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Courtney Littell

The soft skills honed through my experience as an English major at UCA were vital preparation for my current career as the Manager/Owner of Euphoria Salon and Day Spa. Though I did not follow a traditional teaching track, my time management, critical thinking, and teamwork abilities were largely enhanced by challenging curriculum from professors and engaging classroom interaction with peers. While it is clear that my professional life benefits from these improvements, I’ve come to realize that critical thinking is the most useful skill I practice daily. I regularly manage employees and client experiences, and these tasks regularly require me to trouble-shoot potential issues or put out fires while maintaining empathy for all parties involved. The literary analysis developed during my studies now translates from the page into my day-to-day professional reality. I may be reading emails and reviews instead of texts and scholarship, but I now analyze all situations armed with a broader world-view than I had before my time at UCA. The faculty and staff of the UCA English Department really pushed me to become more of a “big picture” person and examine all conceivable possibilities and challenge my perspective to continually expand. Research, analysis, and discussion each played a big role in my education, but the support of English Department faculty never failed to continue beyond the classroom door. During my studies, I was given opportunities for internships, conferences, and even a graduate assistantship which allowed me to work as the Business Manager for Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre. None of these opportunities would have been possible, if faculty and staff members had not put forth extra effort and helped me to find balance. The support I received during my time in the department has proven invaluable for my personal and professional growth. Choosing a path beyond predictable careers for English majors, confirms that the skills I gained are useful for success across multiple disciplines, industries, and passions. I am forever grateful to the UCA English Department for not only for the support I received as a student, but the care and consideration still extended to me as an alumnus.