When people realize that I have an English degree there are usually a few questions that immediately follow. Generally the assumption that I plan on teaching, or want to be a novelist, followed by a quizzical expression at my disinterest in either of those career paths and something along the lines of "so what else can you do with an English degree?"
Then they lock that information away in their brain somewhere and suddenly I become their personal expert on anything to do with literature and language. "What does 'ostentatious' mean? What's the ending like in Lord of the Flies? What's another word for 'not being very good at writing'? How do you spell 'occasion'?" And while I may know the answers, I feel an enormous amount of pressure on my shoulders to know these things because I have an ENGLISH DEGREE! This might seem ridiculous if you haven't got an English Degree, but my fellow graduates with your English degrees placed in frames, placed in boxes, and placed in the very back of your closet, I hope you understand. I misspelled something today, and I felt like a failure. I wanted to delete my post (it was on Facebook, big surprise), but since someone had commented below and referred specifically to my comment, I felt I needed to leave it there. My big, fat, spelling mistake left there for all to see. At which point of course I realized, it's just a mistake, a simple error.
And if that word was part of an essay, I would have double-checked it's spelling first. Dictionaries exist so that I don't have to be one!
Let me say right here, right now, I don't really know what I'm going to do with my English degree. I knew I loved English and so I studied English. Perhaps I will never do anything with my degree, but aside from the massive debt that looms over my bank account on a daily basis, I really don't mind. I've always believed that you should study what you love, not for the money, not for the stable career, but for Yourself.