Student Profiles

Previously Struggling English Major Emerges Victorious  

Ready for Her Future with Internship in Hand 

By K. Goldfarb 

Headshot of Yasmine Abdeldayem. Credit: Yasmine Abdeldayem

Many CUNY students struggle with what they will do after graduation, and Yasmine Abdeldayem is one of them. She became an English major with a writing concentration to go into the publishing industry and publish her own book. When her STEM major friends asked her why she wouldn’t go into a field where she could make a lot of money, she was sent down a tunnel of doubt, but came out the other end stronger than ever.  

“I would never change my major,” said Abdeldayem. “I may have those moments where I’m just overthinking everything that I’ve done, but I would never actually switch paths, because I know that this is the field that I’m happiest in and I feel like I can do a lot.” 

Abdeldayem writing

Employment statistics for English majors are not that different from other fields. According to a study in The Atlantic, English majors report 9.8% unemployment after graduation, compared to 8.8% in psychology and social work, 9.1% in computer science and math, 10.4% in economics, and 11.1% in political science.  

Once comfortable in her decision to stay an English major, Abdeldayem applied to the CUNY Cultural Corps, a program that gives CUNY students the opportunity to work in New York’s cultural sector. The program aims to bring more diversity to arts institutions. She was accepted into the program. 

On October 4, Abdeldayem will start interning with Americans for the Arts, a nonprofit organization whose goal is advancing the arts and arts education in the United States. Abdeldayem will be their Equity and Arts Leadership intern.  

“I’m really anticipating this new beginning, I need it after the pandemic,” said Abdeldayem. “It’ll give me a chance to get into a part of the arts industry that I didn’t envision myself in during my freshman year, and I think those are the best kinds of experiences, the ones you never initially expected yourself to be in.” 

Abdeldayem’s favorite books 

What she had expected was writing stories in her favorite genre, fantasy. She has been writing in the fantasy genre since she was in fourth grade. When she started her online creative writing class, she didn’t expect to write in any other genre. 

But in Professor Sarah Schulman’s class, she wrote her first horror genre story. Her peers and professor loved it, and it encouraged her to continue going out of her comfort zone.

Her biggest goal as a writer is to have an impact on people on an emotional level, and to make them feel heard. She accomplished this in her ENL 151 class, when she wrote a research paper on Arab representation in American/western media and the harmful stereotypes that are perpetuated. 

She showed it to her father, who is Arab, and it resonated with him so much that he sent it to many of his family members. They contacted her and complimented her writing, which made her feel proud of her work. She hopes to have that same effect on a larger audience someday.  

She is now optimistic about her professional future and knows that she has time to figure everything out. She is currently a junior and is much more confident than she was as a freshman. 

Now that she knows what her options are, she can get experience and grow in ways she never expected. 

“I still think about going into the publishing industry, but I think I restricted myself to that for so long because I’m thinking about the best route to become a published author,” said Abdeldayem. “But there’s a lot of things that English majors can do, and I’m excited to have the chance to branch out.”  

Categories: Student Profiles

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