I'm actually currently in my final year of High School but my ambition is to go all the way to a PhD possibly in the field of Medieval Studies, that said I am concerned about the overall prospects of employment/feasability in such a limited field and I certainly won't go for "working at MacDonald's" as they say. Any insight?
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I think it's great that as a senior in high school, you have such ambitious plans. But it has been my experience and that of my friends and former classmates that as you study, your plans for your major change and often more than once. For ex., I went to the University of Chicago intending to be an English or possibly French major. In fact, I majored in human development, an inter-departmental study of psychology, sociology, anthropology, and human biology. Then six years later, I decided that I wanted to study English after all; I got my MA (with no background) in English at San Francisco State U. Then I got into UC Berkeley, at that time, tied with Yale as tops in the nation for the study of English and did my PhD work in English, with a specialty in the 19th century novel. Like approx 70% of people in PhD programs, I did everything but write my dissertation. the problem is that a dissertation must be unique and most of what can be said has already been said. One of the few people who wrote her dissertation did her work on a Renaissance play that was so insignificant that it had been ignored. Also, at that time, there were very few teaching jobs. University teachers have tenure and, therefore, there are cycles of hiring. There had been a lot of hiring about three years before that, so until these people weren't granted tenure, or went elsewhere, or dropped out, or someone died or retired, there would be no new hiring.
However, my background in English, as well as my teaching at Both SFSU and Berkeley, did help me make the transition to the business world, since I started doing training in a bank. I went on to be a product manager, which I loved.
So, my advice to you is to go to the best college you can get into, especially one with a strong background in the humanities and take a variety of courses. Then ask yourself what it is about medieval studies that interests you: the linguistics of language, i.e, old English, Middle English to Modern English; the fantasy of knights; the vast economic and social disparity; the religiosity and lack of secularism;
I was just in New York and met with a friend's sister-in-law who is a world's expert on a French medieval festival. She is retired from the French Department.
Fro my vantage point, there is no need for medievalists outside the university and only a limited demand for them within universities, since it is not a popular focus in any major.
So, why don't you leave yourself open and perhaps take courses in medieval history (there is practically no literature, other than Sir Gawayne and the Green Knight and the Pearl, both of which are almost impossible to read).
You can always use your interest as a hobby. I am a docent at the California Academy and I have become fascinated by paleoanthropology and I have learned probably the same as a college graduate in the field. Just for fun.
These days, when everyone goes to college, getting a job with any major is difficult, but the more general your major is, the more likely you'll be able to turn it into gainful employment. Good luck.
Sumer is icum in
laude sing cuckoo
And bloweth sed
And Springth the wood anew
The earliest poem in the English language, from memory