the Creative Writing Concentration Elizabeth Willis (poetry), Professor of English Deb Unferth (fiction), and Professor of English Lisa Cohen (creative non-fiction). Joel Pfister, Chair of the English Department and Kenan Professor of the Humanities, will introduce his talented colleagues.  It all takes place on Wednesday, February 10, 4:15 Downey Lounge!  Frosh and sophomores who love to write creatively (or who would love to try writing creatively) can write creatively about LOVE!  Go for it!  Groovy treats will be served! 

“Creating the Creative”: English Department Writers Read, February 10

For all members of our Wesleyan Community!

“Creating the Creative” is a provocative quote from Herman Melville’s experimental novel, Mardi (1849).  It can be argued that Melville here was referring to the creative energy of a literary text to keep generating meanings with readers and changing times.  Three inspiring and distinguished Wesleyan writers who have taught at Wesleyan will read from their work:  Kit Reed, Clifford Chase, and Douglas Martin (visiting writers Chase and Martin are teaching English courses this term).  They will be introduced by the English Department Creative Writing Concentration Faculty: Silverberg Shapiro Professor of Creative Writing and Coordinator of the Creative Writing Concentration Elizabeth Willis, Professor of English Deb Unferth, and Professor of English Lisa Cohen.  Joel Pfister, Chair of the English Department and Kenan Professor of the Humanities, will introduce the event.  So come see Wesleyan artists who create the creative on Wednesday, February 10, 8:00 Russell House!  Cool treats will be served!


English at Wesleyan Open House, February 11

The English Department’s Open House for prospective majors–interested sophomores and frosh–will be held the next day, Thursday, February 11, 4:15, Russell House.

The English Major: Alum/Faculty Panel — Dec. 10


English Major Grads Take on the World:  Literature as Equipment for Living (and Making a Living)

Can the study of literature not only give you pleasure, but equip you to make visible and question the givens, the language, the form, and the history that have shaped the way we read ourselves and our world? And is this ability valuable? Of course!

Come hear about what English alums have done, are doing, and can do!  Featuring:

  • Ariel levy ’96, book author and staff writer for The New Yorker; recently interviewed on the Colbert report (we will show this exciting clip).
  • Sophie Pollitt-Cohen ’09, book author and independent writer (The Huffington Post, The New York Times Book Review, and other publications).
  • Amy Tang, Assistant Professor of English and American Studies and Harvard University English major ’94, who worked in several different and fascinating fields before switching gears and earning her Phd from stanford ’09.
  • Jim Kubat, Associate Director for Career Development and Pre-Law advisor, who will distribute eye-opening statistics and information on what English majors have actually done over the years and can do.

Introduced and moderated by

  • Joel Pfister, Chair, Department of English, and Kenan Professor of the Humanities

A reception with groovy treats after the panel

Thursday, December 10, 2009, 4:15 p.m.
Downey House 113

Sponsored by the English Majors Committee and the English Department