So What Should You Do With Your Classics Degree?

Graduating this year and don’t know what you’ll do once you have? Got a year or two left and still aren’t sure what you’ll do with your Classics degree? Or maybe you’re in first year and haven’t even decided on a major yet?  That’s okay.  I’ll tell you about a few famous Classicists for inspiration.

In my last post I mentioned that learning Latin and Ancient Greek endowed me with the ability to help ESL students with their English, which is great since I plan to apply to a program where I can teach English inJapan.  There is a very high demand for English teachers in the Asian countries right now and if you speak English and you have a B.A, they want YOU.

Not cut out for teaching? Okay, then let’s explore some other possibilities.

Ever wanted to be a writer? Sure, it doesn’t often pay big money (unless you get extremely lucky) but that’s not to say it couldn’t become a fun pass time project.  Some notable writers who studied in Classics? J. K. Rowling (Harry Potter), J. R. R. Tolkien (The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) and Toni Morrison (a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in Literature).

Latin? Sure. Also Norse.

So perhaps you’re more of the performing arts type of person? You want to act on stage, or in film, or maybe you want to write scripts?  Well, for famous playwrights there was Oscar Wilde.  As for currently popular Hollywood actors we have Tom Hiddleston, who plays the antagonist, Loki, in both Thor and The Avengers.  Oh yes, he’s a Classicist.  And he studied at Cambridge University no less!

Okay.  Maybe you want to do something completely practical, such as study computer science? You’ve used Adobe haven’t you? I’m sure you have.  The co-founder of Adobe Systems, Chuck Geschke studied classics.  And rumour has it that even Bill Gates has dipped into the ancient languages.

There are several Classicists who have made notable contributions all throughout history in all different areas of study, and once I’ve built the webpage dedicated to these people on Labyrinth, I’ll be sure to make sure it gets linked to this post.

What you should have discerned from this post is that a job in Classics, or even in Academia, doesn’t have to be your only career choice once you graduate.  Once you complete the Classics program you’ll be armed with critical analysis skills and the ability to interpret written data, the ability to form complex ideas and arguments, and the ability to communicate them effectively either in writing or by speaking.  And not to mention your exposure to other languages and culture means you’d be able to adapt to working in a different culture.  Even if you only use Classics as a stepping stone to something else it is by no means a “useless” degree, you’ll graduate with marketable skills, and you’ll use them to do something you enjoy.

Sydney Pinchbeck is a senior student in Classical Studies, with a minor in International Studies and Applied Languages. Currently an executive in the Classical and Medieval Studies Student Society, you can find her in the student lounge, or on Twitter.

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