A degree in English is about more than just reading and writing. Students major in English at UNL to better understand the world that we live in, to develop critical thinking and analytic skills, and to write in ways appropriate to multiple contexts and audiences.
While some do, indeed, pursue careers in literature or education, English alumni have also gone on to become business directors, filmmakers, graphic artists, paralegals, university administrators, and—in Lincoln native Tom Beckius’ case—City Council Members. From the Lincoln Journal Star:
[Beckius] enrolled at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln — following the expectation set by his mom for him and all five siblings — but after his freshman year he decided school wasn't for him... He came home six months later with a new appreciation for his hometown — for the open spaces, its affordability, the ease of being able to drive to the grocery store and buy more than you can carry home.
“That experience of living in New York City actually really helped me appreciate the things about living in Lincoln, Nebraska, that I didn't appreciate before: The quality of life that we have here.”
He went back to UNL, finished his English degree and met his future husband.
Beckius was elected to a four-year term as an at-large member of the Lincoln City Council on May 4, 2021, after working in publishing, the nonprofit sector, and real estate, as well as serving on the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission.